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Meet Byron Bay’s top wedding celebrants

Tennille Fink Photography

Selecting your celebrant is one of the hardest suppliers to choose when planning your wedding day. It’s important to find someone who really resonates with you both so you feel relaxed throughout your ceremony. And it’s just as important to make your guests feel comfortable and entertained throughout the process. We’ve saved you the legwork and interviewed 9 of Byron’s top love aficionados to help you lock down the ideal wedding celebrant for your special day. Read on!

What is your style as a wedding celebrant?

Marry Me Dean: My style is a combination of your favourite armchair. All soft and cozy and the best night out you and your friend ever had. I can be familiar, friendly and frisky all rolled into one. With me as your celebrant, you can feel totally secure in the fact ‘I get you’. I will take time to really get to know my couples, as your day is about you. I never forget that we are celebrating the very best of you, the bringing together of two individuals. I will bring a relaxed authenticity to your ceremony. I like to keep it real and I like to smile – a lot. It’s just who I am. I love the moments when we can be a bit cheeky and have a laugh, but I take care to keep the humour natural and elegant. If you want a happy, friendly, joyous day with a little bit of humour and fun – that’s me. It’s my job to set the stage, not steal the show. It’s your time to shine and this moment is about sharing your unique love story. How lucky am I, that my office is this bubble of love?!

Marry Me Dean

Modern Love Ceremonies: My style as a marriage celebrant is very relaxed and friendly. I do whatever I can to help my couple feel comfortable and at ease with me, that way it’s easy for them to share their history with me, the reasons why they love each other and what their hopes and dreams are. I’m excited for my couples – I remember what it was like to be marrying someone you adore, and how difficult it can be to plan a wedding. I’m their cheerleader bringing them back to their hearts.

I have a history in public speaking and as a voice over artist, so I have all the training necessary to present a very professional ceremony, but it’s all still very relaxed and personable. I often get feedback from my clients that by the time the wedding day comes, they feel like I’ve been a friend of theirs for life.

Heidi Robertson: Who I am in my personal life is pretty much who you will get as your wedding celebrant, minus the ugg boots! I’m a pretty quiet and down to earth person with a love of new experiences. I like to listen to people’s stories, I think we learn so much by just listening. I also love public speaking, so being a celebrant where I get to speak about others’ stories is great. My report cards at school always said the same thing – ‘quiet, reliable, a hard worker’ – and I’m told I still have those qualities. I used to be an Intensive Care Paramedic, both here in NSW and overseas for the TV reality show, American ‘Survivor’, taking care of people sick or injured. Quite a different career from a wedding celebrant! But I have been able to transfer some of that skill-set over; the communication skills, the care for others, the ability to take control when required, and doing my job to the best of my ability dependent on the specific requirements of the situation. I’ve recently started offering couples elopements/small ceremonies with a difference – hot air ballooning, horseback riding, kayaking, skydiving and scuba diving, in addition to the wide variety of ceremonies I do at larger venues and on the beach. There are so many wonderful celebrants out there – it’s great that couples have so much choice and can hopefully find the one that suits them. If that ends up being me, then I feel particularly chuffed.

Heidi Robertson

Andrew Michael: My style is pretty unique in that I naturally have a warm, relaxed, and easy going demeanour which transcribes across pretty easily to weddings. I’m a people person and take the time to get to know my couples and dig deep to feel like I know them and their life well so I can deliver their love story confidently. I like to make my couples and their guests feel relaxed and at ease so they can embrace and welcome all the love and amazing feelings you get from a wedding. When you look at my ceremonies, everyone is smiling, laughing and into the moment. I like to think that my ceremonies sound like an authentic naturally unfolding conversation, rather than a mass-produced copy of something else. I smile a lot, get excited pretty easily, ask questions and bring a confident, calm and reassuring presence to your ceremony. I try to spend as much time as I can with the couple to find out what they want on their wedding day, their goals, their inspiration and why they’re so in love and ready to do life together. I use this to my advantage when holding the space and officiating weddings as feeling that connection with the couple helps me bring their love to life on their wedding day. I’ve got a knack of engaging your guests and keeping them in the zone whilst I bring it all together for a personal, heartfelt, and authentic ceremony.

Ben Carlyle: I’d like to think of myself as the Love Boat Captain who kick-starts my couples wedding day experience in exactly the right vibe. A celebrant who listens to my couples’ language, their sense of humour, sense of romance and delivers a ceremony to please all in attendance! The wedding ceremony should be an awesome asset to your whole wedding experience, not just a formality. I definitely don’t do boring. We’ve all been to crap ceremonies that are memorable for all the wrong reasons. I think your adventure into marriage is really epic and I want to celebrate this moment with your VIPs!

I don’t tell bad jokes, I’m not into cheesy one-liners and I am definitely not about stealing the spotlight. I am all about engaging your crowd, killing the nervous vibes and helping you both stay grounded in your experience. I bring a professional yet relaxed vibe to your ceremony and will be as left of centre or traditional as you wish me to be. I’m grateful to do this as my full-time gig and feel so blessed that my couples put their trust in me as their wedding celebrant. Ultimately, I want to create a warm and fun wedding ceremony experience! Something that’s worthy of the amazing Byron Bay Weddings experience that you’re creating! I want to be regarded as a friend of yours after the confetti has fallen, such is the closeness of our connection!

Ben Carlyle

Michelle Shannon: I’m a modern romantic at heart with a cheeky sense of humour. I love a great love story, whether it brings tears to our eyes or laughter all around. I write each couple’s story from ‘Their heart’  with all of my heart – as I believe the wedding ceremony is about the couple, their friends and family and the celebration of their life together so far. One of the nicest things that a wedding guest usually asks me after the ceremony is how long have I known the couple for and am I a friend or family member as I seem to know them so well.  This means I have done a great job and created a lasting memory, bringing together and including the guests as well to make them all feel relaxed.

Wonder Love Ceremonies: A great ceremony sets the vibe for the whole day so I make sure every ceremony is full of meaningful moments, and emotions of all kinds, captivating my couples and their guests from the first moment until the last. I’m relaxed, laid-back, warm and experienced – someone who is going to bring the right balance of romance, fun and beautiful words to your day but I think it’s my couples who really sum up my style best.
“Her laid-back personality was like chatting with an old friend and she made the entire process a breeze” – Lisa & Andrew
“An absolute dream to work with, she knew exactly how to create a special ceremony with lots of love, laughs and also tears” – Hayley & Paddy
“An absolute natural who has an obvious passion for her work” – Kieran and Edwina
“She has a warm and happy nature; you instantly feel like you’ve known each other a long time” – Jac & Tom

The most important thing is for couples to choose someone who really ‘gets’ them, someone they feel a connection with, and someone who is genuinely interested in discovering their story, and their style. I’ve been a marriage celebrant for ten years, and in that time I’ve married hundreds of couples – making each ceremony a unique celebration of two people and their love for each other.

Wonder Love Ceremonies | GoldBear Wedding Films

Susie Figgis: Having a ceremony that fits with who you are and rings true for you, and your family and friends, is what it’s all about.  So my style is to match the vibe you want to create, and represent your love story in a true and beautiful way. 

I see myself as the voice behind your love story, a warm and welcoming presence, and a catalyst to help everyone drop into the magnitude of what’s happening. I also bring through fun at the right moments and humour that is relevant to you as a couple. Other people say that I’m relaxed, earthy and genuinely interested in learning about the love story that’s in front of me.  People also say that I have a great way with words, and that I clearly love what I do.

I believe weddings are a way to connect with your tribe, and voice your reasons for choosing this one imperfect person who is perfect for you, and to celebrate all that is great about your coming together.  I won’t steal your limelight, but I will absolutely shine the light on your love.  

Kirsty Laing: When delivering your ceremony, I always work in with the vibe that you’re seeking to kick start your wedding day. You’ll be asked to describe how you want to feel and I will strive to create just that for your ceremony! Relaxed, romantic, formal, traditional, party etc.). My own personal style is cheerful, romantic and relaxed. I love to have a bit of fun with your ceremony by perhaps including your guests or something else that really represents you as a couple. I’m not scared of incorporating rituals, or paddling out to marry you guys on a surfboard if that will create your dream ceremony!

In the lead up to your ceremony – the couples I work with can’t believe how simple, fun and stress-free the whole process is! Yay! And finally, on the big day, I’m told that my big smile and peaceful energy always helps (the awesome couples I marry), to remain calm and really enjoy their ceremony, and then, let the celebrations begin!

Kirsty Laing

How do you make a ceremony as personal as possible? What’s your personal touch? 

Marry Me Dean: This is the part that I love. It’s your ceremony and it’s about sharing your story. I gather information from each of you separately then build your love story from there. It is your choice if you want to read what I’ve created in advance. However, I have found that couples enjoy hearing it for the first time with everybody else on the day of the ceremony. This keeps things fresh, engaging and organic. I’m not just sharing your story with the guests, but with you as well. Couples often get to learn new things about each other which leads to some pretty cool and memorable moments.

A fun fact about me is that in addition to my work as a marriage celebrant, I am also a meditation teacher. This comes in handy with all of the excitement, and let’s face it, all of the stress (and visiting relatives!) that can come around this time. The day before the event I touch base with you for just a few moments to re-centre, get grounded and reconnect, allowing you to be present and move forward feeling like yourself. We create a sense of calm, good vibes and maybe even have a few laughs as you take a deep breath and prepare to wake up to your wedding day! Sometimes, this part is so often forgotten as we get swept along by the arrangements for the day. I’ll give you some techniques that you can use on the day to stay present too.

Modern Love Ceremonies: As humans, what we connect to is stories.
I look at each individual ceremony as a story, which has a beginning, a middle and an end – I find the hook for my couple’s story and I narrate it.
I often get comments that the guests thought I was a good friend of the couple, yet I never try to make it seem that way. I just do my research, find out what makes them tick, and then represent my couple as who their guests know them to be. I don’t make stuff up, of course, I might leave stuff out, but I just highlight everything that is wonderful about them. I also offer for my couples to read my scripts beforehand so they can fact check me – and that what I’m actually saying about them, is what they want to be said.

Modern Love Ceremonies

Heidi Robertson: Many of my couples come from interstate or overseas to get married in Byron, so I may not meet them in person until a few days prior to the wedding. Up until then, meetings are held over Skype, phone and/or email. I try and emphasise how important it is for us to all chat face to face – either in person or online. As a celebrant, I need to be able to get a feel for the relationship and what makes it tick. What is important to the couple, what matters to them individually. What values they hold. What they both envision on their wedding day. What they envision their life beyond the wedding day to look like. Only when getting an accurate picture of all of this can I then write a ceremony that reflects who they are. Sometimes people feel more comfortable writing down their answers to my specific questions as it gives them a bit more time to reflect and jot down something meaningful. Some may feel a lot more comfortable answering questions whilst others are more reserved. So it’s really different based on all of these factors. My ‘personal touch’ is delivering the ceremony for them in a meaningful, genuine and heartfelt way. I want them to feel special and know that I am cheering them on as much as their closest family and friends are.

Andrew Michael: I make my ceremony style as personal as possible a number of ways. I get to know the couple, dig deep, ask the right questions and write a ceremony script which captures the essence of the couple as best as I can. I always try and meet the couples I marry. That’s pretty hard sometimes with interstate couples so Skype and FaceTime work well in this instance. In the lead up to the wedding day, I always try and stay involved with the couple’s plans and guide them through the last few weeks leading into the wedding day. Sometimes I’ll have a surf with the groom on the morning of the wedding, and just hang out and chat and keep him relaxed.  I like to eliminate as much stress and awkwardness as possible.

On the day, I make the ceremony an all-inclusive affair so the couple don’t feel alone and weird standing up there by themselves. I pride myself on making the guests feel as much a part of the ceremony as the couple and talk with the guests, not at them, using their names and getting them involved too. There’s so many amazing and new feelings to experience on your wedding day. A relaxed and positive energy along with a personalised approach helps give the ceremony that authentic and real feeling which stays with you forever.

Andrew Michael

Ben Carlyle: Every single ceremony I deliver is completely custom to my couples experience. I think that it’s incredible 2 humans can fall in love, out of the billions of humans on planet earth, so surely your unique ‘love story’ is worthy of re-telling. I meet with my couples and we chat about their adventure together. This initial meeting is a warm meeting and connecting of our different universes – I’ll tell you my story if you tell me yours! We talk about your wedding venue, your jobs, your OCD habits and that amazing or possibly awkward first kiss that you may have shared! I take enough notes and ask enough questions to get the ball rolling in the planning of your ceremony. It’s in this meeting that our connection grows and hopefully I allow you to both be completely open and honest with me.

I also give my couples an awesome questionnaire which allows them to tell me in their own language, all the gossip on what makes them an awesome team! Next, I create a ceremony to suit, which you’ll have a chance to check out before the big day rolls around. I know your story so well that I can deliver it by just glancing at my notes, so I’m not standing there looking down at my “script”. During the ceremony I’m monitoring your emotional space, interacting with your favourite humans, pushing rain clouds to the side and being as authentic to your journey as possible.

Ben Carlyle | Photo – Fig Tree Pictures

Michelle Shannon: In making each and every ceremony personal I send out a list of easy questions for the couple to answer, (like ‘what do you love about one another‘, ‘what does marriage mean to you now‘, ‘what do you want your family and friends to remember from your wedding day’… and much more. Hopefully, we have also had a chance to catch up in person or on Skype to chat about what they really want.  As for including traditions (old, new, modern or excluded) and including family or friends I always guide them towards keeping their ceremony personal and real and to also remember to have fun. It truly is one of the best days of your life – enjoy every moment. And I don’t stand in the middle of my couples.  I still remember my own wedding day when all I wanted to do was hug and kiss my husband as I was so excited but my celebrant hadn’t said GO FOR IT!  And I wish I had… So in my ceremonies, I encourage my couples to be themselves, if they want to have a sneaky hug or kiss or wrap their arms around one another they should. It’s their day after all!  And there are no rules on how much kissing or hugging you can do and it truly makes the guests and the couple feel more relaxed when they can hold each other or share a quick kiss or a warm embrace. 

Wonder Love Ceremonies: I encourage all of my couples to really spill the beans. By really getting to know their story, I can weave together a crafted ceremony that is completely authentic – one that engages and really connects with family and guests and has all the feels – fun, laughter, touching moments and a few happy tears. When creating each ceremony, it’s important that couples remember the day is theirs, and theirs only. With me, couples can build in traditional elements or non-traditional elements, and if they’re into a little something unexpected, I will deliver ideas for something entirely new – anything goes, and there is so much creative scope to create something unique.  Another of my couples, Megan & Ollie, talk about their experience “We knew what we didn’t want, but couldn’t quite pin down what it was that would make our ceremony uniquely us. Katrina was amazingly cool, suggesting personal touches like Ollie sharing a nip of whiskey with my Dad as they met at the start of the aisle, involving our mums with the rings and a special champagne toast with our guests before petals were thrown”. 

Susie Figgis: Preparation is as important as the ceremony itself.  A big part of this is the journey of connection between the 3 of us, celebrant and couple.  I take the time to get a real feel for what makes you tick together, what you love about each other, and how you see your future.  I do this both verbally (face to face or over Skype) and through a love story questionnaire that you both answer independently.  Then I bring all of this through into your ceremony, so that your family and friends feel that it’s a beautiful and true representation of who you really are.

Committing to a life together means different things to everyone, and I really love transforming your vision for a happy marriage into words.  It’s a writing process that doesn’t stop until it’s perfect for you. I do share a draft ceremony with you to ensure you agree with the way I’m representing you and your future vision. One value I like to bring to the equation is a sense of realism, rather than idealism.  It’s easy to be idealistic about marriage when the love vibes are climaxing. So without being negative at all, I encourage people to be realistic when considering what their “happy marriage” is going to look like. It’s a way to acknowledge the ‘humanness’ in all of us .. and not set up and expectation of perfection.  After all Love will always ebb and flow.    

Susie Figgis

Kirsty Laing: Every ceremony I deliver is personally crafted to suit your individual personalities and desires. I’m totally open to any new ideas and up for pretty much anything to make the start of your day perfect for you! I’ve married couples at sunrise on surfboards, alongside waterfalls, in backyards and local halls, and of course at some of Byron’s finest wedding venues. I’m currently trying to ‘manifest’ a hot air balloon ceremony. Any takers!?

In the meetings to plan your ceremony, I love discovering all about you and your lives together, your humour/hopes/dreams etc. After almost 10 years as a registered civil celebrant, I know all the right questions to ask. We will go ahead and map out your ceremony together, I’ll offer lots of options for you to choose to include (or leave out). Then finally, I’ll piece it all together for you to enjoy for the first time on your wedding day!

Kirsty Laing

Do you assist with writing the wedding vows?

Marry Me Dean: Vows can be the highlight of the ceremony. This is the moment that you lay it on the line before the one you love and those who are most important to you. It can also be a little confronting as well. Should they be serious, or should they be funny? Should they be formal, or should they be relaxed? Well, they are your vows so they should be how you want them to be.

I mentioned before I am also a meditation teacher. One of the unique things that I offer is a special session to get you grounded, centred and connected in a meditative space. You find your essence and write your vows from this frame of mind. (Relax! It is super easy and not some crazy hippy thing, I promise!). The end result is couples are often surprised at what is unearthed. It helps you to keep it simple and find clarity about how you feel and what you want to say to your partner. Couples love this part of the process. Here is something one of my couples recently told me –
“When I began planning our ‘small and simple’ wedding I wasn’t aware of how much stress would be present. I am usually quite competent at managing many things at once and coping with stress, and my wedding had me questioning my abilities! Dean’s friendly advice helped me stay in the moment, calm and cool on the day. He is a lifesaver!

Marry Me Dean

Modern Love Ceremonies: I give my couples resources to write their weddings vows, and some coaching if they are having trouble. I once had a meeting with a groom who is an actual writer on his own, as he was struggling to put his thoughts together – in most cases, I just tell people to stop overthinking it, don’t try to write in cliches, just write a love letter that covers three subheadings: 
1. I love you because… 
2. I want us to have this life together…
3. I promise to do this, this and this to ensure we get that life.

If you follow these steps your vows will be authentic and true to your heart. Often my couples will write their vows separately and then I will review them to make sure they are in line with each other in tone and length.
Sometimes one person in the couple is very succinct in the way they express themselves, where the other person uses as many words as they can. I let the couple know if things are vastly different, but generally, their partner and the couple’s community recognise these qualities about them and accept them for it, and I just make sure the person with the shorter vows goes first.

Heidi Robertson: If I am asked to provide some guidance, I will happily do so. I don’t tell them what to write or even make suggestions of the wording used; I will explain what it is that vows are and the meaning behind them, and get them to put down on paper what is in their hearts. What promises they want to make to their partner in this moment of public commitment. Again, this is a highly personal thing. I’ve had some couples write vows where all the guests are crying with emotion. Others do not wish to have personal vows if they are very private people. I’ve had couples say they know what they feel for each other and don’t want to feel like they have to put it into words in front of everyone. Others like to use a bit of humour, like ‘I promise you I’ll try to act interested during the football’ or ‘I promise you I’ll clean the toilet’. So you see, as long as the legal sentence is said, the rest is entirely flexible.

Heidi Robertston

Andrew Michael: I certainly do assist with writing vows. For me, creating and expressing your wedding vows is a beautiful thing. The feeling of saying your wedding vows is only trumped by the feeling of receiving wedding vows from your favourite person. My templates and hacks on writing vows are all part of my ‘wedding day’ guide which I give to all my couples. Writing your own vows really adds personality to the ceremony and adds to the ‘personalised’ delivery of my ceremonies. One of my goals is to make your guests feel like they’re apart of ‘your’ wedding ceremony with words from the heart coupled with a free-flowing, smooth and fresh delivery to keep everyone focused and ‘into’ the moment.

Ben Carlyle: Don’t be freaked out by writing your vows because I hear this a lot, “Where the hell do I start Ben?! I’m freaking out!” That might be because you’ve heard terrible vows at other weddings and this is probably because their celebrant gave them an outdated resource for their inspiration. I supply all of my couples with a gem of a document; which includes pointers, tips and some awesome examples! I get my couples to send through their vows if they’re keeping them a surprise and offer them advice on how they stack up against each other. You don’t want one vow being too long, overly serious or overly taking the piss – compared to the other person’s vow. I offer some practical advice on how to add more content or bring a similar vibe to your words of love and devotion.

Michelle Shannon: I certainly do.  I email a PDF booklet to my couples filled with inspiring vows from some of my previous weddings to give couples an idea of what they can say.  I then encourage each couple to give writing vows a go. If they wish to keep them a secret from each other until the wedding ceremony, that too can easily be done.  I have rarely ever changed anyone’s personal vows. I just ask that they be true to themselves, have fun and don’t over promise and under deliver.  Most importantly, couples do not have to remember their vows as I print them up for them for the day (or they can repeat after me if they are too nervous). This, however, is usually a rare occasion at my weddings.

Celebrant – Michelle Shannon | Photo – Possum Creek Studios

Wonder Love Ceremonies: Absolutely! There’s no need to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of writing original vows. I want my couples to feel completely at ease with the process so I provide them with my Wonder Love Ceremony Guide – inside there are tips on writing vows, along with a whole heap of examples for inspiration. I’m also available for unlimited guidance and feedback (which really helps when couples decide to keep their vows a surprise from their partner).

Wonder Love Ceremonies

Susie Figgis: Making your vows really represent you is an art.  It’s easy to get caught up in trying to make them really romantic, even poetic.  If this isn’t your natural way of relating, then take this pressure off yourselves. It’s so much better if your Vows are real and honest and speak to what you both need to ‘do” so that your marriage is full of growth, happiness and harmony.

I guide you through a brainstorming process to arrive at the key things you want to promise each other for a happy and harmonious marriage.  I encourage you to embrace your Vows as more than words you say at your wedding, rather as a blueprint for a really great life together, something you should consider framing and having in your kitchen! I also support you in the delivery of your Vows. in the best and most comfortable way for you as a couple… which usually involves a hand, heart and eye connection… rather than asking you to juggle a Vow card and microphone. 

Kirsty Laing: Yes of course! Your wedding vows can easily be the highlight of your ceremony (if you want them to be.) I always offer ideas, examples and guidance for personal wedding vow writing. Another thing I love to do is encourage couples to keep their vows a surprise from one another until the ceremony – but of course, this is up to each couple to decide!  

My advice in writing your vows – is to keep it real. Treat your vows like you’re writing your partner a letter (or email/text etc.) and perhaps choose to use words you’re comfortable/familiar with. 

Does your service offer ceremony rehearsals? 

Marry Me Dean: It is so important that you feel confident about how your day is going to unfold. My ceremonies are all about being heartfelt, not so much about where you are meant to stand. I don’t think anyone wants your ceremony to be like an over-rehearsed play, but you do need to feel like you know what to do and when to do it. I offer my couples a run through of the ceremony the week before the wedding. That way we all know where we are meant to be and what is going to happen. The key to a beautiful wedding is to be organised in the lead-up, so that by the time the day rolls around we are all totally prepared, completely confident and relaxed. I leave nothing to the last minute. This allows you to be relaxed and to concentrate on more important things, like nailing your dance moves for the after party!

Modern Love Ceremonies: Yes. If the wedding is outside of the Byron region I charge a travel fee to attend a rehearsal, which will be subject to availability. Often people will choose not to have one, but I generally like to at least have a meeting with my couple in the week leading up to their wedding to make sure we’re on the same page, to build rapport and to get a declaration that needs to be signed before the big day all sorted.

Heidi Robertson: Absolutely. A rehearsal can take some of the anxiety out of the big day. It can help identify issues not previously thought of by the couple; we can practice the handheld microphone if that is to be used on the day; it is a good opportunity to ask and answer any last minute questions, and sign the last bit of legal documentation prior to the ceremony. I don’t read out the ceremony and the couple don’t say their vows during the rehearsal – it’s more about logistics. Having said that, a rehearsal may not always, in every circumstance, be required. But yes, it is always offered and often strongly recommended.

Andrew Michael: I offer multiple meetings and a rehearsal if the couple wants one. As I said, a stress-free, smooth and free-flowing ceremony are often the best and if a rehearsal helps achieve that, then let’s do it.

My thing is with wedding rehearsals is that they’re nothing like the ‘real’ thing. Walking, standing and talking are the key elements of a rehearsal, but without the guests present and the wedding dress on, the rings, the buzz from the raw energy, the smell in the air and the sheer beauty of your wedding day it can represent a mis-leading or different feeling to that which you would feel on your wedding day. Having said that, a rehearsal can sometimes be beneficial for dads, mums or other important people who are apart of the ceremony. If the couple are having a few extra inclusions on their wedding day, then a rehearsal can be beneficial that way to help everything run smoothly.

Andrew Michael

Ben Carlyle: Yes, I offer a Rehearsal for my couples as part of my services. Most of my Byron Bay Wedding couples are from interstate, or from overseas and this might mean that we’ve only connected via a cyber chat or emails before the wedding date! Catching up at your ceremony venue before the big day kicks off can be a great way to touch base in your space and hug it out. There’s nothing like a real-life hug and hanging out in person with my awesome couples. I get to meet your crew and some of your VIPs. We can run through the movements of your ceremony entry and where and how we make you a married couple. We don’t sit there and word for word go through the ceremony but it’s all about making you feel comfortable and catching up in person. It’s also a good chance for me to go through your legal paperwork, check it’s all in order and even sign on the dotted line. I might also check out your ID and make sure we’re all lined up to kick all the goals to make you a married couple.  I will also impart some of my 10 years worth of wisdom upon you before your wedding day becomes a reality!

PS. Not all couples have a rehearsal and their ceremonies still rock just as hard! Also, be mindful not to bring too many additional humans to your rehearsal, as it can be quite distracting for you both.  

Michelle Shannon: Absolutely! Many times I may not have even met the couple I am marrying in person until the day before the wedding (rehearsal). So I love to catch up at the venue of choice and walk my couple and their wedding party through the ceremony and go over paperwork to make sure I haven’t made any spelling mistakes on official documents. I usually do this either a day or two before the wedding – that way we can say hello in person and also check what the weather is doing and work on a back-up should we need one.  I think this really helps the couple feel more relaxed on the actual wedding day itself.

Michelle Shannon | YellowBull Media

Wonder Love Ceremonies: My rehearsals are really relaxed. I describe it as more of a walk and talk through from start to finish so that we calm any nerves and make sure it’s all smooth sailing on the day. My couples tell me that doing a casual rehearsal really helps keep them relaxed, and gets them excited for what’s to come!

I really do love catching up with my couples a day or two before their wedding at the ceremony location; it might have been some time since we first connected face-to-face (or if my couples live overseas, it might even be our first chance to meet in person).

Susie Figgis: Yes if you want one, for sure.  Whether we do a full-blown rehearsal with your whole bridal party that day before, or a simple walkthrough when we are face to face somewhere together,  we will definitely address the standing formations and run through the flow of your ceremony, so you both know exactly what’s going to happen.

I personally believe that full blown rehearsals are often not necessary,  and in some cases it can actually take away the from the magic of it all on the day. Having said this I’m more than happy to accommodate what you want based on my availability, and depending on the drive time, there may be a small additional fee. 

Kirsty Laing: Yes – I always offer a rehearsal and we generally try to make this happen the morning prior to your big day. Rehearsals are certainly not compulsory nor are they a necessity – but I do highly recommend them. For you, standing in the space where you begin your marriage, (and kick start the wedding that you’ve most likely been planning for months or maybe years!?) can often be quite an intense moment. A quick rehearsal can help you feel SO much more relaxed and comfortable when it is finally time for your ceremony. Rehearsals are also a great opportunity to confirm any little logistical queries that may come up – and for you and me to catch up one last time in person which will again help to make you feel more relaxed. Whenever possible, we will meet at the venue for your rehearsal.

Are you LGBT-friendly?

Marry Me Dean: The great thing is I just love, love. How cheesy does that sound?! But it’s true. If there is one thing that excites me, it is that each one of us has the opportunity to love. Are there different levels of love? No. Love is love. Love wins and it is everybody’s right to have that experience. I am passionate about the fact that everyone can get married, and I am delighted to be able to marry all couples who are crazy in love with each other.

Modern Love Ceremonies: 100% – I believe all couples deserve the best service I can give them, regardless of their gender.

Modern Love Ceremonies | Cedar and Salt Photography

Heidi Robertson: Yes. Thankfully we can just say ‘weddings’ to describe the union of 2 people getting married, rather than offering ‘same sex commitment ceremonies’. Although to be fair, some couples (both gay and straight) are happy to have a commitment ceremony rather than a marriage. That’s the point – there is now a choice, where before, there was not one for many. Personally, I was not a fan of the plebiscite – I thought the government should have just passed the law without asking everyone what they thought about a basic human rights issue. Love is love and in this crazy world, we should celebrate consensual adults in love, not try and prohibit it or put conditions on it.

Andrew Michael: Hell yeah! – Love is the greatest thing you can feel. Who you love is your choice and who you are going to commit to in marriage forever is one of life’s beautiful liberties. Love is love, right? When you find someone, who makes you go all wobbly at the knees, sweat in weird places and gives you gut pains from outrageous fits of laughter, butterflies or excitement, that’s a feeling to celebrate and cherish. In this his day and age, we are capable of living our best life with who we want, the one who makes us a better person and fills our hearts with pure joy and beauty. Love is to be celebrated and our commitment to who we love and how we represent that is an amazing choice we have in the 21st century which should be celebrated and cherished.

Ben Carlyle: Yesssss! Hella Yesssss! I’ve been a massive advocate of this change in Australia and I am so thankful to be booking and facilitating weddings with LGBT couples. To me, we’re just all ‘humans in love’, regardless of our gender and sexuality. My same sex couples are literally the same as my husband and wife couples, the process is exactly the same. Harry met Harry and Harry kissed Harry. They fell deeply in love and threw a fantastic wedding celebration in Byron Bay and I’m going to celebrate that fact in my normal awesome way! I’ve been so lucky to have celebrated some incredibly beautiful and moving LGBT ceremonies in the past year. It feels very gratifying to have been saying that “Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of two people” for nearly 1.5 years now! Bring on the exciting adventure ahead!

Photo – Possum Creek Studios

Michelle Shannon: YES, YES, YES! It’s such a pleasure now to be able to marry everyone.  I have felt so honoured to share in some of the most heartfelt love stories I have ever heard this past year and a half and to see the joy and happiness that now we can all share as equals.

Wonder Love Ceremonies: I’m a huge supporter of marriage equality. My first LGBT couple, Ash and Amber, booked me before the law changed for a commitment ceremony. I still remember the day the law changed; I had just finished a call with another couple and we had been talking about how to acknowledge their strong belief in marriage equality. Minutes later my phone started buzzing, going off with the good news. I was beyond excited that Ash and Amber’s commitment ceremony was now going to be a real-deal marriage ceremony – our text messages that night were overflowing with emojis and exclamation marks! A few weeks beforehand I was lucky to be the celebrant for Dylan and Ange on Channel 7’s Bride & Prejudice and then it was Ash and Amber’s turn to become wife and wife! After their wedding, the newlywed brides sent me these beautiful words “Katrina is brilliant. She has perfected the ability to ensure that the moment is completely ours. She was the beautiful anchor we needed to feel at ease and steady throughout the day. From the first introduction, Katrina is warm, open, and respectful, and with her incredible ability to bring our love story into perfect words, our ceremony was wonderful. As two brides, we were very grateful for her support, and guidance through our marriage. We loved how excited she was to be able to marry us”

It really is an awesome time to be celebrating love with even more couples.

Susie Figgis: Absolutely.. with bells on!  It’s so magnificent to be in this profession as we embrace Love being Love in all its’ manifestations. It’s about bloody time! I do get seriously excited when I get approached by an LGBT couple.  It’s still so new … and seems to carry an extra level of intensity to the ceremony and celebration, which I just love!

My first Gay couple are now the proud new parents of an adopted child, and I literally cried when they sent me the photo.  I am genuinely moved by how long many of these couples have had to wait to tie their official knot… and I’m super excited to do more!

Susie Figgis

Kirsty Laing: Ah…. that’s a big fat YES! Always have been, always will be. #loveislove

Enquire with these Celebrants here:
Modern Love Ceremonies // Heidi Robertson // Marry Me Dean // Andrew Michael // Ben Carlyle // Michelle Shannon // Wonder Love Ceremonies // Susie Figgis // Kirsty Laing