A momentous moment in Australian history!!

On 7 December 2017, the Australian Parliament passed the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 to change the definition of marriage and provide for marriage equality in Australia.

The right to marry in Australia will no longer be determined by sex or gender.

Marriage equality will commence on 9 December 2017.

But what does that mean for you?

On 9 December 2017, amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 commence to provide for marriage equality. The vows and monitum will change to reflect the new definition of marriage as: ‘the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life’.

The ‘monitum’

As your celebrant, I am required to include a statement (the ‘monitum’) explaining the nature of the marriage relationship in all marriage ceremonies that I perform (section 46 of the Marriage Act).

From 9 December 2017, the monitum will change to reflect the new definition of marriage. This is so wonderful! Here is what I will say:

I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

Your Vows

Of course you can still say whatever vows you want to say, but there are a few words in there that you are legally required to say.

Subsection 45(2) of the Marriage Act sets out the vows  that you have to say if I am your celebrant. From 9 December 2017, the vows will change to reflect the new definition of marriage – here is what you will say (don’t worry, I will guide you on the day):

I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take thee, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband, or spouse).

This change allows marrying couples to make a personal choice about the terms to be used in their marriage vows that best reflect their relationship. The term ‘husband’ can refer to a male marriage partner, and ‘wife’ to a female marriage partner, regardless of the sex or gender of the person saying the vows. The term ‘spouse’ can refer to a male, female, intersex, non-binary gender or transgender person.

This is so exciting!!

Congratulations Australia!!

A beautiful ceremony reading

Have you read this?? Oh, how utterly beautiful!

Neil Gaiman is an all-time favourite of mine and he has just added this beautiful wedding reading to his blog…


This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.

This is everything I’ve learned about marriage: nothing.

Only that the world out there is complicated,

and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,

and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,

is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,

and not to be alone.

It’s not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it’s what they mean.

Somebody’s got your back.

Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn’t want to rescue you

or send for the army to rescue them.

It’s not two broken halves becoming one.

It’s the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home

because home is wherever you are both together.

So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,

like a book without pages or a forest without trees.

Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.

Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.

Because nobody else’s love, nobody else’s marriage, is like yours,

and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it,

a dance you cannot be taught,

a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.

And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,

not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.

And your hands will meet, 
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.

And that’s all I know about love.


You can read his full post here

Writing your own vows – inspiring words

I promised to give you some words that could help inspire you . Try some of these:

How do you describe your partner? Are they your….

  • guide,
  • compass
  • friend,
  • ally,
  • companion,
  • partner
  • treasure,
  • jewel,
  • precious thing
  • safe place,
  • your home,
  • your comfort
  • inspiration,
  • motivation,
  • fire
  • destiny,
  • hope,
  • magic

How do you feel about marrying your beloved?

  • Happy
  • Certain
  • Grateful
  • Steadfast
  • Joyful
  • Proud
  • Humbled
  • Fulfilled
  • Inspired
  • Excited

How can you say you will be there in the good times and the bad?

  • In sickness and in health
  • Our imperfections
  • Joys and sorrows
  • Victories and disappointments
  • Our changes as we grow old together
  • Life’s challenges

What is it that you are promising? I promise to:

  • Love
  • Cherish
  • Be there for you
  • Listen
  • Learn
  • Be patient
  • Go on adventures
  • Inspire/be inspired
  • Appreciate
  • Devote myself
  • Be faithful
  • Be true
  • Be kind
  • Remember
  • Uplift

How long are we talkin’ here…?

  • Forever
  • Forever more
  • All the days of my life
  • For as long as I live
  • For eternity
  • Always
  • Until heaven takes me
  • For all of my days
  • For as long as I breathe
  • Until my last breath
  • For the rest of our lives

What about the ring, what is it?

  • a symbol of continuity
  • a symbol of my love, affection and faithfulness to you.
  • You are more precious than gold
  • You’ll know I’m wearing it too, wherever we are, whenever we’re apart. Look at it, and know.

What it might look like when you put it all together

“____, I am so happy to share my life with you. You are my home, my safe place. I promise to be that safe place for you, for the rest of our lives together. To be patient, to cherish you, to be kind; In good times, and in bad. I ask you to wear this ring, as a symbol of my love, affection and faithfulness to you. And whenever you look at it, you’ll know I’m wearing the same, and for the same reason.

I hope this helped you out a bit with finding the right words.

Have  a read of the rest of the posts in this series:

Writing your own vows Part 3

Need more inspiration? Try this…

Turn to Hollywood!

Do you have a favourite movie? Do you have a movie that is “your” as a couple? Maybe there is a declaration of love in one of your favourite movies that you could get inspiration from. Or this might be a good excuse for a movie binge. I have pulled together some inspiration for you. Some of theses are traditional some unconventional, either way these promises of eternal love can get reworked and written in to your vows.  Read on and get inspired.
“I guarantee that we’ll have tough times. I guarantee that at some point, one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life, because I know, in my heart, you’re the only one for me.” —Maggie, Runaway Bride

“You said you couldn’t be with someone who didn’t believe in you. Well, I believed in you. I just didn’t believe in me. I love you.” —Blane McDonough, Pretty In Pink

“I think anybody who falls in love is a freak. It’s a crazy thing to do. It’s kind of like a form of socially acceptable insanity.” —Amy, Her

“Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without…” —William Parrish, Meet Joe Black

“The only way you can beat my crazy was by doing something crazy yourself. Thank you. I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck.” —Pat, Silver Linings Playbook

“I love you…beyond poetry.” —Viola de Lesseps, Shakespeare in Love

“People call these things imperfections, but they’re not. That’s the good stuff. Then we get to choose who we let into our weird little worlds. . . but the question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other. That’s the whole deal. That’s what intimacy is about.” —Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting

 “It’s a party, and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining, and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes… because that is your person in this life… it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about.” —Frances, Frances Ha

 “You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.” —Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

“I believe if there’s any kind of God it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.” —Celine, Before Sunrise

“You are just so full of grace, and I promise before God and these beautiful people that I will love you fiercely and sweetly. And I look forward to sharing this great life with you. Thank you for marrying me.” – Rachel, Rachel Getting Married


“All that I ever wanted was to just hear music, and when I met you, I heard you. And, Rachel, you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. Thank you for marrying me”. – Sidney, Rachel Getting Married

And the all time favourite from Friends…

Monica: Then three years ago, at another wedding, I turned to a friend for comfort. And instead, I found everything that I’d ever been looking for my whole life. And now — here we are — with our future before us, and I only want to spend it with you, my prince, my soul mate, my friend. Unless you don’t want to. You go!

Chandler: Monica, I thought this was going to be the most difficult thing I ever had to do. But when I saw you walking down that aisle, I realized how simple it was. I love you . . . You are the person I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. You wanna know if I’m sure? (He leans in and kisses her.)

Joey: You may not kiss the bride. So, I guess by the powers vested in me by the state of New York and the Internet guys, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

I hope these have inspired you

Writing your own vows Part 2

Want to get some inspiration and have a go at writing your own vows?

Try this…..Compile answers to these questions. This might be enough to inspire you, but, if you need a little more guidance, take the 3-5 most emotionally stirring answers and use them to structure your vows. Take one idea that really resonates with you, like Dreams for example – and use it at the beginning and at the end. Here is an example:
Before we met, I had the usual dreams for the future. But since I have met you, my dreams are much bigger. All the things in life that felt unreachable before now seem possible when I am with you. I knew you were special the first time I met you. You make me want to be a better person in every way.  I promise that I will always remember and honor the way I feel about you now, all the days of my life.  [Name], I promise you my unending love, unwavering loyalty and to always dream with you.

Here are the questions

  • How did you meet? What do you remember about the first time you met?  Little did you know then, that ___?
  • When did you realize you were romantically interested in them if it wasn’t at your first meeting?
  • When did you know you loved them?
  • What are three qualities you like best about your fiancé?
  • What do you see in them that no one else sees as clearly as you do?
  • Why do you love them?
  • What are three hopes you have for the future, big or small?
  • What good things do they bring out in you?
  • How are you better as a couple than as individuals?
  • How does their love make you feel in general?
  • How do they make you feel about yourself?
  • What hopes do they bring out in you?
  • Before meeting, what did you expect of marriage?
  • What do you promise to them?
  • What kind of vow would you love to hear from your fiancé? Write out what you would love to hear promised, specifically to you. Is that vow, what you would like to say to them?

Writing your own vows Part 1

Vows are essentially a promise – when you make a vow you are evermore bound to act in the way you have vowed to do so. History tells us that prior to the 13th century, vows were likely not to have been part of the marriage ceremony. But nowadays, your vows are one of the most important parts of your big day. With all the excitement and planning, party preparation and all that goes in to creating the perfect celebration, the vow is often left to the last minute. This guide will help you to create the perfect vow, to write and declare a promise on your wedding day that you will remember and will be happy to be bound to for ever.

Traditional and classic vows

Im sure you have heard this before:
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, in the presence of God and in front of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in Holy matrimony” 
The priest then asks –
“Do you, _____, take _____, to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others, till death do you part?”
Then you say “I do“.
There are a few more parts to this depending on religion and how conservative or liberal you are, but generally you know what I am talking about.
After this you often get the part that  has you and your betrothed saying something along the lines of:
“With this ring, I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  Amen.”
The thing is though  that we are no longer living in the 15th century and you can pretty much do what you want when it comes to writing your vows. You may have a few expectations or traditions in your family or your belief system but if you are working with a celebrant like me, the whole ceremony is pretty flexible.

So, how do you start?

First step is to be clear on what you are doing and the style you want to use. Think about your loved one and the kind of relationship you have, and also consider the guests at your wedding and what it is you want to declare in front of all of your friends and family. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Is this a first marriage, a second, a vow renewal?
  • Do you want your vows to be a promise or commitment?
  • Do you want your vows to be a declaration of your love?
  • Do you want your vows to be an acknowledgment of your betrothed or to thank them?
  • Do you want your vows to be a combination of the above?
  • Do you want your vows to be funny and entertaining?
  • Do you want to speak form the deepest part of your heart, or do you prefer to keep that private and be a little less deep in public?
  • Do you want your vows to offer a sense of joining together to become one?

Writing your vows

The vows them self are fairly easy to write, what is hard is finding the right words to convey how you feel.  So, over the next few posts I will outline a few methods to help get you started. I have also included a post with a list of words that might hep you with inspiration and some examples of vows that you can cheat from .

So get out your pen and paper and start writing.

Writing your Wedding Vows

Want to know what makes a ceremony go from good to the best ever? It’s when I leave an emotionally charged ceremony abuzz with love and commitment. Because at that point, all I want to do is celebrate how awesome and in love you are.

This emotional charge comes from that moment when you declare your love for each other, your wedding vows.

You will remember your wedding vows forever, but they can be hard to write. I’ve pulled together a few examples below to help you get started.

I love you as you are, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become. I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I want to  celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses with you as though they were my own. I will love you and have faith in your love for me, through all our years and all that life may bring us.

I love you unconditionally and without hesitation. I vow to love you, encourage you, trust you, and respect you. As a family, we will create a home filled with learning, laughter, and compassion. I promise to work with you to foster and cherish a relationship of equality knowing that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone. Today, I choose you to be my husband/wife. I accept you as you are, and I offer myself in return. I will care for you, stand beside you, and share with you all of life’s adversities and all of its joys from this day forward, and all the days of my life.

I promise you that I will laugh with you in times of joy, and comfort you in times of sorrow. I will share in your dreams and support you as you strive to achieve your goals. I will listen to you with compassion and understanding, and speak to you with encouragement. Together, let us build a home filled with learning, laughter and light, shared freely with all who may live there. Let us be partners, friends and lovers, today and all of the days that follow.

I promise to laugh with you, cry with you, and grow with you. I will love you when we are together and when we are apart. I promise to support your dreams and to respect our differences, and to love you and be by your side through all the days and nights of our lives.

I promise to always be your biggest fan and your partner in crime. I promise to create and support a family with you, in a household filled with laughter, patience, understanding, and love. I vow not just to grow old together, but to grow together. I will love you faithfully through the difficult and the easy. What may come, I will always be there, each one believing that love never dies. As I have given you my hand to hold, so I give you my life to keep.

I choose to stand by your side and sleep in your arms.  To be joy to your heart and food for your soul. To learn with you and grow with you, even as time and life change us both. I promise to laugh with you in good times and struggle alongside you in bad times. I promise to respect you and cherish you as an individual, a partner, and an equal, knowing that we do not complete, but complement each other. May we have many adventures and grow old together.

I take you to be my husband/wife from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to be your faithful husband/wife, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond; a commitment made in love, kept in faith, and eternally made new.

Today I will marry you, my friend, the one I will live with, dream with, and love forever. I take you to be my husband/wife. From this day forward I will cherish you. I will look with joy down the path of our tomorrows, knowing we will walk it together side by side, hand in hand, and heart to heart.