Celebrating marriage equality in your ceremony

Uncomfortable about the ‘marriage is a union of a man and woman’ part of your ceremony? You’re not alone. But luckily Secret #56 in the book Sixty Secrets for a Happy Bride shares some ideas on how you can make sure your ceremony reflects you and your partner’s views.

Secret #56 – The monitum

The tide is turning in Australia, and I’m hopeful that this secret will soon become redundant and we can replace it with other joyous bridey wisdom.

Until then, one aspect of the ceremony that might cause a lot of discomfort for you and your partner is – for the time being, at least – the thing that’s non-negotiable for legal marriage ceremonies in Australia. The monitum: translated from Latin to the ‘warning’. Translated to Modern-Day-Aussie as the ‘outdated and discriminatory bit the celebrant must say during your ceremony’.


It goes like this:

Before you are joined in marriage in my presence, and in the presence of these witnesses, your family and friends, I must remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship that you are about to enter.

Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

If the ‘union of a man and a woman’ part leaves a sour taste in your mouth, or a fiery rage in your belly, unfortunately you can’t take it out, but there are ways to show your guests that you and your partner don’t share this view.

One option is to have a small civil service prior to the ‘big day’. That way all the legal stuff is dealt with and you can celebrate your union however the heck you like. But maybe before you choose this (as it will become an extra day to organise, an extra dress to buy etc.), chat to your celebrant and find out how they feel about marriage equality and if they’re happy for you to acknowledge your position in the legal marriage ceremony.

You could ask them to follow the monitum with something that acknowledges their legal obligation to say it, as well as your objection. Maybe something like:

Now this is the current law in Australia, but the couple are hopeful that this law will soon change.


Having read those formal words, the couple would like me to read a passage of their own, and acknowledge that they believe any loving relationship deserves to be recognised as equal under the law. – Paul Mackay, BuzzFeed

If you really want to make your point heard, have a sign out the front of the ceremony venue or find another fun way to show your objection.