Hopefully one day, we will be able to get married in our own country. But for now, let's stick to hoping, but flying abroad to marry the woman of our dreams.
Let me start of by sharing the most important step: "RESEARCH"
Know your facts.
Know what is required.
Each country has their own regulations for foreigners to get married.
I had the privilege of getting married in Australia (Pre-Covid), let me share them with you.
1. Find a Celebrant. Who is a Celebrant? Like in Singapore - a Marriage Registrar marries you. Abroad, they are called Celebrants. What is different abroad is that, there are many celebrants, that do this as a hobby of theirs. Outside of their Full-time jobs (free-lancers), they are certified to marry couples. Mine in particular, I found her via Instagram and it was the best decision we made. She was the sweetest person, and I was so blessed that she was our Celebrant. Celebrant: Leah Appleby (@married_by_leah) She talked us through the whole process of what is needed from us, and what we had to do. We had so many FaceTime sessions, and we trusted her fully. Ps. We were her first oversea clients - and the wedding went smoothly. Her charges were between 500AUD-800AUD and a deposit of 100AUD to secure her booking.
2. What do you need to need apply for a wedding? Paperworks will be sent in by the celebrant, so do have your dates ready! Paperwork can be filled 18 months out from the wedding date but it must be completed no later than 31 days before the wedding date. You will need to submit a copy of your passports, birth certificates and driver’s licenses. You will have to fill up 3 forms. a. Declaration of no legal impediment to marriage b. Declaration of no-legal impediment to marriage and Official certificate of marriage c. Notice of intended marriage (this is an important document - it will be shared more in the next point)
3. Australian High Commission, Singapore This is a crucial step - you NEED to book and appointment with a Notarial Officer to witness in Singapore for signing as a witness to both parties agreeing to marry each other.
You will have make and appointment to go down to their office with your partner and the forms, already filled up. The Notarial Officer would ask you a few basic questions, you just have to answer them - the visit only lasted 5 minutes! They will sign the Notice of Intended Marriage - and you are one step closer to getting married!
Remember to bring your passports, birth certificates and driver’s licenses
Next step, is to really have fun planning the wedding!
I know it is hard being abroad, and looking for a Venue in Australia. My Celebrant, Leah helped me heaps - and gave me us a few suggestions too.
But let me introduce to you, Google. It's going to help you.
Consider the following when booking a venue: a. Convenience for your guests (especially if they are flying down to Australia - they may not be able to navigate around easily.)
b. Food - What's on the menu! (If you have Muslim friends joining)
c. How flexible are they? What do they provide?
e. Photography areas
PS. always get them to send you pictures and videos of the venue.
As for my Wedding, we found a perfect place that fit our theme, and whats better is that the ceremony and reception is in the same place itself!
Location: Old Government House, Parramatta
5. Photographer & Videographer
What is more important than capturing your wedding day?
I wanted the best - I wanted unforgettable. I wanted someone who captures the essence of the wedding. And they did!
Photographer: @tanyavolt.wedding (Tanya)
She was one of the best photographers I have ever met. She was so sweet and reassuring.
She flew down from Melbourne just to capture our moment.
Our wedding pictures was featured on @hellomaymagazine.
I found Tanya via Instagram as well.
Videographer: @foreground.creative (Ook)
Ook was one of the most talented videographers I've met. We were his first same-sex couple client. Days before our wedding he met us up for coffee & churros - and planned the whole wedding! He was the person that suggested to us that we should do a first look ceremony (my partner and I initially wanted to walk down the aisle together), but we were so glad that we took his suggestion. I walked down the aisle first! Obviously I cried when I saw her walking to me.
I found him on this site called: OneFlare - this is a site dedicated to weddings where you can find different vendors.
Always look at their portfolios - and have a chat with them before picking them.
Florist - We wanted flowers, we wanted rustic. So we found Frida!
We found Frida via OneFlare as well - she's such a beautiful and amazing person to work with. She actually gifted me and my partner our hand bouquet for free. And added fresh flowers on our cake!
DIY - And the other decorations were bought from @Shoppe, @Aliexpress, @Wish and of course @Ikea! Guys, please please please read the description and expecting time of delivery. And order 1 in advance, to check if it's of the quality!
Trouble is that we had to bring all these in our luggage. Thank god for our friends that were flying with us!
7. Make Up Artist
One of the most important person on your wedding day.
I found Sally - when I was looking through Ook's (my videographers) portfolio.
He tagged her as the make up artist, and I loved her work!
She was so so accommodating and sweet.
Make up artist: @sally_studio (sally)
8. Wedding Dress/ Pant Suits.
Please do get all this sorted out at least 6 months before the wedding and buy it where you are at. Get it tailored/ Adjusted to your size - a month before your wedding (if you are planning on a diet just before your wedding).
I got my dress customised with @themaybridalcollective.
I bought my own fabric, designed my dress - and she made it reality!
I got my pant suit from @G2000
9. Other Tips.
a. Finalise your ceremony script with your celebrant
b. Fly to Australia and meet all your vendors and do a site visit of your wedding venue
c. Definitely send out your wedding invitations months ahead to your guests - give them sufficient time to plan out their leaves, as well as time for them to save up!
d. Information - give your guests sufficient information - remember, they are tourist in the country, and giving them options like transport and hotel places near to your wedding venue would be a plus!
e. Plan, plan, plan!
I hope this article gives you a better understanding on the processes - as well as some tips for you to plan your wedding!
PS. everyone I met in Australia were so Queer Friendly - you would be treated like any other heterosexual couple.
This is what I love about Australia.
If you have more questions about the processes - reach out to me via IG (@rachael_se)