Frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding Gold Coast Weddings and other ceremonies

Frangipani bouquet in wedding ceremony

Celebrant Sue services the Gold Coast and surrounding areas in QLD and NSW.

This woman!! Wow.. I don’t know where to start. After the first time we met, Liz and I got in the car looked at each other smiled and went yep she’s a keeper!! Planning our wedding was stress free with Sue always checking in, funny phone calls and txt going above and beyond our expectations...
Read more of this testimonial from February 2019.

  1. When do I need to book a celebrant? As soon as you have set a date for your commitment, naming or wedding ceremony, you should book your celebrant. This allows time to meet your celebrant and begin to work together to plan your perfect ceremony.
    Please check my availability calendar to make sure I am not already booked.

  2. What are the costs and fees for a celebrant's services? Click to see my wedding celebrant prices and what the price includes. Also see commitment ceremony price and baby naming ceremony price . I believe my services are priced very competitively.

  3. What will happen at the initial meeting? This is when you decide whether to choose me as your celebrant. If the meeting goes badly then no fee is payable.
    If it goes well and you decide that I am the person for the job (which is much more likely in my experience!) then we will then proceed to the following necessary tasks which need to be completed prior to the wedding ceremony:
    • Complete and lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) (this is the new NOIM as of 8th Dec 2018 which allows same-sex marriage or SSM).
      To do this successfully, I will need you both to bring proof of identity i.e. birth certificate, birth extract (original not copies) and a form of photo ID such as a driver's licence or passport (completing the NOIM part of your legal obligation when getting married). If either of you have been married before, I will need to see confirmation of the dissolution of the previous marriage. If widowed, I will need to see a copy of the deceased spouse's death certificate OR if divorced, a copy of the dissolution (divorce) certificate.
    • Confirm ceremony details (including date, place and time of wedding)
    • I will present you with my ‘Wedding Ceremony Information Pack’ to help you to start planning your big day which is the fun bit.
    • Pay the deposit
Signing the marriage certificate

Signing the all-important marriage certificate.

  1. Are we allowed to write our own vows? Yes certainly! There are a few things that I must say in order to make your wedding legally binding (such as the monitum) however, you can write as much or as little of it as you like.
    It is my job to work with you to personalise the ceremony to suit your individual requirements. I will provide you with a ‘Ceremony Information Pack’ which will contain some great ideas / resources for your ceremony. The ceremony is the one thing you should be 100% happy with and I know I can make sure that happens.
    Click if you need some ideas and sample vows which I have compiled.

  2. We would like our ceremony to be fun – can you help us with that? Of course! It’s your day and the ceremony can be as fun or as formal as you want it to be (or it can be a little bit of both). The ceremony should be a true reflection of your personalities and love for each other, so if flash mobs are your thing then it will be.

  3. Are you willing to travel? I am willing to travel anywhere to be your celebrant. (Hawaii would be nice thank-you!).
    I am happy to travel between Ormeau – Cabarita for the price quoted. If you are getting married outside this area this will incur an extra travel fee which will be agreed upon when we meet.

  4. What equipment do you provide? I will bring a high quality PA system with cordless microphone so all of your guests will be able to hear the ceremony. I also can bring a signing table if required. I am able to play the wedding ceremony songs through the speaker via bluetooth and I can download your songs to my iPod if it is needed.

  5. Do we need permission if we want to get married at the beach? Yes, public areas – such as the beach or a park - require you to seek permission from either the chief lifeguard (beach) or local council (parks or other public areas). More information on this and links to download application forms can be found on my Gold Coast outdoor wedding location page found in this website.

  6. What happens if it rains? You need to have a back-up plan. If you are getting married at your reception venue, often there will be an area where the ceremony can be moved to if the weather is wet. If you are planning a beach/park ceremony, you need to ensure that you have a wet weather plan and your guests are informed of it prior to the ceremony commencing.

  7. How many guests will you allow at the ceremony? It's your day, so you can have as few or many guests as you like. It is important though that there are at least 2 people at your wedding (who are over 18 years of age), as we need them to be witnesses to your ceremony and this ensures your wedding complies with the legal requirements as outlined in the Marriage Act 1961. (amended 8th Nov 2018)

  8. How to get the official Wedding Certificate
    The bride may or may not choose to change her surname but it has to wait until after the marriage ceremony because you cannot change your name until you are legally married.
    It is less common but bridegrooms sometimes also change their names after marriage.

     In Qld the marriage certificate I give you on the day of your ceremony is called the "ceremonial marriage certificate" and it is not the official marriage certificate.  You will need to apply for an official "standard marriage certificate" after the wedding to enable you to legally change your name and if you ever need to officially "prove" your relationship status.

    Click for information regarding how to get your official marriage certificate after the ceremony (QLD) which is required to prove you are married.

    Click for information regarding getting an official marriage certificate after the wedding ceremony as proof of marriage (NSW).

  9. How to Change Your Name After Marriage Getting married is exciting for so many reasons - one of them is that you can have a brand new surname if you want to.

    It is traditional for the bride to take her husband’s surname, however it is perfectly okay for the groom to take his wife’s surname OR in a same-sex marriage, either party can change their surname to their spouses.

    Here are the steps to changing your surname to your wedded partner’s once you have said 'I Do':
    • Get married first (pretty obvious right) and go on a wonderful honeymoon. You really can’t do much about changing your name officially until you get home (but you can call yourself your new surname - say it as much as you want and introduce yourself to all who will listen by your new name).
    • Obtain a copy of your official marriage certificate as issued by the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) office from the state in which your marriage took place (for example, if you live in NSW but got married on the Gold Coast, your marriage will be registered at the QLD Births, Deaths and Marriage office and this is where you will receive your marriage certificate from).
      Click on the link below to apply for an official copy of your marriage certificate from the QLD BDM office: icon to indicate hyperlink opens in new tab
    • Once you receive your official marriage certificate, you will need to make a list of all the places where your surname needs to be changed (and you will find there are many! Don’t let it overwhelm you and accept that this is a process that takes some time.
      After you have compiled your list you can then start to contact each one of these businesses and government departments to find out their requirements and procedures for changing your name. There is an excellent online business that can help you to make this list and even facilitate changing your names online (their fees start at $35) together with with a scan of your marriage certificate. The website is: icon to indicate hyperlink opens in new tab
    • While you are able to change your name online in many cases via the Easy Name Change website (see link above), there are some instances where you have to physically present yourself to an office with your official marriage certificate in hand, and then speak to a human, in order for your name change to be official (see shortlist of 3 below).
    Instances of the name change process where you have to be there in person to get the job done.
    Lastly, If you intend to hyphenate your surname (i.e. to combine both yours and your newly married partner’s name) this is not a name change by marriage but is an official name change which is commonly known as "a name change by deed poll").
    This process is entirely different and you will not need a marriage certificate to do this.

    To find out how to apply to change your name by deed poll you need to contact the BDM office in the state where you were born (e.g. if you were born in Murwillumbah, but live on the Gold Coast, you would have to contact the NSW BDM office) as this if the BDM office where your birth certificate is held. Here are some links to BDM offices located throughout Australia where you can find out more about changing your name be it by marriage or by Deed Poll: icon to indicate hyperlink opens in new tab

If you have any further questions about anything related to getting married in Australia or would like to find out more about how I can help you to have a dream wedding, please do not hesitate to contact me for an obligation free chat.

Please either call me on my mobile on 0403 605 057 or email me using

Call Sue on 0403605057