Aisle Just Leave This Here

Queens know how to march! But ask us about walking down the aisle, and we’re not so confident. When it comes to how two brides walk down the aisle, there are a few things to consider.

Continue reading “Aisle Just Leave This Here”

Gay Marriage Name Changes

LGBTIQA+ couples getting married have a slew of traditions to wade through to decide what works for them. But gay marriage name changes are possibly one of the most significant of them.

The question of whether—and how—to decide about a name change is still tough for same sex couples getting married. So in this post I am just going to lay out the options, and then make some suggestions for making that decision.

The options

You always retain the right to use the name on your birth certificate. If you have previously legally changed your name, that name always remains your right as well. When you get married, you also gain the right to use the family name of the person you marry. You can replace the family name on your birth certificate or change of name certificate with it, or you can use it in addition to your previous name.

If you decide to use both names, you can use them in any order you choose. For example, if Micah Mallett marries Juniper Jones, Micah’s married name options are:

  • Micah Mallett
  • Micah Jones
  • Micah Mallett-Jones, and
  • Micah Jones-Mallett

And Juniper’s options are:

  • Juniper Jones
  • Juniper Mallett
  • Juniper Jones-Mallett, and
  • Juniper Mallett-Jones

And your partner’s choice has no effect on yours.

An additional option I have assisted couples with is taking on a new name. This option is available to anyone; however, it cannot be done in unison with your marriage. One or both parties to the marriage would need to change their name directly with the registry office before the wedding. The new name can be declared as part of the wedding ceremony.

My suggestions

Many gay couples getting married are simply not changing their name, and there is nothing wrong with that. Personally, having taken my husband’s name, I love referring to my “maiden name” and watching people take a moment to process that (it’s one of the few examples of gendered language in English that works in women’s favour).

Some options to consider include:

Double barrell

I love double-barrell names, as you might be able to tell from my own name! I love the fact that the change reflects a change in your status. Nonetheless, there are distinct inconveniences in them:

  • they make long signatures
  • they’re hard to spell for people who dont know you
  • children may have a challenge to live with them.

You may also worry about trying to decide which name goes first if you double-barrel them. Fear not! You can actually have inverted double-barrel surname. This is what my husband and I did: our surnames are in the opposite order from each other (I’m Skillicorn-Chilver; and he’s Chilver-Skillicorn).

Flip a coin

One option I would love a couple to take is a flip of the coin as part of the ceremony! This would be a great option if you are both fine with either surname (it would also be great for a hetero couple!).

Combine your names

Some couples choose to take an informal approach and combine their names. A Prakash marrying a Crawford might choose to adopt the name Crawkash or something along those lines. This name is not the legal name of either party before the marriage, so it would take more than the marriage paperwork to make it legal. Still, it may be a fine option for some couples.


Whatever you decide, it is wise to consider the impact a name change will have on:

  • your professional profile
  • children, if you hope to have them
  • your signature, and
  • conducting ordinary business.

Whatever you decide, own it! Marriage equality was hard enough to achieve not to make the most of it!

If you need help with the process of changing your name after marriage, check out my post Changing Your Name After Marriage in Victoria.

Great Dates for Weddings 2023

What are the best wedding dates for 2023, Australia? I have a few suggestions…few suggestions…

Special days

Quite a few special days happen to fall on a Saturday in 2023

  • New Year’s Day is a Sunday in 2023
  • Friday the 13th happens in January and October if you want to tempt fate!
  • Lunar New Year falls on Sunday 22 January
  • Valentine’s Day is a Tuesday, so not too many people are going to be competing for it
  • April Fool’s Day, on the other hand, could be quite popular as it falls on a Saturday
  • Bisexual fiancés can really Celebrate Bisexuality Day which happens to fall on Saturday 23 October!
  • Halloween is also a Saturday, making All Soul’s Day a Sunday, and both are great wedding dates
  • And to round it off, New Year’s Eve also boasts a fine Sunday locale!

Dates with nice numbers

  • Thursday 2 March has the tidy 2.3.23
  • Sunday 12 March offers 12.3.23
  • Friday 31 March joins them with 31.3.23
  • Two Saturdays fall on the 23rd of the month: 23 September 23 and 23 December 23
  • Sunday 23 April 23 also has a nice ring to it
  • Friday 1 December has a sequential 1.12.23

Novelty dates with little competition

Avoiding Saturdays for your wedding ceremony can make booking easier and save you some cash. 2023 has fewer novelty dates than most years, but they’re not altogether absent:

  • Thursday 2 March is 2.3.23
  • Friday 3 March is similarly charming with 3.3.23
  • Friday 31 March also avoids the competition with 31.3.23
  • Friday 1 December has a sequential 1.12.23

As always, same sex couples can consider all of Pride Month a novelty date with little competition, because June is one of the months when the fewest weddings are held.

Image showing great wedding dates 2023

For more help picking your date, head over to my post

How to Pick Your Wedding Date

Pronouncements in Same Sex Weddings

The pronouncement is one of those iconic moments of a ceremony that even Hollywood leaves in their highly-truncated weddings, but we’re still adapting the tradition of pronouncements in same sex weddings.

Continue reading “Pronouncements in Same Sex Weddings”

Wedding Music Tip #4


Finding wedding playlists to suit your ceremony is a challenge. And although the technology that rides around in our pocket has dramatically opened up the options, there is now even more to wade through!

Have you ever had that feeling that there must be the perfect playlist out there somewhere? The one that would just be spot-on for your wedding? Well I have one sweet little trick to share that might just make it easier for you to find that list:

Use keywords from your vows to search your favourite streaming service.

That’s it! It’s one of those simple ideas that just isnt obvious, but can make a world of difference.

For instance, if your vows included the phrase, “I love everything about you”, you could type exactly that into the search bar of your music app, and look through the results for songs and playlists. It’s simple, and it can shake up your search strings in just the right way.

Now, if you haven’t gotten up to writing your vows yet, you’ll need to get right on that. And if you’re not writing personal vows, this doesn’t help at all! The important thing to recognise is that when you write your vows, you have to focus on what matters most to you, and to your fiancé. And that focus is valuable, so use it 🙂

If you need a little help selecting a streaming service, try this list.

And if you need help writing your vows, check out my video on how to write vows!

What Do We Have To Say?

If you want a short ceremony or you’re going to write your ceremony yourself, here is what you have to include.

Continue reading “What Do We Have To Say?”

Given Away?

When it comes to gay wedding ideas, giving away the bride is not the most obvious consideration, but it can be relevant for same sex couples.

Continue reading “Given Away?”

BDM Fee Increase

On an entirely different note for this blog, a price hike has led me to review my pricing structure for weddings. Victoria’s Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) recently increased the cost of birth, death and marriage certificates by almost 50%. In my opinion, this increase is not just extreme in value, but also very poorly justified. It comes at a terrible time for engaged Victorians dealing with extreme cost of living increases following two years of uncertainty, cancellations and postponements.

My pricing structure change

Since moving to Victoria, I have mostly incorporated the cost of certificates into my fees. However, this is something I cannot control or have any influence over. I have therefore decided that the best course of action is to separate the cost of marriage certificates.

For a small proportion of couples, the official certificate from BDM is not necessary. If neither party is changing their name, there is no particular need to hold legal proof of your marriage. Fluffy Form Fifteen, which you get anyway, is sufficient in this case (there is a description of the difference in this post).

For those couples who do need the official certificate, the most efficient way to obtain it will still be to have your celebrant order it at the time of registration. For my clients, I will simply add the current BDM cost to invoices, and change that charge every time the Registrar increases it.

I have updated my Pricing page to reflect this change.

The Change

Until February 2022, getting your marriage certificate in Victoria cost $36.3 plus postage.

Today, getting your marriage certificate in Victoria costs $51.4 plus postage.

Presumably, the next increase will take that cost to $75.61 (though they may generously round that to the nearest decime as they’ve done in the past). And that could happen any time! It only takes the time required for the Registrar to seek feedback and then have some Vogon write a list of reasons why the feedback is invalid.

Faux Consultation

The Registrar asked Celebrants directly to comment on the proposed change in the name of ‘consultation’. Despite what appears to be almost-universal objection, the Registrar has spent a wad of taxpayer money trying to justify the change by negating all the feedback received.

Provide your feedback

If you would like to read more about the change, follow this link.

If you want to make your voice heard about this change, email or contact the minister responsible, Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes. Good luck.

Help! I’m the Best Man!

Being chosen as the best man for a friend’s wedding is one of those great honours people long for. But how do you write a best man’s speech, and what else is expected? Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

The role

First and foremost, a best man should remember that he is there to support the person who invited him to take on the role. If that person says no buck’s night, there will be no buck’s night. If that person is stuggling to tie his tie, you better know how. If that person wants to wear a hot pink suit, you may have to convince their fiancé to let them do so, help them find a hot pink suit, or stage an intervention. Or possibly all three!

However it plays out, if you’re focused on helping, you’ll do well.

Task list

Now, the term best man is slightly in decline, and even the customs around what he does are not set in stone. There is certainly no reason why this role cannot be undertaken by a woman, and a male best man could be there to support a bride!

Whatever the context, the list below is a random collection of things best men over the years have taken on. In twenty-first century weddings, though, no task should simply be assumed: always speak with the couple about what they expect, and follow their lead.

In order of the most common roles that fall to a best man to the least, here it is:

  • Get the groom to the ceremony
  • Get the rings to the ceremony
  • Witness the groom’s signature on the marriage certificates
  • Write and deliver the best mans speech
  • Propose the first toast to the newlyweds
  • Join the first dance with the Maid of Honour
  • Organise a bachelor party
  • Help with outfit planning
  • Collect cards and gifts from guests
  • Keep the official certificate of marriage safe

Preparing a speech

Many best men sweat about preparing the best man’s speech. There have been many great ones and the bar is very high. So if you dont know where to start, the most important thing to do is start early!

A simple approach is to follow this pattern:

  1. Talk about the person who asked you to be their best man, and why they matter to you
  2. Talk about the person they’re marrying and why you support the marriage
  3. Wish them well.

If that sounds too simple, get started and you’ll quickly realise only the third point is easy! But also remember that if public speaking is a challenge for you, one paragraph on each of those points is enough. If your best man’s speech is two minutes of heartfelt congratulations, it will be perfect.

If you are more comfortable with public speaking, I would encourage you to have a look at my post about humour in wedding speeches. It is focused on queer weddings but very relevant for straight weddings too.

Most importantly

Have fun. If youre not having fun, the groom is probably not having fun either, and as their primary support person, its your role to change that. And keep in mind that this may mean supporting their partner as well!

There is no right or wrong way to be the best man, there’s just your way. Be yourself and stay focused on making your groom’s day.

Wedding Music Tip #3


Classic wedding songs used to be social cues. When I was a lad we knew when to stand and when to sit based on the tune that was being played. These days, I have to tell guests when it’s time to stand or sit. I like it when couples select music that’s meaningful to them personally, but there is something to be said for these classic wedding songs and the pageantry they invoke.

If you want to know how to find those classic wedding tunes, here are the names for those compositions that have a special place in the wedding music canon.

The Processional

We’ve all heard that beautiful tune traditionally played as a bride walks down the aisle. Richard Wagner composed it for the romantic opera Lohengrin. He called it Treulich Geführt, which can be translated to English as “Faithfully Guided”. Stirring stuff.

This composition has various names in English. Some label it the “wedding march”; others the “bridal chorus”. If you Google up any combination of those words with Wagner’s name, you should get great traditional results. There’s a rather lovely rendition of Treulich Geführt in the original German on YouTube, and Wikipedia has the lyrics (which none of us know) in German and English.

If you have a bagpiper, a modern traditional tune for the processional would be Highland Cathedral.

The Recessional

That rousing tune we know as the end of a wedding is—very inconveniently—known by the same name in English as the traditional tune for the processional! In the era of Google, the best way to distinguish them is by their composer.

Felix Mendelssohn composed it for a production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1842. There’s a lovely rendition of Mendelssohn’s wedding march by the London Symphony Orchestra here.

Just like its Wagnerian counterpart, it is the quintessential classic wedding song and cannot be beaten for pomp.

Still looking for your track? Have a look at my other wedding music posts 😉

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