contact Cara

Please use the form to contact me or you can email me on cara@modernloveceremonies.com.au and phone on 0421 077 663.

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Byron Bay
Australia

0421 077 663

Cara Gallagher is a Byron Bay Wedding Celebrant. Modern, unique and fun wedding ceremonies delivered with style.

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Real weddings, ceremony tips and local insight about venues and outdoor spaces from Byron Bay marriage celebrant, Cara Gallagher, of Modern Love Ceremonies.

Can I Get a Witness? 7 things to consider when signing the marriage register.

Cara Gallagher

byron bay celebrant signing table

1. Breathe
This will most likely be the first moment you haven't been slightly overwhelmed and emotional since you laid eyes on each other in the ceremony space.
Take a deep breath, squeeze each others hand and get ready to sign on that dotted line. Shit just got real.

Photo: James Simmons

2. Which Witness
Legally, you need to pick two witnesses who are 18 or older.
Traditionally, the role has been given to the chief bridesmaid and the best man, but you can pick whoever you want.
Mums often don't get an official role at weddings these days, so it can be nice to ask both of your mothers to witness. Dads would probably love to get a chance to sign as well.
It's also a great way to include a friend or relative who you are really close to, who didn't make the cut to be a part of the bridal party.

Sally and Blake had their grandmothers witness their marriage certificates. Photo: Camilla Kirk

Sally and Blake had their grandmothers witness their marriage certificates.
Photo: Camilla Kirk

3. Don't Cross Your Guests
Whatever you do, don't set the signing table up on the other side of your guests. 
The signing is meant to happen as a part of the ceremony, and if you have to walk past your guests to sign the register and certificates, they will all want to hug and kiss you, and it's hard to get the official signing done.
Set the table up close to the ceremony space, off to one side, behind the ceremony space, or bring a table in to sign under your arbour, if you have one.
Save the congratulations for the end when you can give it your full attention.

The signing table set up at Byron Plantation - as the guests were going to stand either side of the pool, the signing table was set quite close to the ceremony space. Photo: Lara and Susie

The signing table set up at Byron Plantation - as the guests were going to stand either side of the pool, the signing table was set quite close to the ceremony space. Photo: Lara and Susie

4. Sign Your Own Name
If you are planning on changing your name, this happens well after the ceremony, once you've received the official certificate in the mail, at least 2 weeks after the wedding.
You must sign the marriage register and certificates with your maiden name.

Jaemi signed her own name like a boss. Photo: James Simmons

Jaemi signed her own name like a boss. Photo: James Simmons

5. Signing Table Styling
This is totally up to you.
Flowers are awesome, but if you have a small table, think about making a low arrangement so you can still be seen. Also, if you are having a bouquet, you may want to rest that on the table.
If it's windy, don't put any water in the little vase, if it falls over, it's going to get the table wet.
Pens! 
I see pens getting a lot of talk time on celebrant forums, but I don't really have an opinion one way or another about pens - they just need to work!
I will provide you with a lovely silver Parker pen with a gel ink cartridge which is just a joy to sign with, but if you want something more festive, bring it along - just make sure it works.
Our celebrant had a big white feather pen, which my husband hated, but I didn't even notice it on the day.

Amy and Harvey eloped at Little Wategos and signed on a rock. Photo from Donatella Parisini. 

Amy and Harvey eloped at Little Wategos and signed on a rock. Photo from Donatella Parisini. 

6. Music
You have to have music. Whether you have a live musician or are playing music from a playlist, consider what song you want playing during the signing. People will be milling around, taking pictures of you, and it will be super awkward if there is silence. The last wedding I was at they played Signed, Sealed, Delivered. 

Most wedding singers will learn one or two songs at your request for your ceremony. Stephanie Grace is one of those. And local wedding singer, Ineka, will definitely learn some songs as a part of her package.

Most wedding singers will learn one or two songs at your request for your ceremony.
Stephanie Grace is one of those. And local wedding singer, Ineka, will definitely learn some songs as a part of her package.

7. Take a Seat
It's totally ok to sign standing up, or leaning on a rock, but if you have a signing table and chairs, take a seat.
Especially if you are a woman wearing a low cut dress or top. 
EVERYONE is taking photos at this time.
My sister and I learnt this lesson the hard (read : funny) way at my wedding, because Phil and I didn't think to get up for her to sign sitting down.
I did try to protect her modesty, but probably just ended up drawing attention to it.