Robin Austin, Civil Celebrant

Personalised ceremonies

The Ceremony

While most of my work is weddings I can craft an individual ceremony for any occasion, such as naming, renewal of vows, commitment. Let me know what you would like and we can discuss it.

What I have given below is the basic structure of a typical wedding ceremony.

A marriage is the only ceremony for which there are a few legal requirements. But even so the small number words that have to be included in the ceremony to make it a legal marriage take less than two minutes. The rest of it is what you want. Of course, most ceremonies do follow a fairly standard format but the words of each ceremony I conduct are unique.

Typically, a ceremony will include:

Prior to the bride arriving

Any 'housekeeping' announcements, such as turning off mobile phones, taking photos, posting on social media (or not).

An introduction

This is usually by the celebrant. I introduce myself and welcome people on your behalf, although a family member or friend can welcome people if you wish.

Your personal story

Everyone likes a story and I like to include something about how you met and why you decided to get married. It's also an opportunity for an entertaining story to make everyone (including the two of you!) feel at ease.

Something about love and marriage

I believe a wedding ceremony should be meaningful (to you and your guests) as well as enjoyable and celebratory. All three help to make it memorable. So I normally say a few words (that you are happy with of course) about what love is and what it means to make a commitment to marry someone. As well as words I write myself, there are lots of well known poems and prose readings that people include, which convey what is in their hearts better than they could ever express themselves. I invite all my couples to choose a reading or two that really mean something to them. These readings can be included anywhere in the ceremony, and can be read by anyone you choose.

What is called 'The Asking'

Here I have to ask you both if you want to marry the other person. This is where you say 'I do' or 'I will'.

I say something like:

'[Your name] will you take [your partner's name] to be your lawful wedded wife/husband. Will you love and respect her/him, always be honest with her/him, and stand by her/him whatever may happen, so that you can truly share your life together?'

The Vows

This is where you both get to speak, where you say something, starting with:

'I call upon the people here to witness that I [your name] take you [your partner's name],
to be my lawful wedded wife/husband.'
You can then personalise it as you want. It could be something like:

'I choose you above all others to share my life with me in marriage. I want to be with you always, I love you for yourself, I accept you just as you are and I will do all I can to help you become all that you can be. I promise to honour this pledge for as long as I live.'

This is where you say what you want to your partner, and make whatever promises you want. It's very powerful when you say it to them in front of your family and friends!


I declare you to be married.







Signing of certificates

You, your two witnesses and I then sign three marriage certificates. This is a great opportunity for your guests to take photos if they wish.

You may want to have some recorded or live music while the signing takes place to keep people entertained while all the signing is happening and you are posing for photos with a pen in your hand.


I have a wide selection I can show you, but you can also find endless readings simply by Googling something like 'readings for wedding ceremonies'. They can be traditional or modern, verse or prose, serious or amusing, whatever you like, as long as they speak to you.

In addition . . .

Ring ceremony

Rings are often exchanged during the vows, but you can also exchange them as part of a separate 'ring ceremony after the vows, when I say something about meaning of the wedding ring.

Who do you want as part of the ceremony?

Standing with you at the front

Normally both bride and groom have one or two special friends with them, on the bride's side the bridesmaids and maybe a matron of honour, and on the groom's side the best man and groomsmen. Who and how many is up to you.


You can have a friend or family member read something out, or speak from the heart about how wonderful you are and how delighted they are to see you both getting married.
​Some brides still like to have their father give them away.
Some couples like to have parents, or the whole gathering, declare their support (usually simply as a 'We do' in response to a question from the celebrant.


If either of you have any children from a previous relationship , or your current one, it can be lovely to include them somewhere to make them feel special and part of this new relationship you are entering. I can suggest ways to do this. What if anything you do here depends on the child(ren)'s age, of course.

Any music

People often have music for the bride's entrance (Processional) and for when the bride and groom leave (Recessional).

Music, recorded or live, can also be added wherever you like.

I have a list of music that is popular for weddings, but it should be something you really like.

Special rituals

A wedding ceremony is a ritual in itself, but some people like to include mini rituals within it, such as a sand ceremony, sharing of wine, unity bowl, candle lighting (unity candle), warming of the rings, rose ceremony, release of doves/butterflies, handfasting, stone ceremony, coin ceremony, and more.

I am happy to explain or discuss any that you may be interested in.

'The day was very lovely, blessed with amazing weather, beautiful people, and the perfect‐est celebrant.

You were Wonderful, thank you so much ‐ and you really helped us hold it together, before and during the ceremony!!'

Diana & Brad​