Surprise Wedding

Top Tips for Organising a Successful Surprise Wedding

Like the idea of a Surprise Wedding for your Guests? Here are some top tips to make it everything you are imagining.

First and most importantly you will need to contact your celebrant to complete the NOIM. (Please see NOIM Blog for more details on completing the NOIM).

Then it’s time to start planning.

  1. Decide on what event you will use as a cover for your surprise wedding.
  2. Send out the invitations to this event, making sure you include a draw-card time. This will help to get your guests to your event on time.
  3. Make sure you discuss your surprise wedding ideas with all your wedding suppliers. Having everyone on the same page will help make for a successful surprise.
  4. You will require two witnesses to sign the legal documents. It’s always a good idea to give these people a heads up before the event.
  5. Arrange how you would like to have your Big Reveal. This can be great fun so talk to with your celebrant about different ideas.
  6. Just because it is a surprise doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate Traditional Elements. Discuss what you want to include with your celebrant and venue.

Surprise weddings are becoming more popular for many reasons but primarily because couples find them more fun, less stressful and less expensive than a traditional wedding.

A wedding no matter how it is acknowledged, is two people joining together in marriage.

So enjoy and celebrate it the way you want.

Tanya McDonald

COVID-Safety Regulations Update 4th January 2021

Update on NSW Government COVID-Safety Regulations Guidelines – 4th January 2021,

Given the risk of COVID-19 transmission on the Northern Beaches and across Greater Sydney (including Wollongong, Central Coast and Blue Mountains), the following adjustments are being made.

Numbers attending:

Weddings are limited to 1 person per 4sqm up to a maximum of 100 people. Information for Northern Beaches can be found at

There is no requirement to wear masks in an outdoor setting.
If a wedding occurs in a place of worship, as part of a religious service, all attendees will need to wear masks for that part of the ceremony.
In a hospitality venue, however (such as a restaurant, wine bar, pub or club) the requirement to wear masks is only for staff in customer-facing roles, such as waiters and bartenders. Patrons are not required to wear masks in these type of premises. Weddings will however also be required to comply with the social distancing restrictions of 1 person per 4sqm up to a maximum of 100 people.
If a wedding is performed at a private home, up to 5 visitors from any number of households may attend. The total number of visitors includes adults and children. (A member of the hosting household is not counted as a visitor.)

For further information, please refer to the update on restrictions released by the Premier on 2 January 2021 at

Some great news for couples having a wedding reception. Let’s hope that COVID stays under control and the numbers allowed to dance continue to increase.

Tanya McDonald

Music For Your Ceremony

A wedding ceremony typically requires three pieces of music. One to enter the ceremony, one when you sign the documents and one for when you exit the ceremony as a married couple.

Selecting the right music for your ceremony is a great way to give the moment a personal touch.

Selecting songs that have meaning to you and your relationship will help make each piece that much more special. It will also leave you and your guests with wonderful memories to take away from your wedding day.

Another great way of personalising your music is to have it played live. There are lots of options but some of the popular ones are String Quartets, Harpists, Pianists, Guitarists, Musicians and Ensembles, Classical / Opera Singers, Solo Singer and Acoustic groups.

We are really lucky in Central West NSW to have lots of talented local musicians, so you are sure to find a fit for what you are looking for.

Just remember it is your ceremony and should reflect you as a couple. So just select music that you like and don’t be persuaded to select a piece that is not you just because it is a “wedding” song.

Some of the talented local musicians in Central West NSW.

Smith and Jones
Smith & Jones, made up of keyboard player and vocalist Abby Smith, with guitarist and vocalist Sophie Jones, have never been ones to follow the pack. Though classified as alt-country, their goal has never been to remain within the confines of any genre, preferring to let their sound and their songs take them where they will.
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Gabbi Bolt
Gabbi is a classically trained pianist and contemporary performer with over a decade of experience. Her long awaited first EP, Grey into Blue, bonds her solid musical background with her natural talent for pop songwriting. Grey Into Blue brings to mind the sounds of Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Sara Bareilles and Adele, whilst retaining the humour, vocal clarity, and lyrical depth that is so uniquely Gabbi.
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Andy Nelson
Andy Nelson is a highly talented singer/songwriter who is developing an ever-expanding fan base across the Central West of NSW and beyond. Having only recently taken a long-held love of playing music beyond his family and friends to public venues, his acoustic mix of covers and originals have struck a chord with audiences.
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The Safety of Life at Sea
The Safety of Life at Sea is a band with a distinctly vintage vibe inspired by blues, soul and funk as well as the classic songwriters of the 60's and 70's - with groove. The rhythm section takes a leaf out of the books of Stax and Motown, and the piano went for a weekend in New Orleans and never came back.
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Momentum is fast becoming the perfect choice for weddings from the Central West to the coast. They can provide both acoustic, relaxed style music for ceremonies, cocktails & canapes AND the kind of floor-filling hits that your guests will dance to all night long!
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Amy Viola
An acclaimed classical violist, Amy has performed internationally as both a soloist and chamber musician. Her captivating, intricate performances blend musicianship, creativity and soaring melodies. Amy is quickly establishing herself amongst festivals and house concerts as a unique artist and songwriter who isn't afraid to explore the bittersweet and raw reality of life in her lyrics.
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Both are playing different instruments and different parts, but as long as you’re playing from the same sheet music, you can create something beautiful.

Notice Of Intended Marriage

The Notice Of Intended Marriage is the first legal document you will need to complete before your wedding ceremony.

In the Marriage Act 1961, it requires that a legal marriage shall not take place unless a notice in writing of the intended marriage, is given to the authorised celebrant solemnising the marriage at least one calendar month before the proposed marriage. This document is valid for 18 months from the time of presenting it to your celebrant until the proposed marriage date.

A copy of the NOIM can be printed from the button below.

Notice of Intended Marriage Legal requirements

          PRIVACY NOTES.

  • Section 42 of the Marriage Act 1961 (the Act) requires that a marriage shall not be solemnised unless a notice in writing of the intended marriage, in the prescribed form, is given to the authorised celebrant solemnising the marriage. This Notice is the prescribed form for this purpose.
  • The authorised celebrant to whom the Notice is given sends the Notice to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages of the State or Territory in which the marriage takes place, after the marriage ceremony. The Registrar uses the information in the Notice to register the marriage.
  • The Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages then sends the Notice to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (the ABS), which requests information about these matters under the Census and Statistics Act 1905. The ABS records non- identifying information from the Notice, including each party’s sex, and uses that information to generate national statistics on marriage and the family in Australia. Personal identifying information is not retained. NOTES
  1. 1  A party to an intended marriage who is unable, after reasonable inquiry, to state any information required in the Notice, should write “unknown” in the relevant space on the form. To make the Notice effective, the party must also give the authorised celebrant a statutory declaration stating that they are unable to state the information required
    in the Notice, and the reason for that inability. However, a statutory declaration is not necessary in relation to the
    information required under item 11, 12, 13 or 14 of the Notice, or the date of a previous marriage ceremony under item 16 of the Notice.
  2. 2  The marriage cannot be solemnised until after one calendar month from the date the authorised celebrant receives the Notice unless, under subsection 42(5) of the Act, a prescribed authority has authorised the marriage to be solemnised before that time has elapsed. Also, the marriage cannot be solemnised:
    1. (a)  if the authorised celebrant receives the Notice more than 18 months before the proposed marriage (see paragraph 42(1)(a) of the Act); and
    2. (b)  unless the authorised celebrant is satisfied that the parties to the proposed marriage are the parties referred to in the notice given under section 42 of the Act in relation to the marriage (see paragraph 42(8)(a) of the Act).
  3. 3  Section 104 of the Act makes it an offence for a person to give the Notice to an authorised celebrant or to sign it if, to that person’s knowledge, the Notice contains a false statement or an error or is defective.
  4. 4  If a party to an intended marriage cannot conveniently sign the Notice at the time it is intended to give notice of the intended marriage, the other party may sign the Notice and give it to the proposed authorised celebrant. However, in that case, the party who has not signed the Notice must sign it in the presence of that celebrant or another authorised celebrant before the marriage is solemnised.
  5. 5  Section 42 of the Act requires certain documents to be produced to the authorised celebrant before the marriage is solemnised, in particular:
    1. (a)  evidence of the date and place of birth of each party; and
    2. (b)  if a party has previously been legally married, evidence of a party’s divorce, or of the death of a party’s spouse.

    If a party has been divorced in Australia, the authorised celebrant should sight court evidence of the decree upon dissolution of marriage.

  6. 6  A party to an intended marriage who has not turned 18 (unless the party has previously been married), must obtain the necessary consents or dispensations required under the Act, and the authorised celebrant must sight those consents or dispensations before proceeding with the marriage. Also, a person under 18 years is not of marriageable age, and cannot be a party to a marriage, unless the person obtains an order from the court under section 12 of the Act.

COVID-19 and Your Ceremony

Building Forevers helping to create a safe environment at your ceremony for you and your guests.

The NSW Government COVID-Safety Current Regulations Guidelines – 24 July 2020.

The maximum number of people who may attend a wedding cannot be greater than 150 people subject to the 4 square metre rule and strict COVID-19 Safety plans must be in place and high-risk activities including choirs and dancing must not occur.

The 4 square metre rule helps to determine the maximum number of people who can be on the premises. It does not determine the distance between people.

People attending will be required to provide their name and contact details so that they can be used for contact tracing.

Physical distancing
Help reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection by avoiding close contact with people you do not live with.
Physical distancing means reducing the close physical contact we have with one another and staying 1.5 metres away from people we don’t live with.

Building Forevers is a COVID Safe business
I have completed the required steps and am a registered COVID Safe Business. This is my commitment to helping to keep your wedding guests safe.

My COVID-19 Safety Plan will now be included as a part of the preparations leading up to your ceremony.