I’ve had the absolute pleasure to sit down with Broome Marriage Celebrant Elle Saunders to find out why she loves her job so much and her tips on how to have a relaxed wedding ceremony in Broome.
I’ve seen your work and you’re hands down one of the best Broome marriage celebrants I’ve worked with. What made you decide to do this for a job?
I have always loved the wedding industry and the vibe that surrounds it. I have been to many weddings and witnessed many ceremonies and it would always frustrate me how everyone would wish away the ceremony so that they could get to the party. Yet when we think about it, the party would not exist without first making a marriage. I have a love for public speaking and when I am passionate about something it shines through. So, the time came when I thought to myself, stop being the person on the sidelines always saying ‘if I was a celebrant I would do this or I would do that’. Instead be that person creating those epic moments for couples, celebrating one of the most beautiful gifts life gives us….LOVE. Seeing people happy makes me happy and how cool is it to have a job that constantly surrounds me with happy and love filled vibes.
What does being a celebrant mean to you?
Being a love hustler is what drives me. Helping humans to create, share and celebrate something pretty damn special, a connection with someone like no other who is right there by their side loving them for who they are. I love marrying amazing people from all walks of life, creating moments for them no matter how big or small that they can look back on and say wow, that was totally us – that was a true and real celebration of our love.
It is such a privilege to be invited into couples journeys and be part of a moment that is so special and so unique to them so every time I am out there surrounded by lovers, I bring all the love, laughter and happiness I can possible wrangle out of my short stature and inject it into these moments, simply… because I can, because I want to and lastly because life is more beautiful when there is love in it.
How do you recommend couples choose their celebrant?
I always say to the couples I meet with, you need to make sure that you click with all your vendors. These are people you need to trust, know that they get you, your vibe and then let them do what they do best. We are all different and click differently, so you need to feel comfortable with your celebrant because you are going to spend a lot of time with this person. On the day, when we all get a little nervous and emotions are pumping it’s a load off your shoulders to know that the person standing there with you is someone who will bring some calm, make you smile and remind you of the bigger picture – that you are marrying your favourite human and everything that follows from this moment is so worth it. We are so lucky to have so many amazing celebrants in Broome. each with their own unique ways so do some insta stalking. Just pick up that phone and say hi! If they give you all the right feels then lock them in and don’t look back.
What are the legal requirements for a civil ceremony?
Prior to the Wedding Day the following needs to happen:
Give your celebrant one month’s notice via the form Notice of Intended Marriage, also known as NOIM
Prove your identity to your celebrant, and if you’ve been married before, prove that your prior marriage has ended
On the day, the following legalities are required:
- The Celebrant must identify both themselves and the couple, stating what marriage is legally in Australia by quoting the Monitum, which now reflects the union between two people.
- The couple have to say the legal vows required following the Monitum.
- Two or more witnesses need to witness the whole event
- With two witnesses over the age of 18, three required marriage certificates are to be signed, one going to the state government to register the marriage, one stays with the celebrant and one goes to the couple.
Other than that, your ceremony is whatever you want it to be, you can make it as personal and unique as you want.
How long in advance should couples be looking to book a celebrant for their Broome wedding?
If you are planning to have a larger wedding in our peak season (April – Sept) then you may want to look at 8-12 months in advance as accommodation and all your key vendors could be booked. I seem to marry couples all through the week as well as weekends but the thing with Broome is that as a celebrant we are only able to marry one couple on one day as everyone wants to get married at sunset or just before.
If you are looking at a wet season wedding between Oct-March you’re probably fine to lock things in 6 months or less. The key is to remember that to legally get married in Australia you must lodge a ‘Notice of Intended Marriage’ (NOIM) to marry with a celebrant no later than one month out from your wedding date. I get so many couples contact me, saying they want to elope and are planning a trip to Broome a few weeks out and unfortunately, I am unable to make this happen because without the lodging of the NOIM a month prior I am not legally allowed to marry the couple.
What is your advice for couples from overseas who are wanting to get married in you Broome?
Find the right vendors, look into getting a wedding coordinator like Kristina from Broome Vintage Hire, Lauren from Broome Sunsets Hire or Ash from A Plus Events. These ladies can take the stress away when it comes to trying to plan everything from a-far and not knowing where to start. They can take care of permits, organise all your key vendors who suit your taste and vibe so that all you have to do is fly in, relax and enjoy the whole process. No matter if you are from overseas or a local, the legal requirements to marry in Australia are the same and your celebrant will make sure they take you through the whole process, complete all necessary paperwork and make it 100% official.
What can couples do to make their wedding really special?
Enjoy it, have fun with it! The ceremony can look and be however you imagine it to be. Legally we have certain things to make sure happen on the day but everything else can be completely unique. Make your ceremony a celebration of your unique love. If you want to bust out some tunes and rap your vows then do it, if you want everyone to stand in a circle for your ceremony then do that. There are no rules and there is no tradition. Tradition is only what we perceive as being the must do’s and don’t. Lastly, remember everyone loves to have an opinion on what you should or shouldn’t do – that’s fine – but they have either had their moment or are yet to have their moment so they did or can do what they want to when it’s their turn. This is your moment and the only two people you need to please is YOU as a couple.
Tell me about a fave wedding moment.
Gosh, there are so many, but one of my absolute favourite ceremony moments would have to be from Viv and Matt’s Reddell Beach wedding. I still remember the arrival of the bride’s soul sisters, how they walked towards us on that sunny afternoon with Viv and her son right behind them. In that moment I felt like I was reliving that scene from ‘Sex and the City’, where the girls are walking through the sand dunes all glammed up and just oozzzing babeness (that’s not even a word, haha). Basically just totally owning it as women, proud and free.
The other part of this ceremony that will always hold a special place in my heart was the ‘Circle of Love’ ritual, that I created with Viv and Matt. The couple are both very spiritual people and so I felt it was important to include something that truly represented them. With the help of the soul sisters we built a circle of love around Viv & Matt which included sage, crystals, rose petals, eucalyptus leaves plus so much more. Honestly this moment was so beautiful and special, totally unique and simply magical.