Types of Commitment Ceremonies

I offer you a fresh approach to ceremonies, the benefit of my in-depth analysis of all aspects of the traditional "wedding" ceremony, and unique inclusions not offered by any other celebrant, taking full advantage of the enormous amount of flexibility possible in how your ceremony is structured and what elements are included.  Some of the possibilities will be influenced by the type of ceremony you choose.

I create each ceremony for a particular and unique couple - you. In that process I use skills developed over the creation of hundreds of very individual ceremonies, together with extensive knowledge of all the traditional, historical and cultural elements that can be incorporated in your ceremony and I fuse these with who you are here and now, so that your commitment ceremony speaks to your hearts and to the hearts of everyone present

Your choices, wishes, ideas and vision all inform the design of your ceremony and the level of formality. Within the ceremony package you choose there are many possibilities.

While it is not a legal ceremony, a commitment ceremony is nonetheless a wedding. Wedding traditions comprise many and varied customs. These are merely the reflection of the history of the people and cultures concerned. They can therefore be creatively tailored to suit your own circumstances and situation.
There is no right and wrong beyond doing what comes from the heart and is authentic to you.

You may choose to have a traditional ceremony, or you may choose to have a particular type of ceremony or to incorporate elements from a range of types of weddings in yours.  You may choose to have a secular ceremony, as do most Australians who choose to be married by a civil celebrant.  Or you may choose to have a ceremony that reflects your own spirituality. This may be something as simple as acknowledging connection to the land, perhaps through a formal acknowledgement of the traditional owners, or it may be something more personal.

As a secular humanist civil celebrant I do not include religious references in your ceremony unless you specifically ask me to do so, so you won't be blind-sided on the day by religious content you were not expecting.  If you wish, your ceremony can be spiritual in nature, evoking a sense of the sacred without resorting to religion.

Backyard Commitment Ceremony

A backyard  can be a casual setting for a casual ceremony, or it can be as elegant and sophisticated as you wish - it all depends on the backyard and your vision for your ceremony. For a couple who want a simple no-fuss ceremony the backyard or deck can be the ideal solution.

Bilingual Ceremony

You may choose to celebrate your union using one or more languages other than English. This can be something as simple as a reading in the language of the one of the partner's heritage, the partners speaking from the heart to their parents, or a fully bilingual ceremony in which the various parts of the ceremony are repeated in the second language, or translated. If both of you speak English, but some of the guests do not, an interpreter can be used.

Buddhist Ceremony

There is no specific Buddhist wedding liturgy. Wedding customs differ from country to country and the type of Buddhism practiced. The conscious intention brought to the ceremony by the bride and groom is of primary importance and can be enhanced by the choice of rituals. The vows can express Buddhist principles and the Five Precepts, which offer a framework for a successful marriage. The Four Blessings can also be included in the ceremony. Talk to me about incorporating specific customs.

Celtic Ceremony

Celtic ceremonies incorporate pre-Christian elements. A Celtic commitment ceremony can be specific to your heritage, incorporating Irish, Scottish, Welsh, or Cornish customs. Common inclusions are handfasting, the four elements of air, water, earth, and fire, and jumping the broom.

Chapel Ceremony

If your vision for your special day is a traditional ceremony you might choose to hold your ceremony in one of the commercial wedding chapels available in south-east Queensland. While a few chapels are purpose-built, the majority are small de-consecrated churches with traditional 19th century architecture, wooden pews, a central aisle and an altar on a raised dais.  A chapel ceremony will include a formal processional and a formal recessional and may also include formal seating of the parents just before the wedding starts. As an indoor venue a chapel ceremony affords opportunities to include rituals such as the Unity Candle.

Child-inclusive Ceremonies

Whether you are a couple with children, a couple whose marriage will form a blended family, or proud grandparents who want to include the grandchildren in their ceremony, a child-inclusive wedding will enhance the joyfulness of the day.  Including children in your ceremony can greatly enhance the meaning of your ceremony and strengthen relationships with the children.  More about child-inclusive ceremonies

Cultural Ceremonies

Your commitment ceremony can reflect the traditions of a particular culture. Incorporating traditions from your heritage can add immensely to the ceremony. This might be something as simple as sharing wine in the Chinese tradition, tying your garments together and taking the seven steps in the Hindu tradition, or being crowned in the Orthodox tradition, or the ceremony can follow closely the traditions of wedding ceremonies in your culture.

Earth-Friendly (Green) Commitment Ceremonies

An earth-friendly or eco-friendly commitment is all about the choices you make to ensure that start your life together without damaging the environment or contributing to global warming.  Making socially conscious choices  can save you money too.  You could choose a local ceremony site, such as a park or garden, that is complete in itself, thus minimising carbon emissions and have the ceremony and the reception at the same place or in easy walking distance from each other. You also can express your commitment to the environment in the wording of the ceremony, by choosing recycled rings (perhaps purchased as estate items or passed on down your family), and by skipping the ceremony program.

Fusion Ceremonies

As the world grows smaller, fusion or multicultural g ceremonies are becoming more popular. A fusion ceremony includes elements from multiple cultures in a sensitive and mindful fashion that avoids appropriating rituals that have no meaning to those attending the ceremony. As your celebrant I will work with you to find the commonality in various cultural customs, traditions, rituals and ceremony elements and draw those common elements together to create a holistic ceremony in a way is respectful and meaningful, and enjoyable for everyone.


Handfasting is a Celtic tradition going back to pre-Christian Pagan times. It involves the binding together of the couple's hands. This evolved from the handshake into the joining of all four hands crossed in the centre to create a sign of infinity. It can be used as an Engagement or Betrothal ceremony signalling intention, or incorporated as a ritual in any marriage ceremony before the vows to signify the couple's agreement to marry, or the whole ceremony can be based on modern interpretation of the ritual. A handfasting can also be used as part of a commitment ceremony or a renewal of vows. It adds  a spiritual aspect to the ceremony outside of specific religious tradition. In a Celtic wedding the colours of the ribbon or cords have individual significance.

Hawaiian Ceremonies

With its sub-tropical climate Brisbane is the perfect place to have a Hawaiian style ceremony - on the beach or beside a swimming pool in which frangipani or orchids are floating.  Leis, flowers for the women, fragrant and green leaves for the men and a sand ceremony are features of a Hawaiian wedding, as is casual (and colourful) clothing.

Humanist Civil Partnership and Commitment Ceremonies

In the very deepest sense all weddings and commitment ceremonies are humanist expressions of the intentions of two people to enter a covenantal relationship based on mutual respect and mutual love. A Humanist ceremony celebrates human values and natural human spirituality based on a human sense of integrity without reference to any supreme being, but it is not anti-religion. It includes meaningful secular or non-religious content with a very personal focus, which makes the ceremony relaxed and comfortable and allows for light-hearted moments as well as solemn and serious ones. Because it is an inclusive ceremony, emphasising those things that are common to humanity, whatever the beliefs of your guests might be no-one present will feel excluded.

Inter-Cultural Commitment Ceremonies

Where a couple comes from two different cultural or religious backgrounds both can be celebrated and incorporated. With careful planning the traditions and customs of both cultures can be seamlessly integrated to create a meaningful and thrilling experience forging a powerful bond that will resonate ever after in the lives of the couple and their families. In other words, I ensure that we work through the ways your different  traditions might interact with one another, emphasising the concept of unity. I've performed numbers of ceremonies celebrating various combinations of Australian, English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, American, French, German, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, African, Jewish, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Maori, Pacific Islander, Hindu and Muslim heritage, to name just a few. The ceremony can be entirely secular, spiritual or include elements of the religious traditions of either or both families.

Irish Commitment Ceremonies

An Irish ceremony incorporates Irish customs and symbols. Common symbols are the shamrock, the Celtic cross, the Tara brooch, Claddagh rings. The ceremony might include Irish music played by fiddlers and/or pipers, traditionally worded Irish blessings, special coins, an oathing stone, and the Celtic loving cup.

Jewish Commitment Ceremonies

Where one or both of you is Jewish  your ceremony can honour and incorporate Jewish traditions, using the Hebrew language in relevant parts if you wish. Whether you want to put the Oy Vey into your wedding ceremony, or take it out of it, I can accommodate your needs!

Mediaeval Commitment Ceremonies

A Mediaeval themed ceremony revolves round that particular historical period. While sourcing appropriate clothing is relatively easy, finding a suitable location can be more difficult. You may have to resort to using decorations and props to create a mediaeval ambience. Careful choice of music  and musicians is important. The ceremony will be formal, using language reminiscent of the time.

Pet-inclusive Weddings

Your pets are an important part of your family. Including them in your ceremony can add an element of fun and playfulness to your ceremony.

Scottish Civil Partnership and Commitment Ceremonies (also referred to as Tartan Weddings)

Celebrating your Scottish heritage in your ceremony can be both romantic and soul-stirring, a feast for the eyes (the tartan) and the ears (the skirl of the bagpipes).  Wonderful traditions that celebrate your heritage include a piper leading the processional and recessional, touches of tartan and heather and thistles in bouquets,   the use of a quaich, handfasting, jumping the besom, and suitable readings in Scots dialect or from Scottish authors.  I wear  a sash in my clan tartan or the more generic Flower of Scotland tartan with an elegant black outfit. You can go all the way with full Scottish attire and I can enhance that by creating a ceremony that is traditional in all aspects, we can incorporate selected elements of the traditional Scottish wedding in the ceremony, or we can take a subtle approach to referencing your heritage. It's up to you.
more information about Scottish Tartan Ceremonies ...

Spiritual Commitment Ceremonies

A spiritual ceremony is rich in symbolism and tradition, evoking a sacred or divine feeling within the context of the marriage ceremony. Because spirituality is based on individual experience what it means is highly personal to you. Your spiritual ceremony may therefore express a universal understanding,  incorporate your personal earth-centred spiritual beliefs or be a non-denominational ceremony with non-specific references to the divine. Inspiring and beautiful readings that are universal and not necessarily connected with any particular religion can be included.

Themed Commitment Ceremonies

A theme adds originality and excitement to your ceremony and are a hot trend at the moment. While all commitment ceremonies are, in a sense thematic because the theme is the commitment, adding a unique subject matter will tie it together. A themed ceremony can add flair, originality, fun and excitement to your special day, and will actively involve your guests in creating the atmosphere. You can use a theme to link to your romantic history as a couple.  Your venue may suggest the theme, for example a wine theme for a wedding held in a vineyard, or you may draw inspiration from the date, a historical period, personal interests, hobbies, favourite movies, novels, even a storybook fantasy, a particular culture or your honeymoon destination, anything that you feel will stamp your ceremony with your combined personality as a new couple.

True-Blue Aussie Commitment Ceremonies

Koalas or kangaroos at your ceremony, didgeridoo music or bush ballads, bush poetry, an outdoor setting surrounded by gum trees or rainforest, and a laid-back ceremony. Any or all of these ingredients can make for a very memorable occasion.