Thank you for your enquiry and interest,
The most important thing to know about the marriages I perform is that they are registered as Buddhist Marriages and will be noted that way on all the documentation.
Couples must comfortable with this fact --- I am not a civil celebrant.
Beyond this, we need to have the paper work completed at least 1 month and 1 day before the marriage to comply with the law. It would be nice to have this all in place long before this time as it gets too stressful for all involved when things are rushed.
The most important things for me about the ceremony's I perform, is to try and make them meaningful and beautiful. My intention is that the memory of the ceremony will be this way for you. My hope is that it will leave a deep mark on your mind, to allow you to remember the pledges and commitments that you make. This is important, especially into the future when the memory may need to be recalled as a skillful means, to help, in the times when it may be needed.
To this end the form of the ceremony needs to be designed by you. I will certainly give you the benefit of the experience I have had with all types of ceremonies, but it remains true that you can have a big input. The Cascade above labelled "Readings" allows you to browse many different readings that you may find suitable to give your ceremony the theme you are looking for. There is also a cascade labelled "Designing Ceremony" that gives list of many different ceremonial things you can do to give your ceremony the form you would like.
The responsibility for the pledges will be even more in your hands. The cascade above labelled "Pledges" allows you to view many examples of pledges from which you can cut & paste, or adjust to suit or indeed design in a totally new way. The only thing required is that there are words to the effect that the intention of the marriage is life-long. This is a legal requirement in Australia. My marriages can be done at a venue of your choice. Beaches, Rivers, Parks and Backyards are all standard.
WEDDINGS AT THE BUDDHIST CENTRE AND WITH MONKS & NUNS
The Buddhist Centre in Perth can be used and the Monks and Nuns, if they are available will participate. It is up to you to arrange this though. Weddings with the monks in attendance are usually centered around meal times and are in the main, held at the Buddhist Centre. This can be flexible though, as Ajahn Brahm has been with me in some pretty unusual places.
The weddings that I do with the Monks or Nuns are usually held in the morning before the meal time, because the couple usually take the opportunity after to offer the Dana. This is not always the case however, and our Sangha are usually open to attend weddings at a place and time to the suit the couple's desire.
My role as celebrant, when the Sangha is in attendance focuses more on the legal aspects with any oratory I make deferring more to the monks. We work as a team with everyone working to make the ceremony great.
The responsibility for organizing the events along with making the ceremony flow in a meaningful way, still falls to me. As mentioned the celebrant also needs to have everything organised before the day. The documents and registers etc.
One last important thing to discuss is Marriage Preparation.
I have an accreditation with the Prepare/Enrich organisation to do this marriage preparation. When I first started to do this celebrancy work, I researched many proprietary courses, mostly offered by the different churches, and ended up with the Wesley Central Missions standard called "Prepare". It is an inventory worked out by a Californian Psychiatrist called David Olsen. I like it because it had a good "Family of Origin" component to it, which to some extent can mirror the Buddhist idea of karma. The family of origin component shows the conditioning that has come from each of the parties own families, especially in the formative years.
Couples can also see how they relate with things such as Communication, Conflict resolution, Personalities, Finances, Sex and Children, it also looks at Expectations, Role relationships, Leisure, and Spirituality.
This preparation is all about raising awareness of each parties views and opinions of what marriage should be and will highlight where there will be harmony and where there may be tension arising. As mentioned it also looks at the Families that both parties are drawn from and helps to identify areas that will bring strength's and areas that may require some awareness and work.
The marriage preparation is great fun to do and is strongly recommended. Most of my marriage couples do it. It also gives the added bonus that the process allows us all to get to know each other well and makes for an even more intimate and beautiful ceremony. Participation in the Prepare is not compulsory but we strongly recommend it. You can see a video about Prepare-Enrich here:
I have traditionally provided this work as a service to the Buddhist Society, and have charged only for the marriage preparation, as it costs me a fee for each one I do. Over the years, the Government has introduced various fees including compulsory PD and charges for materials. As a result, we now do need to make a charge for the marriages performed. Fees and Charges are set out in the appropriate drop down menu.
Official Celebrant (A2005)