Frequently Asked Questions
When are ceremonies appropriate?
Ceremonies are appropriate whenever you have a life event that you want to solemnise and celebrate. They allow the audience and guests to connect with each other over this event. Ceremonies can be designed for small groups of 4, or large groups of hundreds. They can be formal or informal, fun or serious.
Why should I engage Debra’s services for my event?
Debra says “It’s almost as if I was drawn into this industry, it fits so well within my ideals to create your individual ceremony for you. It makes me happy to work with you at important times in your life to create memories that you will cherish forever.”
How do I know where to begin planning for my event/ceremony?
Simply contact me. I will bring my vast events experience, knowledge and resources to your ceremony. I will learn about you, what you want the ceremony to be, and will craft a personalised ceremony to meet your needs.
How far out do you book ceremonies?
The earlier the better! The weekends tend to be the most popular and generally are booked out first. Also, the warmer seasons tend to book out faster than the colder ones.
How do we set up a meeting with you?
After the initial contact by email or phone, and assuming the date is free, I will arrange to meet with you at a convenient location, we will exchange ideas with each other, and see if a rapport exists with each other.
What are your fees?
Every ceremony that I do is handcrafted from “scratch” to suit the individual needs of the client. Keeping this in mind, fees vary, each ceremony will be costed according to the required inclusions.
My fee includes her time creating and writing your ceremony, and working with you via email or phone until the ceremony is just right. The fee also includes travel time (up to 40 kms from Eltham, Victoria) and time at the event – I will always arrive an hour before the ceremony starting time.
What happens if something goes wrong on the ceremony day?
When taking your booking, I will also book a standby celebrant – in the event of an unforeseen disaster (like laryngitis), the Standby Celebrant has access to the written ceremony and all the paperwork in order to ensure your ceremony still goes ahead as planned.
Once we book with you, what happens next?
At the second meeting, the client and I will sign an agreement, and a deposit of 50% is paid. From there, the process of working together begins. I will ask you to complete a questionnaire, and will then spend time crafting and writing your ceremony. A draft copy will be forwarded to you, often with selections and ideas/suggestions for your consideration. This consultative process of writing, changing, re-writing continues until you are happy. And, of course, I am available for questions or advice via phone or email anytime.
What do you wear for a ceremony?
I will always dress appropriately for a ceremony. Usually that means a classic-style suit, but if the ceremony or venue indicates otherwise, I will adapt to dress accordingly. My goal is to blend in, not stick out. It is your day, you are the centre of attention, not me!
Do you perform commitment ceremonies for same sex couples?
Absolutely! I believe that any adult, loving couple should be able to be legally married. Unfortunately, that is not yet possible in Australia, so I will conduct the next closest ceremony, which is a Commitment Ceremony.
How long does a wedding ceremony take?
If a wedding ceremony is too short it feels awkward. If it's too long, you and your guests can get bored and distracted. Generally wedding ceremonies range from 20-30 minutes, and this includes the entrance/processional, ceremony and recessional. The time depends on the elements you choose to include in your ceremony. Debra will guide your selection of the elements during the second consultation to help stay within the timeframe you prefer.
What do we do at rehearsals?
The primary objective of the rehearsal is to ensure that anyone taking part in the ceremony feels relaxed with the ceremony flow and logistics. Everyone needs to feel comfortable with what to say and do, and where to be at each point in the ceremony. The Bride will enter at a certain part of the music, perhaps those doing readings need to be near the front of the room for ease of access to the stage area, etc. Everyone involved is walked through their part in the ceremony, until they are totally comfortable with their requirements.
Only the basics of the ceremony are read, as the ceremony then remains exclusive for the wedding day. The Bride and Groom are the only people privy to the Ceremony prior to its delivery on the day.
How long do rehearsals last?
Rehearsals take longer than the actual ceremony will, so I ask the couple to plan for two hours - often the rehearsal will finish earlier than this. I will guide you through the entire ceremony once, and then follow with a quick second time focusing only on the logistics. It is helpful to have the venue representative present at this time to answer any venue-specific questions.
On the wedding day, what time will you arrive and leave?
Depending on the couple and their ceremony, I will arrive approximately 1 hour before the start time of your ceremony. I will stay briefly after the ceremony to be available for photographs if required, or to chat a bit. I will then take my leave so that you can enjoy your day with your friends and relatives.
Can we write our own vows?
Yes, absolutely, if that is what you want to do. I offer my couples a wide variety of vow samples that they can use “as is” if they want to, or they can “tweak” them to personalise them a bit if they like, or they can consider them and then write their own in their own words. As with all aspects of the ceremony, the vows will be what you want them to be.
Can children and other family members take part in our ceremony?
Most definitely. If you have children of your own, I can offer a variety of “blended family” ceremonies that you may choose to include. Depending on the age of the children, they can also serve as attendants, readers, flower girls, pageboys or ring bearers. I can also offer you ideas on ways to honour parents or special family members within your ceremony, or to include them in other ways. Inviting family members or friends to offer readings or share musical talents within the ceremony is a graceful way to include others in your ceremony, too.