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Everything you need to know about wishing well weddings!

Is having a wishing well wedding really that awkward?  With the increase of couples already living together or deciding to tie the knot at a later age, there’s less need for traditional wedding gifts or even a gift registry.

According to recent statistics, 60% of Australian weddings have a wishing well, indicating bridal couples already have everything they need. Rather than receiving something they already have or remain unused, requesting money from family, friends and wedding guests is becoming the social norm.

Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about wishing well weddings.

How other cultures do wishing well weddings:

While asking for money at weddings is becoming more of the trend in Australia, for many other countries and cultures, cash has always been a significant part of the celebrations.

In China for instance, a tea ceremony will be performed by the bride. She will serve tea to the groom’s family members in a specific order. Afterwards, each family member will in turn hand a red packet (Hongbao) containing money.

In Hispanic countries, guests can pin cash on the bride throughout the the evening of the reception.

In some cultures, couples will document what they received from guests and relatives. This will ensure they will give the same amount when it’s time for their guests’ (or their family member’s) own wedding.

In good taste:

Of course just because a wishing well is increasingly socially acceptable these days, there’s still an elegant, discreet approach when asking for cash at your wedding.

When sending out the invitations, you can include a separate card with a cute poem or sweet verse that explains your hopes for cash gifts. Regardless, it’s nice to leave the option for to those who’d still rather stick with traditional wedding gifts.

Here’s an example of what you can send in your card:

“If you were thinking of giving a gift to help us on our way.

A gift of cash towards our house would really make our day.

However, if you prefer a gift, feel free to surprise us in your own special way.”

An online wishing well:

Gift Card Registry avoids the awkwardness of cash wedding gifts and allows guests to congratulate you by contributing to an online wishing well.

The process is simple. Create  Gift Card Registry at giftcardregistry.com.au to set up your personal online registry. When the registry closes, Gift Card Registry will send you the total amount gift loaded onto a prepaid Mastercard that can be used anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted.

With a prepaid gift card, you can buy whatever you want and let guests know the special part they played in helping you start married life.

Spread the message:

The sooner family, friends and guests know, the better prepared and informed everyone will be on what to expect from a wishing well wedding.

The bridal party, immediate family and close friends can also inform other guests (especially if they’re too shy to ask) about a couple’s reasons and intentions in asking for cash gifts.

At a wedding reception, you will find the wishing well in a discreet spot. Guests will then slip their wedding card and cash in an envelope and into the decorative box. (Bird cages and mailboxes are also popular choices). Sometimes blank envelopes will be placed on the side for guests who made a quick last minute trip to a nearby ATM.

Money well worth spent:

For most couples, a wishing well is a special but also pragmatic way to start a new married life together. Telling your guests the financial goals or plans to how you’ll be using their cash gifts, is an intimate and courteous acknowledgement of thanks.

Couples can send a photo on how their financial contributions helped kickstart married life.

For some it may be a happy snap of their honeymoon, for others it may the first capture in front of their new home.

Putting a number on it:

Opinions often vary and differ when it comes to how much guests should give the couple. Some suggest contributing to the reception costs and feel that cost per head will be appropriate . However, this concept is has been considered a little outdated.

There are those who believe that depending how close they are to either the bride or groom, should determine how much to contribute.

Ultimately, there is no definite number or value. It’s entirely up to the guest and how much they can and would like to give.

Be gracious

Family and friends will give what they can so remember to accept all gifts graciously.

At some weddings, guests can remain anonymous as to avoid embarrassment. While other guests are happy to let the couple know how much they pitched in.

However you decide to organise a wishing well at your wedding, family, friends and guests will be happy to pitch in. Whether their contribution is big or small, their well-wishes and love for your new life together will be in abundance.

Your own Gift Card Registry makes a 21st easy

If you’re organising a 21st celebration, you can encourage others to contribute to a prepaid Mastercard at Gift Card Registry (giftcardregistry.com.au). Set up a registry for the birthday and guests can contribute as they wish, so the recipient receives the combined amount on a gift card. They’ll be delighted to choose what they really want.

Who are Gen Z?

These young people show they are concerned about social issues and the environment. Gen Z want to make their views count.

Unpredictable to others, they may play up, play down, or challenge what is expected of them, both in their personal and public lives.

What do Gen Z’s really care about?

Here’s a list of their priorities from a recent survey:

  •  The human causes of climate change, with their main concerns being pollution (65 percent), deforestation (53 percent) and greenhouse gas emissions (46 percent).
  •  96 percent said they are willing to speak out and take action, both personally and professionally, to combat climate change.
  •  57 percent would purchase products from companies doing the right thing to address the potential impact of climate change.
  • 51 percent would tell others to purchase the company’s products
  • 39 percent would not support competitors who did not do the right thing.

Gen Z prefers cool products

The US survey of the attitudes, behaviours and values of the Gen Z post-millennial generation showed that Gen Z’s actually prefer cool products over cool experiences and are likely to purchase gifts that fit with their beliefs.

On their birthday, a gift card that allows them to buy what they want, where they want, is the ideal gift.

Gift cards empower the recipient

So when you are invited to a 21st, show you understand their independence and their challenges by giving a gift card. They’ll appreciate the coolest gift of all and thank you for your thoughtfulness!

To view the range of gift cards and order, visit giftcardstore.com.au.

To set up a gift registry, visit giftcardregistry.com.au.

Reference:

Global communications firm Edelman interviewed 1,000 young Americans, ages 16-22 (Gen Z) and ages 23-38 (Millennials), in August 2019 ahead of the 74th UN General Assembly. Find out more: https://www.edelman.com/news-awards/new-survey-reveals-strong-support-of-united-nations-from-millennials

A gift with all the right numbers – makes it lucky!

You’re invited… to a wedding and you immediately start thinking about the wedding gift your friends would like. If the wedding couple are of a different culture to your own, its helpful to know about lucky numbers because if you contribute money to their gift registry, make it a lucky amount!

Australians are a multi-cultural society, with more than 75% identifying with an ancestry other than Australian and about 45% having at least one parent who was born overseas.

Lucky number for multicultural weddings

Here are a few tips to make sure you pick the right lucky numbers for the culture of the happy couple.

Chinese. Eight is a particularly auspicious number. Even numbers are better than odd numbers, except four which should be avoided because in the Chinese language, four sounds similar to death. In China, 666 is an auspicious number as it can mean “Everything goes smoothly”.

If giving cash, the notes should always be new and crisp. Folding the money or giving wrinkled bills is in bad taste. Put the money inside a red envelope as red is a lucky colour. Pink and yellow symbolise happiness and gold for fortune and wealth.

Avoid white, black and blue as they symbolise death and should not be used. Never write a Chinese person’s name in red ink as this is considered bad luck.

Hindu. At a Hindu wedding, numbers ending in one are considered lucky, so it is best to give money in denominations ending in one; for example $101, $151 or $201. Cash is preferable when giving money. Never give a gift made of leather as it is sacrilegious.

Buddhist. Giving money in denominations ending in one is also a Buddhist tradition. If you are giving cash, find a traditional red envelope with gold and black lettering to tuck the money inside.

Jewish. Give money in multiples of 18, which is the numerical equivalent to the Hebrew word ‘chai’ that means ‘life’ in English. Get your calculator out and do the math, as depending on your relationship to the couple, you might want to give $144, which is eight times chai, or 11 times chai, which is $198, or any other multiple of 18.

Lucky or unlucky? Pick a number!

Certain numbers can be regarded as lucky in some cultures, but unlucky in others. Here are just a few examples:

Lucky Number 3: China, Sweden, Italy, USA.

Reason: Considered to be lucky in Chinese philosophy. In Sweden, they say: ‘Good things come in threes’. In Italy, 3 represents a triangle, a symbol for strength and balance.

Unlucky Number 3: Vietnam, Japan

Reason: Superstition says that if a photo shows 3 people, the middle person will die.

Lucky Number 4: Germany

Reason: The number matches the number on the lucky ‘four-leaf clover’.

Unlucky Number 4: China, Japan, Vietnam, or any countries with a Chinese or Japanese influence.

Reason: In China and Japan, the word for number four is similar to the Chinese word for death.

Lucky Number 7: UK, USA, France, Netherlands, or any westernised country.

Reason: Biblical references, 7 wonders of the ancient world, 7 planets of the ancient world.

Unlucky Number 7: China, Vietnam, Thailand, or any country with Chinese influences.

Reason: July or ‘the seventh month’ is the month is where people pay respects to the dead.

Lucky Number 8: China, Japan, Vietnam, or any countries with a Chinese or Japanese influence

Reason: The number 8 in both languages sounds similar to ‘prosper and make money’.

Unlucky Number 8: India

Reason: This is the number of Sani which is a relation breaker, peace breaker.

Lucky Number 9: China, Norway

Reason: In China 9 is the number for the emperor. A sacred number in Norwegian mythology.

Unlucky Number 9:  Japan

Reason: The word sounds similar to ‘suffering’.

Lucky Number 13: Italy

Reason: The number represents St. Anthony, the patron saint of finding things or lost people.

Unlucky Number 13: USA, UK, Sweden, Norway, or any westernised country.

Reason: Associated with unlucky events, mainly the Last Supper.

Lucky Number 39: USA, UK, France, or any country that practices Catholicism

Reason: Sometimes regarded as the number of Divine guidance.

Unlucky Number 39: Afghanistan

Reason: Considered to be a curse as it sounds similar to ‘dead cow’.

Lucky Number 666: China

Reason: In China, 666 can mean ‘Everything goes smoothly’.

Unlucky Number 666: USA, UK, Brazil, or any Christian country.

Reason: In the Bible, 666 is the Number of the Beast.

 

With Gift Card Registry, contribute your gift in the luckiest denomination and wish the happy couple a wonderful future.

To find out more about setting up a registry for gift giving phone 1300 354 632 or visit giftcardregistry.com.au.

Go mobile for successful fundraising with Gift Card Registry

Online fundraising is a winner! Click to donate is proving a successful way to boost donations for a good cause, with one in every four fundraising dollars from individuals now generated in a virtual environment. ^

With a quick click, givers can donate to a cause while on the go, using their smartphone. Mobile fundraising has increased 80 percent since 2013 with 18 percent of donors saying they have given through their mobile devices. ^^

Click to donate on the go

Two out of every five givers now donate online, whereas two years ago it was one out of three. More people now access the internet via their phones rather than through desktop computers, laptops, or tablets.

Online donations on the increase

The amount of individual donor revenue raised from online giving has grown from 17 to 24 percent in just two years. There’s been a significant increase in the proportion of donors who choose to do their charitable giving online.

If you are finding it hard to raise funds for your cause because everyone thinks the economy is slowing – don’t be discouraged, donors will continue to give to a cause they are committed to.

Online fundraising is a great way to boost funds for your cause but it’s easy to find reasons to be discouraged when you read that economists are reporting that households are more cautious with their spending.

Leverage the benefits of online fundraising

You can raise funds for your chosen cause by leveraging the benefits of online fundraising by donation.

Research shows that asking for gifts, processing payments securely online, and thanking donors for their gift is easier and costs less than organising and processing offline donations.

Gift Card Registry makes it easy

Partnering with Gift Card Registry makes raising funds even easier as you can set up a registry at no cost, choose a card design and let potential donors know your plans.

Depending on who you want to target for your fundraising, you can email your friends and family and let them know the details of your project and provide a link to your Gift Card Registry page. If yours is a wider community – a sports club or special project – set up a facebook page with a link to your Gift Card Registry.

Plan for success

Great communication is the basis of great fundraising. First steps in any fundraising project are to clearly set out a plan.

  • Tell your story
  • Set milestones
  • Set up a registry at Gift Card Registry to accept the donations
  • Ask others to get involved through social media and email.

When the money starts coming in:

  • Show your donors you appreciate their support with thanks
  • Update everyone as each milestone is reached both through email and social media
  • Let everyone know when the goal is achieved.

Remember to keep everyone up to date with progress, make sure donors feel appreciated and recognised.

Set up a Gift Card Registry for your fund raising

Gift Card Registry makes it easy to set up a donations page. Contact giftcardregistry.com.au or phone 1300 354 632 and they will set up your account and your own secure page. The team at Gift Card Registry will send you a unique link to the page and you can then send that link to others who want to contribute to your project.

Set a time limit on your fundraising project and when the date arrives, the Gift Card Registry team will organise for the total funds to be loaded onto a Mastercard prepaid card and sent to you.  A Mastercard prepaid card can then be used wherever Mastercard is accepted worldwide.

 

References:

^Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) data analysis of online fundraising. Available from: https://ssir.org/articles/entry/is_online_fundraising_a_bad_idea

^^One out of Five Donors Has Now Given Using Smartphone or Tablet. 2016 Donor survey commissioned by Dunham+Company and conducted by Campbell Rinker. Available from:  https://www.dunhamandcompany.com.au/2016/04/dunhamcompany-study-explosive-growth-in-donations-via-mobile-devices/

Buy your own 21st present with the gift of money

Everyone loves a birthday, specially a 21st where the celebrations can be so memorable they last a lifetime.

What’s your birthday style – lavish or low key?

Would you like a star-studded event like Keeping Up with the Kardashians star Kylie Jenner? She celebrated her 21st with a lavish party in August 2018, recording her gifts on Snapchat. Her gifts included a 1950s Rolls Royce and a pink Can-Am Spyder 3-wheeled roadster with unicorn print.

Maybe low-key is more your style like global singing sensation Taylor Swift who turned 21 in 2010, Instead of a party, she opted for a quiet celebration with her parents.

Making memories

‘Remember my 21st, when we…’ fill in the gaps, because everyone has a story about a 21st – your own or your best friend’s.

So many gifts, so many of them unwanted! Today’s generation of hashtag followers would rather see an uptick in ‘likes’ than a gift of engraved crystal glasses.

Make gift giving easy for your guests

When you’re invited to a 21st, you immediately think of what you can buy as a gift and make tactful enquiries as to what the birthday celebrant actually wants or might like as a gift.

You will always receive the gift you want with Gift Card Registry – because you choose the gift yourself!

The best gift is something you really want

If you’re planning a 21st, set up a Gift Card Registry to help your friends and family choose the right gift. It’s easy to set up and your guests will appreciate being able to contribute to something you really want.

Go to giftcardregistry.com.au and start the registry today – it is free to set up online. Each guest is invited to contribute to a total instead of buying individual presents. The total amount is loaded onto a prepaid Mastercard that will be sent to you after the party is over. You can set up a thank you email that they will receive once they have added their gift.

Prepaid cards are more secure than cash

The prepaid Mastercard is loaded with the total contributions on one easy-to-use card, so you don’t have to worry about keeping cash secure. And when the party is over, you can have the pleasure of buying the gift you really want for yourself.

Don’t settle for kitchen appliances, jewellery or homewares, think about the big-ticket items that you can use the money for – education, travel or even towards a deposit on your future home.

Gift Card Registry gives you so many options to make your 21st one to remember.

What do others do for their 21st birthday parties? Check out the 21st celebrations of celebrities to get an idea of how the rich and famous celebrate!

Celebrities with low key 21st celebrations

Singer Rihanna’s 21st in 2009 was low-key. She organised a movie night followed by a house party in the Hollywood Hills.

Superstar Adele celebrated her 21st birthday on stage in New York City where her mother surprised her and her audience with a mega-birthday cake and balloons.

Super celebrations for the stars

Mega-star Justin Bieber was paid to attend his own 21st party in 2015 at a nightclub in Las Vegas.

Actress and singer Miley Cyrus held a lavish party in West Hollywood for her 21st in 2013 and her big-ticket item was a motorcycle from her father Billy Ray Cyrus.

Famous for being famous celebrity Paris Hilton was not satisfied with just one 21st party in 2002, she had celebrations all over the world with events in Las Vegas, New York, Paris, London, Tokyo and Los Angeles. Her big-ticket item was a silver Porsche and fans from all over the world sent her jewellery, cute teddy bears, and huge bouquets of flowers.

Choose your own style

Your 21st is one to remember, so choose your own style to celebrate the big event. And make it easy for your guests to give you a gift when you create your own gift registry.

Find out more at www.giftcardregistry.com.au or call 1300 354 632.

Happy ever after… sign the paperwork first!

Your wedding will be a day to remember for the rest of your life, so make it a wonderful occasion!

It sounds simple – just say your vows and sign some forms, then you are married and can celebrate the beginning of a life together. The legal requirements on the day can take just a few minutes.

Only in the movies is a wedding as simple as this! The legalities for your wedding actually start at least a month (and no more than 18 months) before the big day. One month is the minimum notice you are legally required to give before you can get married. And it all starts with the Notice of Intended Marriage, known as the NOIM (Form 13).

Weddings are automatically R18+

Weddings are R-rated in Australia. Not for the guests who can be any age, but for the couple intending to marry. Marriage in Australia is illegal if you are under the age of 18, unless there are special circumstances legally approved by a judge or magistrate.

Once you are 18 you are legally an adult and you can download your NOIM from the registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, or contact your chosen marriage celebrant and they will provide one for you to sign when they meet you person.

Signing the NOIM has certain requirements and documentation is needed for proof of identity.

BEFORE signing the NOIM

As well as booking a date for your wedding, you both need to get together the documents you will need. These must be sighted and verified by the celebrant or other official witness (such as a Justice of the Peace), at the time of the signing of the NOIM.

What you both need:

  1. Your birth certificates.
  2. Your official papers – If one or other of you has been married before you will need to show divorce papers or nullity order, or death certificate.
  3. Your passports, drivers licence, or photo ID card for proof of age.
  4. Name and date of birth of any children from any previous marriage.
  5. Your parents’ full names and birthplaces.

SIGNING the NOIM

You must both be present with the celebrant or official witness so once you have the paperwork requirements, you can make an appointment at least one month (and no longer than 18 months) before the planned wedding date, to meet the celebrant and complete the signing.

AFTER signing the NOIM

Once you have signed the NOIM you can use the one-month waiting period to complete the arrangements for your wedding and countdown to the date.

Set up your Gift Card Registry

Contact Gift Card Registry to set up your online registry before the big day and let your guests know you would prefer them to contribute to the registry, rather than buy a gift. They will appreciate the idea of gift-giving the easy way! With a prepaid gift card you can buy just what you want to start your married life. Visit the website at giftcardregistry.com.au to find out more, or phone 1300 354 632.

On your wedding day

Your wedding can be as elaborate or as simple as you like! The legal requirements are minimal, and are usually included as part of your own personalised ceremony. Here’s what is legally required, everything else is up to you!

Who is legally required to be present?

  • You and your partner
  • The authorised celebrant
  • Two witnesses aged over 18.

What legally needs to be said?

There are many and varied versions of the ceremony, but the key legal components are:

  • The registered marriage celebrant introduces themselves and states their authority to perform the ceremony.
  • The celebrant reminds everyone of the ‘solemn and binding nature of the marriage relationship’.
  • The couple say their vows to each other. You can write the vows yourselves, but they should include wording along the lines of:

I call upon the people here present to witness that I, [full name] take you, [full name] to be my legally wedded husband/wife/spouse from this time onward.

  • The marriage celebrant then declares the couple to be married.

What legally needs to be signed?

Signing of the legal paperwork must be completed by the celebrant, the married couple and the two witnesses. The forms may be downloaded and printed from the Attorney General’s website, with the exception of Form 15, the Certificate of Marriage. The forms are:

  • Form 14: DECLARATION OF NO LEGAL IMPEDIMENT TO MARRIAGE. Each party must declare before the authorised celebrant as to their conjugal status and belief that there is no legal impediment to the marriage.
  • Form 15: OFFICIAL CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE. Given to the couple. This certificate can only be provided by an authorised celebrant.
  • Form 16: OFFICIAL CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE. This certificate must be lodged by the celebrant at the Births, Deaths and Marriages registry within 14 days.

What is the legal status after the ceremony?

Congratulations, you are officially married and have nationwide legal recognition of your status as a married couple. Enjoy your future together!

References:

Attorney General’s Department. Getting married.

https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Pages/Getting-married.aspx

 

Marry on Skype? Invite your friends to your wedding on the web

Sharing your wedding day with the people you care about most can be effortless with instant global communication.

In the internet age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Skype, family and friends who are on the other side of the world can be part of the ceremony and join the celebration with just the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen.

From internet dating to webcam wedding

Love has found a new meeting place with internet dating, so it’s easy to use Skype or Facebook to share your ‘virtual’ wedding ceremony and even the reception with family and friends wherever they are in the world.

If they can’t join you at the ceremony, invite them to share the virtual experience through videoconferencing so they can feel part of the special day.

Interstate or across the world

Your family interstate who can’t make it to the wedding can still watch you get married if they have an internet connection.

Your friends overseas who you will catch up with on your honeymoon can’t be there, but they can follow the ceremony as it happens.

Together for your wedding day

The internet that we take for granted and use every day is a network of networks, a global system of interconnected networks that use the Internet protocol suite to link devices worldwide and connect us wherever we are in the world.

Officially, you can’t legally marry online if you and your partner are in different places. This is because the internet is not recognised as a legal entity or a place. You have to be together in the same location, with two witnesses and a registered celebrant to make it legal.

But it is possible for the ceremony to be shared with others through the net.

Making it happen online

As long as the legal aspects are fulfilled in a real location, using video conferencing to include friends and family who are anywhere in the world can be done with some preparation and good timing.

Contact a video conferencing specialist or discuss with the professional photographer who is videoing your wedding to ask if they can set up the connections. Or ask a friend to Do It Yourself!

Planning to share your big day

Some things to consider when you are planning to DIY Skype or video conference your ceremony.

  • Time zones: Consider the timing of your wedding and what the time will be interstate or in the country you are going to connect with.
  • Technology at your venue: Does your venue have the technology you need, or can it be installed for your ceremony? If you are using mobile phone or iPad, is there consistent connectivity? If you are having the ceremony outdoors on the beach or at a park, can you get internet connection?
  • Technology at the destination: Do the overseas or interstate participants have the technology required and know how to use it? They will need to have the same application you are using whether it is Facebook live streaming, WhatsApp or Skype – or your preferred video service. Consider Google Hangouts, Zoom – there are many to choose from depending on the number of devices that need to be connected.
  • You want it to operate seamlessly on the day, so have a trial run a week or so before at the same time of day as the ceremony will be held. Try to make this at the actual wedding rehearsal, or a day in which you just make sure the technology connects.
  • Coordinate: Ask your nerdiest friend or relative to make your web wedding their special project. They should be someone who isn’t in the bridal party and has technical know-how.
  • Mute the guests: You want them to hear you and what is happening in the ceremony, but you may not want their comments broadcast during the event for everyone to hear. Turn the sound back on after the legalities are over.
  • Back up: If the whole technology project is critical to your wedding day success, have a back-up plan if the internet connection fails, the mobile runs out of battery or the project coordinator is unable to attend on the day.

Then you’re ready to share your big day with the world!

Remember, you only need yourselves, two witnesses and the registered celebrant for you to legally get married in Australia. You can have the entire guest list somewhere else and they can watch you get married. It’s a real wedding blended with virtual participation – a day to remember for everyone.

A solution for gifts from distant destinations

Gift Card Registry is the perfect solution for guests to show their love for your both as they can contribute their gift to your virtual wedding. Wherever they are in the world, your guests can go online and add to your registry.

To make it easy for everyone, contact Gift Card Registry to set up your personal online registry a few weeks before your planned wedding day. Let your guests know you would prefer them to contribute to the registry, rather than buy a gift that will incur the high cost of postage from overseas.

Gift giving online made easy

Wherever they are in the world, they will appreciate the simple process of gift-giving online!

When the registry closes, Gift Card Registry will send you the total amount gifted loaded onto a prepaid Mastercard that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted worldwide.

With a prepaid gift card, you can buy just what you want and let the guests know how you have used the money on the card to start your life together.

Visit the website at giftcardregistry.com.au to find out more or phone Gift Card Registry on 1300 354 632.

Let’s Elope! Can we do it in Australia?

You’re in love and just want to be together forever but feel that a traditional wedding is not your style. Let’s elope!

It would be just the two of you, making your relationship permanent without having to worry about the expense of a wedding, who to invite, where it will be held, and what to wear. Romantic and simple.

Can you just visit the Registry Office and get married tomorrow? It’s a romantic idea, but Australian law requires you to wait at least a month before you can get married.

You first need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage (NoIM) form which is available online from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your state. The completed form must be given to your celebrant or lodged with the Registry Office by you and your partner in person at least one calendar month before the wedding.

As well as completing the form, you need to provide original birth certificates (you must both be at least 18), current photo IDs and evidence of the end of any previous marriages (a death certificate or finalised divorce papers). Note that after a divorce is granted, the final papers are issued one month and one day later.

Both parties must sign the ‘Declaration of no legal impediment to marriage’, to declare you are over 18 years, and that there is no legal impediment to your marriage.

The waiting period:

  • If this is the first marriage for both of you or a previous spouse is deceased, allow at least a month for the legal requirements.
  • If one or both of you is divorced, you will need to allow a minimum of two months and one day for the legal paperwork
  • Make an appointment to lodge your NoIM at the Registry office and be interviewed
  • Make an appointment for your wedding ceremony.

Your wedding day:

  • Take along two witnesses who are aged over 18
  • You can invite a few guests as some Registries allow for up to 12-20 people to attend
  • Both partners sign declarations that they are over the age of 18 years, not legally married to someone else and are not directly related to each other
  • Write your own vows or use the standard wording of the short civil ceremony
  • Your celebrant will solemnise your marriage and you will exchange marriage vows and rings
  • You, your partner and your witnesses will sign up to three marriage certificates
  • After your wedding, your marriage will be registered with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State or Territory where your marriage took place.

Check the details and arrangements required on the website for Births, Deaths and Marriages in your State of Territory.

Find out more here: https://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/Pages/marriages/registry-marriages.aspx

After the ceremony:

  • Keep costs down by asking a friend to take photos or book a professional wedding photographer within your budget and needs.
  • Celebrate with a post-elopement party with friends and family. You may have eloped Australian-style, take the opportunity to celebrate as a newly married couple!
  • Set up a Gift Card Registry for those who would like to give a wedding present.

For a whirlwind wedding, consider getting married overseas!

The Smartraveller website has detailed information about getting married overseas.

Find out more: https://smartraveller.gov.au/guide/all-travellers/birth-death-marriage/pages/getting-married-overseas.aspx

An overseas marriage cannot be registered in Australia, but will generally be recognised in Australia if it:

  • was a valid marriage in the overseas country
  • would have been recognised as valid under Australian law if the marriage had taken place in Australia.

In New Zealand, only three working days are required for a marriage licence and the marriage age is over 16.

Find out more at https://www.govt.nz/browse/family-and-whanau/getting-married/how-to-get-married-in-nz/

Mazel tov! The custom of the bar/bat mitzvah

Imagine an event for children that is years in the planning, involves the whole family, includes a religious ceremony and a memorable celebration!

It’s the Jewish Bar Mitzvah (for boys) and Bat Mitzvah (for girls) that celebrates the transition from childhood to adulthood, when a Jewish boy becomes 13 years old and a Jewish girl aged 12 or 13. According to Jewish law, this significant occasion marks the time when children become accountable for their actions.

From the time the child is born, a Jewish family knows their son or daughter will mark their bar/bat mitzvah at the synagogue during Shabbat prayer services on a Saturday, soon after the child’s 13th birthday (or 12 for girls).

The real planning starts two or three years before the event, and in the year prior to the big day, the child will be expected to regularly attend the synagogue or temple for formal bar/bat mitzvah lessons.

On the day, the child will be called up to the Torah for the first time to recite a blessing over the Parshat HaShavua (weekly reading).

As well as the religious ceremony, he or she will be involved in planning a community service or bar/bat mitzvah project.

And to mark the occasion, families traditionally celebrate with a memorable party that can be as elaborate as a wedding.

Detailed arrangements for the celebration can include special features for designed for the young adults, including:

  • Candle lighting ceremony when the bar/bat mitzvah lights a candle for the important people in their life, or for those who have passed away.
  • Themed decorations that can reflect the child’s interests, activities or community service such as a specific charity.
  • Special activities for the range of age groups at the function, such as a DJ, a caricaturist to capture personalised drawings of the guests, a photo station, karaoke, TV screens with live video of the event.
  • A commemorative guest book or poster for each guest to sign as a lasting memento of the occasion.

It is customary to give money to mark the occasion, with the traditional amount in multiples of $18, the number being symbolic of giving ‘chai’ or life. The word for ‘life’ in Hebrew is ‘chai’. The two Hebrew letters that make up the word ‘chai’ are ‘chet’ and ‘yud’. Chet is equivalent to 8 and yud is equivalent to 10. So ‘chai’ equals 18.

Giving money in multiples of $18 is symbolic of giving ‘chai’ or life. So, a gift of triple ‘chai’ would be $54 to wish the child a wonderful future.

Parents planning a bar/bat mitzvah event can arrange a Gift Card Registry for family and friends to contribute their ‘chai’ in a convenient and secure environment. Guests can leave their messages of goodwill to the child on the website and after the event Gift Card Registry will send the recipient the prepaid Mastercard loaded with the contributions.

Ideal for bar/bat mitzvah occasions, the prepaid gift card can be used to pay for significant needs for the child’s future such as education or travel.

Mazel tov! Happy bar/bat mitzvah!

No more toys – kids’ parties discover Gift Card Registry for special gifts

Everyone loves a party! From toddler to teenager, parties are the highlight of the year for every child. Once organised by parents as a simple get together at home, today’s children’s parties have become like mini-adult events.

What used to involve a few balloons, party games, some sweet snacks and lots of presents, has now become a creative production with jumping castles, clown entertainers and an elaborate cake.

Parents are looking for an easier solution to celebrating their child’s birthday and one aspect of the move to simple planning is to ditch the presents and use Gift Card Registry.

Kids’ parties are major events

Organising a children’s birthday party in the age of social media is like planning a major event, inviting the right people and designing the right theme for the age group and the circle of friends and family. Having the on-trend food, the appropriate games and lots of prizes for everyone are all on the party priority check list.

Children’s parties that invite every child in the playgroup or classroom are mentioned on Facebook, add followers on Instagram and have become key highlights for any children’s party.

Parties and social media

Parents can now engage a party planner or book the party as an event at the local restaurant to ensure it will be talked about by parents and children long after the occasion. With fun photos uploaded to Facebook or Instagram, your child’s party can be talked about on social media long after the event.

Parents looking for an alternative solution are connecting with online Gift Card Registry to set up a wish gift for their child’s birthday celebrations.

Refocus gift giving with Gift Card Registry

From toddler parties to pre-teen celebrations, all children love a party and gifts are a traditional focus whatever the age.

Gift Card Registry gives parents the opportunity to refocus the gift giving to help children plan for major purchases or life events. If you’re over the excessive gifts of toys and would rather have a special gift wish, Gift Card Registry has the answer.

The gift wish makes giving special

Using Gift Card Registry can help children understand the value of saving money for a special purpose.

  1. For younger children, suggest contributions for a special gift like a bike, musical instrument, sports equipment.
  2. For pre-teens or younger teenagers, the focus can be education – TAFE or university.
  3. For older teenagers soon to leave secondary school, the experience of an overseas trip during a gap year can be a great reason to use Gift Card Registry.
  4. For any children, suggest giving to others who need a hand. Sponsoring a child overseas is a great way for children to understand that they can help others.

Make gift giving easy

Break with tradition and set up a Gift Card Registry for your child’s birthday. Let the guests coming to the party know that you would prefer they don’t bring presents but donate to the online Gift Registry. Send them a link to your registry at giftcardregistry.com.au where they can write a message to the birthday child and make a contribution to the wish gift.

Let them know that the total amount will be loaded onto a prepaid Mastercard that will be used for the special gift for your child, or their special project to help others.

Friends and family may appreciate not having to buy a present for the child and can use the occasion to explain the idea to their children.

You will receive a prepaid Mastercard loaded with the gifted funds, ready to use online or at any merchant that accepts Mastercard. The choice is yours to use the funds for the special gift or project for your child.

To set up a Gift Card Registry for your child’s birthday, go to giftcardregistry.com.au or call 1300 354 632.

Top 10 ideas to celebrate a milestone birthday!

You can’t avoid it, so make the most of it! When it’s your ‘Big 0’ Birthday, it’s time to celebrate.

Whether the celebration is for a 20th or 80th birthday, any double-digit number that ends with a zero is special, so make it one to remember!

No one likes to be reminded they are growing older, so if there’s a milestone birthday coming up and you’re planning a celebration for a friend or family member’s special birthday, make sure they want it acknowledged. Or organise a surprise party for them to join the fun.

Milestones add up for birthday avoiders

Adding up the years is sometimes not an occasion some people want remembered. They would rather ignore the passage of time and hope no one realises their true age. If you are making plans to celebrate a special occasion with a birthday-avoider, you will need all your charm to convince them to observe their milestone.

Gift Card Registry is the answer for gift giving

Suggest using Gift Card Registry for friends and family to contribute. Gift Card Registry is perfect for when the birthday celebrant says ‘No gifts!’ Make it easy for the guests to contribute to a prepaid gift card so the recipient can buy what they want, when they want.

And if they really don’t want a gift, they can donate their gift card to a worthy charity!

When you are organising the celebration, go online to giftcardregistry.com.au and set up a registry for the birthday celebration.

You can then send a link to all the guests so they can go online and contribute to the prepaid Mastercard gift card. Guests can also leave an online message for the birthday celebrant.

Gift Card Registry makes it easy to give and guests will thank you for not having to shop for a present. Your birthday celebrant can then use the card for something they really want.

Low-key or memorable milestone?

Milestone birthdays can be low-key or a memorable celebration.

When you are planning a milestone birthday, make the celebration about the birthday celebrant and keep it in style with their preferences.

10 party ideas for any milestone, from 20 to 100

  1. Surprise Party – the party you organise when the birthday celebrant doesn’t want their birthday recognised. The key to a successful surprise party is keeping it a secret from the star guest. Surprise parties can borrow ideas from other party themes, it’s just that planning for the event must be kept to a few trusted friends or family.
  2. Day Cruise – a river or harbour cruise can be a great way to celebrate. Check out party boats that you can hire for the event.
  3. Luxury party – could be a night at a classy hotel, a high tea, an indulgent spa session or a stage show. Make it something luxurious to remember for years. Look for special hotel deals.
  4. Road Trip – Australia has so many scenic destinations that would make a memorable road trip at any age. Plan ahead for your on-road adventure. Take a tent and make it a camping trip. Ideal for small groups.
  5. Destination unknown – for an adventurous birthday consider a mystery break. Check your preferred airline for details of their mystery short break escapes. Great for small groups who would enjoy a surprise destination for a celebration.
  6. A vintage year – Focus on the year they were born for a great theme for a dress up party. Friends of similar age will have fun looking for outfits from the era they were born whether it was 20, 30, 40 or more years ago. Research special events that happened that year as a theme.
  7. Early bird party – a party for any age, particularly if children are attending. Make an early start – breakfast or brunch – so you can continue to celebrate into the afternoon and evening if everyone’s enjoying themselves.
  8. Pool party – a family favourite. Hold this one at the home with the biggest pool! A barbecue in the backyard is an Aussie tradition and the easiest of all parties.
  9. Bring a plate – the ultimate low key, no fuss, easy party. Friends chip in to bring a plate or easier still, just order pizzas for a night of fun.
  10. Fundraising party – for the birthday avoiders who are reluctant to party, suggest having an event to fundraise for their favourite charity. Set up a Gift Card Registry for the donations and make the party a great way to help others!

To set up a Gift Card Registry, go to giftcardregistry.com.au or call 1300 354 632.

Buck the trend – your 12-point checklist for a great stag party

When you’re asked to organise the bucks party before your friend’s wedding, make it one to remember, not one you’d rather forget. If the bride-to-be has seen the movie The Hangover, she’ll want you to use it as a guide book for what not to do at the groom’s last party before the big day. So, break with tradition and make your own story!

Bucks parties can be in the news for all the wrong reasons – so here’s some ideas to keep in mind that will tick all the boxes and have everyone back home ready for the main event – the wedding.

Dos and Don’ts – Your Checklist:

  1. DO talk to the groom about the date and style of party he wants and the activities he would prefer. You can outsource the planning to event companies that specialise in bucks parties!
    DON’T go ahead and make plans without talking to him first.
  2. DO set the date. A few weeks before the wedding, preferably on a weekend, but not the weekend of the wedding rehearsal.
    DON’T plan the party for the night before the wedding.
  3. DO set a budget. What’s affordable for you and the others who are coming?
    DON’T assume everyone will be happy to kick in for unlimited amounts of alcohol. The bills can add up quickly and no-one wants to pay extra.
  4. DO talk to the groom to choose some activities that the whole group will enjoy. Thrill-seeker or conservative, the party is for him, so tailor the activities that will suit.
    DON’T assume everyone wants strippers and alcohol.
  5. DO suggest a weekend away, a harbour cruise, paintballing, golf, water skiing, wine tasting, white water rafting, a celebratory dinner, a night out on the town, or a camping trip.
    DON’T include tattooing, base jumping, sky diving, cave diving, chartering a boat, motor cycle riding, wild boar hunting, or a rifle range if you are going to be drinking.
  6. DO prepare a guest list.
    DON’T leave the list to the last minute. The more notice you can give, the better.
  7. DO send out invitations – just to those you want to attend.
    DON’T end up with unwanted gate crashers. If you use social media, make sure you send the invitation to a closed group.
  8. DO keep track of RSVPs so you can make bookings for the right numbers.
    DON’T forget to follow up those who don’t reply on time. Last minute opt-ins can play havoc with reservations.
  9. DO ask the group to pay up front so you can make bookings for the event once you have the numbers. Use Gift Card Registry for a special party fundraiser so everyone can go online to make their payment for the event.
    DON’T over book for those who can’t give you a definite answer or you could end up footing the bill for those who don’t attend.
  10. DO plan for food as well as alcohol.
    DON’T buy the beer without the pizzas.
  11. DO keep it safe and legal. The object of the bucks party is to have a great time with the groom-to-be before his big day. Make it a memorable occasion for all the right reasons.
    DON’T forget, you are the organiser, bookings are made in your name and you will be responsible for any damage.
  12. DO vet what you plan to share on social media. Get everyone to agree not to upload photos if they could cause embarrassment later, specially for the bride-to-be.
    DON’T take photos you wouldn’t want the groom’s mother to see! Remember, ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’.

Set up a Gift Card Registry

To set up a registry specifically for the bucks party, go to Gift Card Registry at giftcardregistry.com.au, or phone 1300 354 632.

At Gift Card Registry you can set up a convenient, secure and easy-to-use registry for the people you want to invite, and they can leave messages for you when they add their contribution.

Once the registry has closed on the date you specify, Gift Card Registry will send the total amount loaded onto a prepaid Mastercard to you to use for travel, accommodation, food and beverages or party bookings. The prepaid Mastercard can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted online, in Australia or overseas. It’s the perfect solution to organising contributions for the bucks party!