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Commitment Ceremonies v-s Marriage Ceremonies - what is the difference?

Sometimes people wish to make a commitment to one another without the legalities of a marriage taking place. There are varying reasons for this, and all up to the individual.

I have had commitments and then a while later solemnized the marriage in a legal ceremony. One that comes to mind is a couple I met who wanted two ceremonies : - one with friends and work colleagues, and the legal one with close family only.

One thing that has come up from time to time though in my experience as a celebrant, is when a couple want to get married, but a divorce hasn't been granted on time.

If this is the case, a legal marriage cannot occur. The couple and the celebrant must wait for the divorce to become final. I have had this happen once, but as the couple already had everything booked and paid for well in advance, and had friends and relatives coming from interstate, they still wanted to go ahead. So I gave them the options.

The ceremony went ahead however as the celebrant, I had to state that this was not a legal wedding, but a commitment which I did quite a few times. There was a certificate issued but not the one that is issued at the time of a legal wedding.

The reason I have posted this, is that celebrants have a legal obligation and must adhere to the rules and guidelines and it's important to pass this information on to people planning to marry.

The rules in regards to this are very strict and celebrants face severe consequences if they don't abide by the rules.

For the most part, if you have a divorce pending, and ensure that you have booked your celebrant well in advance, things should work out. ( You can book a celebrant and lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage up to 18 months prior to your wedding taking place )

It is though out of the celebrant's hands as to the divorce process and legal system and its workings, so nothing is guaranteed until the divorce is final.

Commitment Ceremony

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