Tracey Matthies - Unique ‚ÄčLife Ceremonies

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Welcome and an introduction

Posted on March 15, 2016 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (5966)

Hello and welcome!

I'm Tracey Matthies, authorised marriage celebrant and owner at Unique Life Ceremonies. 

In this, my first blog post, you'll get to know me a little, including why I became a celebrant, and you'll also pick up at least one key tip for choosing a celebrant for your big day. 

I toyed with the idea of becoming a celebrant for at least 10 years before completing the course and applying to the Attorney General's Department for authorisation. I believe in the institution of marriage (for everyone) and I believe that family is important to our society. I also think that ceremony is essential to mark significant moments in our lives, and marriage is certainly a significant moment!

But most importantly, I feel that I have enough life experience to add value to your wedding day because I am a wife (more than 30 years' experience!), mother (almost 30 years' experience), grandma, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece etc, etc.

As a former journalist who worked in both radio and print, I am also an experienced presenter, interviewer and writer, which all helps me to capture and share your love story.

The best part of being an authorised marriage celebrant is that I get to work with people who are in love and at the happiest time of their life!

When I'm not being a celebrant, I manage a small business that does market research for audiologists, I go rock and roll dancing, cycling and geocaching (Google that one!) with my husband, and I give back to my community through my involvement with the Lions Club of Trafalgar and Gippy Rocks.

OK, this is the key tip I promised you for choosing your authorised marriage celebrant.

I may not be the celebrant for you.

Surely, I suspect you're asking yourself right now, I want you to choose me as your celebrant. After all, you're on my website, you're reading my blog. 

Well, yes, I do hope that you will choose me as your celebrant. Hopefully we're creating a connection right here before we even meet.

However, I'm realistic enough to accept that my style will not suit everyone. I can be formal, relaxed, traditional, light-hearted, and I can even crack an acceptable joke or two. But I can't sing (out of the shower), and I am a woman of a certain vintage. You may feel more comfortable with a male celebrant, or with a much younger or older celebrant.

And that's OK.

The most important thing is that you choose a celebrant who you click with because it's that connection that will enable me to create the ceremony of your dreams. Don't be afraid to interview several celebrants until you find the right one.

Please leave a comment.

It's not romantic, but it's important

Posted on March 15, 2016 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (293)

This is probably the most unromantic blog that I could write but it’s a topic that is quite simply too important to be ignored.

Have you seen those WorkSafe advertisements about safety in the workplace?

Well, guess what?

On your wedding day, your wedding ceremony is MY workplace and that makes me responsible for the safety and wellbeing of everyone there, including you and your soon-to-be (or maybe newly-wed) spouse, myself, your wedding party and your guests.

While you’re looking stunningly beautiful, I’m looking out for anything that could go wrong. From children or animals behaving unpredictably, tripping hazards for your bridal procession or your guests, to frayed power cords, seating for those who need it most, and moving vehicles, I need to try and spot a hazard before it becomes a danger.

And that’s why I’ll ask you about Plan B in case it’s raining or in the middle of a heatwave for your outdoor wedding. I’m not just being practical; I’m taking my OHS responsibilities seriously.

When I suggest, for a hot day, that you position your bridal party under the shade of the trees or provide pretty parasols for us all to stand under, it’s because I’ve conducted a risk assessment and identified sunburn and heatstroke as potential hazards. It’s why I’ve suggested that you make sure there is plenty of cold water and maybe handheld paper fans available for your guests.

I am first-aid certified and that means that I have a legal responsibility to provide first aid should something occur while I’m working at your ceremony. That should give you peace of mind. If Nan faints or your pageboy nephew trips and rolls his ankle, then I’ll stop the ceremony and take care of the patient. Hopefully I can make them safe and comfortable and we can finish your ceremony.

The good news – I may be responsible for OHS at your wedding but I won’t have to wear a hi-viz vest (and that’s as much a relief for me as it is for you)!

 Image courtesy of Stock Images at

Nine things your celebrant wishes you knew (it's nothing personal)

Posted on March 2, 2016 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (589)

Whether you are getting married for the first, second or even fifth time, there are certain things your celebrant (hopefully that's me!), wishes that you knew.  So, here are nine things that your celebrant wishes you knew. 

1. Celebrants love weddings, we love love and we love working with people in love on the happiest day of their lives. I guess you could say we are just romantics who have found the ideal way to get a regular dose of love in our lives.

2. Without an authorised marriage celebrant, your big day is just a party. You CAN get married without the pretty dress, flowers, hair and make-up, vintage cars and professional photographers (I’m not suggesting that you should give up all of these lovely elements!). But you cannot get married without a celebrant. Just ask my Mum. She married the love of her life in the emergency department of the Dandenong Hospital without any of the above except me, her celebrant. They didn’t have the party but they did get married.

3. Most of us have other jobs, often full-time. We also have families and other interests (I love dancing, cycling and geocaching with my husband and spending time with our grandson). Sometimes that means we can’t answer your phone call or email immediately but we do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible, especially as it gets closer to your wedding day

4. We hate it when you ask for a price before anything else. Now, this isn’t intended to offend. We know that you are on a budget but was that the first question you asked your dressmaker, cake maker or photographer or did you ask to see examples of their work? Celebrants are trained, authorised professionals who put many unseen hours into your wedding day. For me, it’s typically 12 to 15 hours by the time we have had several meetings, completed the legalities, created, revised and completed your ceremony, conducted your rehearsal, responded to your texts, emails, phone calls and Facebook messages, actually married you, and then registered your marriage. (Quick, look back at point one, I love all of this stuff, but you may not have realised how much work we put into your special day). On top of that celebrants have business expenses – PA system, signing table and chairs, maintaining a home office and reliable car, annual registration with the Attorney General’s Department plus ongoing professional development (that’s compulsory to maintain our registration), purchasing legal forms and documents, marketing, and smart clothes to wear (okay, that last one is a side benefit of being celebrant, but it’s still an expense).

5. You don’t need a license to get married in Australia. That’s just the influence of American TV. The legalities of getting married in Australia are best explained face-to-face, but in a nutshell, you must both be over 18 years old (some exemptions apply), and legally free to marry. You must lodge a Notice of Intention to Marry form with your celebrant between one and 18 months before your big day (again, some exemptions apply), you must prove your identity to the satisfaction of your celebrant, you must sign a Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage, you must make legal vows in accordance with the Marriage Act 1961 and sign three copies of your marriage certificate. Your celebrant must also make a legal statement during your ceremony. So, you may have to show me your driver’s license as a part of proving your identity, but you don’t need a marriage license in Australia.

6. We have to follow the rules set down by the Attorney General’s Department (and the Marriage Act 1961) and the consequences of doing the dodgey on a date or similar are worse for us than for you so please don’t ask. Celebrants who falsify documents such as the date on your Notice of Intention to Marry form etc can be fined and have their authorization cancelled. I will not risk my career as a celebrant (refer to point one). If you ask, I will say no, and make a report to the authorities. Oh, and I will suggest that I am probably not the celebrant for you.

7. There’s no such thing as a dumb question, except the one that you don’t ask. I mean that. Look on your celebrant as your expert resource and don’t be afraid to ask the question. More than likely, we’ve heard it before and if not, then it has probably come up in our training or ongoing professional development. And if we don’t know the answer on the spot, we can always ask the Attorney General’s Department, Births, Deaths and Marriages, or our professional colleagues.

8. It truly is your day and we can do almost anything in your ceremony. I mean that. Apart from ensuring that all of the legal requirements are met, we can help you to get married however and wherever you want to in Australia (that’s cos our authorization is only for marriages in Australia). So, if you’ve got your heart set on a midnight ceremony in a hot air balloon hovering over your childhood house, then let’s get planning cos I love hot air ballooning. A bungee jumping ceremony – I might not be the celebrant for you!

9. We love it when you tell us how we did. It’s not just that it makes us feel good. Nor is it that your testimonial helps us to win new clients. It’s because we truly care about you and your day. We get anxious and nervous, just like you, but it’s our job to be the calm in the midst of your storm, so when you or your guests give us feedback, we feel just that bit better about the next wedding on our calendar.

What else do you wish you knew about marriage celebrants (refer point seven)? Go ahead and ask me by adding your comments.