The answer is 121 words, ok 123 if you both have a middle name.
Seriously, this is the legal requirement for a wedding and this week l performed a wedding for Amy and Ken that didn’t go for much longer than that.
Together for a few years and looking for a small intimate ceremony to prelude a holiday; Amy and Ken got dressed up, hired a photographer and headed to a picturesque local spot to tie the knot. Despite the low key, relaxed attitude, l can guarantee it was equally as lovely as any other wedding l have officiated.
It made sense to them to do it this way and it was their wedding – so why not! In fact, they chose to keep it a secret until they were at the airport ready to leave.
In Amy’s words “so everyone could have 9 days to get over not being invited”.
- The Celebrant must explain the nature of the marriage relationship. We call this the Monitum (a Latin word meaning 'warning'). It basically explains who the Celebrant is, what they are authorised to do and ensures the parties are aware of the legal implications of marriage.
- The bride and groom must then say the vows; “I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, John Smith, take thee, Jane Doe to be my lawful wedded wife”. It sounds fairly 1500s but some words can be substituted to make it more modern and obviously if your name is not John Smith then ... you get the idea.
- The full legal names of the bride and groom need to be said at some stage during the ceremony for the purpose of legally identifying both parties. This can be included in the vows or at any time during the ceremony.
Those bits are completely up to the couple to include if they choose.
Some people might say that 123 words is not enough to get all dressed up for, however given that they are the same 123 words that everyone getting married in a civil ceremony in Australia says, l think it is kind of cool that the rest is up to you.
How many words will you have?
I'd love to hear about it. Please comment below