The Celebrant’s Roadie


Most people have heard about the ‘Roadie’.

This is a person – male or female – who accompanies a band/orchestra/performing artist on the road. They drive the vehicles, load/unload equipment, fetch and carry, and also give moral support to the performers.

And on occasions have been known to share their bed.!

Well, I’m a Roadie too, mainly at weekends, but in this instance the performer is Anne, my wife – a Civil Celebrant. "Have ceremony, will travel" could well be her motto!

We frequently head off on sometimes quite long journeys to perform ceremonies - weddings mostly, but perhaps a name-giving (a secular "christening’), or a commitment ceremony, or even a funeral.

In my case I drive the vehicle (Anne’s car), load and unload the equipment, help her set up when necessary, meet the bride and co-ordinate her entry, play the music on cue, take some photos of the ceremony, and generally lend support. The equipment includes Anne's document briefcase, battery operated P.A, system/radio microphone, folding table for signing certificates etc, folding deck chair, battery operated CD player, small folding table for same. And another carry-all bag carries an assortment of useful items including camera, aspirin, spare batteries, cloth for the table, rubber bands, tissues for wiping away bridal tears, and a small crowd-control bell.

In spare moments along the way (if any) we may find time to enjoy a cup of coffee, or a meal, or the view of some often spectacular scenery in the area which a couple has chosen for their wedding.

To those not familiar with the concept of the Civil Celebrant let me explain. The civil celebrant system has been operative in Australia for almost forty years and has become soundly established as a popular alternative to religious ceremonies.

More than 60% of all weddings throughout Australia are now performed by Civil Celebrants. The celebrant – through interviews - guides a couple in designing an individual ceremony to meet their personal requirements, usually without religious input, at a location of their choice, often outdoors.

Can there be any more romantic or spiritual occasion than a marriage taking place on an ocean beach or high bluff overlooking endless vistas of magnificent sea under a balmy sky? Some couples prefer other types of locations such as botanic gardens, bayside beaches,historic homesteads, reception centres, open fields on country properties (or in the machinery shed on a wet day), and sometimes under the gazebo in our own country garden. Other celebrants we know have performed wedding ceremonies in hot-air balloons, with near disastrous results on one famous occasion!

Civil Celebrants are appointed and registered by the Attorney-General’s Department of Australia. To be appointed, applicants are required to complete a specialised celebrancy study course, show that they are competent to design and carry out appropriate ceremonies, have had public speaking experience, and have a full knowledge of the applicable law.

In the case of weddings, in addition to performing the ceremony, the celebrant must ensure that the legally required one month notice is given by the couple, then take responsibility to see that the essential legal documents are properly completed and lodged with the Registrar after the ceremony. Anne gets great satisfaction from helping couples overcome any nervousness to have a really successful wedding day, with a specially chosen ceremony designed to meet their personal requirements, conducted in a spirit of happiness and enjoyment for all present.

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Peter Cowden
'The Celebrant’s Roadie'

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