Certificates are an important part of ceremony. It doesn't matter what kind.
From the official ones you have to sign when you get married through to fun and funky ones celebrants create for the range of non-legal ceremonies they provide in their service portfolios, certificates provide the "validation" that something special has just taken place.
Weddings in Australia are legal marriages. I need to say this because in the UK, where celebrancy is gaining popularity but celebrants like me can't legally marry people in particular countries there, "weddings" are the term given to non-legal ceremonies held after couples legally marry at a registry office. There is a push to change the law to allow legal celebrant-led marriages in parts of the UK where they can't currently do it, but it's a long way off being approved. There's no way you can call a non-legal ceremony like a commitment or reaffirmation a "wedding" in Australia without getting into a great deal of trouble. I feel for the poor Brits...
But, I digress... back to certificates.
When you marry in Australia, you sign two official Certificates of Marriage on white paper, plus a pretty looking, fawn coloured certificate which is called the Form 15 by celebrants, and known otherwise as "the Presentation Certificate". It's the one you get presented with at the ceremony.
These are official prescribed certificates, and it's a legal requirement that those marrying must sign them after marrying. How this is achieved will differ between celebrants. For me, the signing and presentation are very important parts of the ceremony, and I plan for them accordingly.
However, I have heard that many modern celebrants don't give this the same attention. I have heard that celebrants tell guests to "talk among yourselves while we sign the papers" depriving guests of the opportunity to be involved in this special moment or take photos of it. It's like the whooping and the big "Y'aassss" and the get-to-the-bar party are more important, nowadays. At one wedding this year in Queensland, I heard that the celebrant reportedly dismissed the guests to wait outside the venue while the couple and witnesses disappeared into an ante room in a chapel to sign the certificates, reminiscent of the religious weddings where this has been a common practice.
For non-legal ceremonies like reaffirmation of marriage vows, commitments, engagements or any other ceremony for joining, or naming ceremonies for children and young people, I use certificates that I have developed for this purpose. So the couples get to sign something that emulates the marriage register or parents a birth-type register, but of course, these are not legal documents. And because of that, I can give those register-type certificates to my clients as a keepsake. I can also produce family certificates for situations where families might like their children to sign something at the ceremony.
Certificates add something special to ceremonies and with me, they will always be a special part of what I do in this space. If you want to know more, please leave a comment below.
Have a wonderful week.