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Ceremonies and Celebrations

Ceremonies & Celebrations
(4th Ed)
A book with example Wedding, Funeral and other ceremonies.

Links and Information

Download a Notice of Intended Marriage in pdf.

Get hold of that priceless book - Ceremonies and Celebrations and It's Your Wedding

Code of Practice for celebrants - please read

Dally Messenger III Broad website

(See below) Your choice of what you would like me to wear

Dally Messenger in suit
In Suit

Dally Messenger inGown
In suit and gown

Dally Messenger in Dinner Suit
In dinner suit


Dally and Remi,
we can not thank you both enough. Your ceremony Dally blew us and our guests away. We are just on our way to the airport for our honeymoon and will be sure to be in touch with you upon our return. Much love,
Ed and Jo xo

"We very much wanted to thank you again for doing such a wonderful job officiating at our wedding last Sunday. Peter and I thought you created a wonderful atmosphere, and indeed our guest were moved to tears (well, some of them!)"
Deb and Peter

"Thank you for the excellent job you did officiating at our marriage at Butleigh Wootton. We have had many comments from our friends and family saying what a beautiful and personal service it was and hwo you showed a most appropriate sense of occasion. You were easy going but at the same time treated the occasion seriously, which was exactly what we wanted."
Suzanne and Andrew

We had a truly wonderful day, and a large part of that was due to you help, your suggestions and fantastic handling of our ceremony."
Gillian and Alan

"Heartfelt thanks for such a beautiful ceremony. Your ceremony helped to make our day so very special, we will treasure the memory always."
Marcelle and Peter

"I want you to know how privileged and grateful I was … and how delighted I was to relax, enjoy the ceremony, knowing you were at the helm. They were thrilled with their wedding ceremony, and the way you conducted everything, especially that you took the time to run through everything on the Friday.
Marlene (mother of bride)

"To the day I die I shall never forget my poem "if ever two were one. And the words of Kahlil Gibran shall always be in my mind and my heart as a reminder of why Michael and I love each other. We are both ecstatically happy and thank you very much for bringing us together in matrimony. The ceremony was very beautiful and your direction and assertive guidance was very much valued. … a brilliant day it was. There were many comments on your sincere and professional delivery."
Judi and Michael

"We thought you delivered the ceremony with a lot of sincerity and feeling and you made a lasting impression on our guests." Julie and Stephen (Celebrant's note: A choir from a girls school sang "Truly, Madly Deeply" after Savage Garden at this wedding!) "A meaningful and unforgettable ceremony. All your advice helped us. The ceremony was perfect. Many people commented on how wonderful it was to hear the speakers and see the bride and groom's faces rather than the backs of their heads. It was a magical day. Thank you for all your time, effort and support."
Fiona and Dan

People were very moved by our ceremony, which, to our surprise, became some of the focus for the reception speeches. Although we take credit for most of the words, we know that without the sensitivity you expressed in their delivery – their meaning would have been lost. We greatly appreciated your intelligence and integrity."
Nicci and Michael

(Celebrants note: written all these years later! Contact through a mutual friend) Happy Birthday from the couple you married on the 15/12/77!!! It was at the non-denominational church at Monash University. It truly is a small world. You also married Michael's brother Phillip the year before. We are all still happily married . . . probably the good start we had from you!! We have the fondest memories."
Monica and Michael

"We had the best day of our lives and we soul like to thank you for helping to make it such a special occasion. … Give us a couple of years and hopefully we will see you in Melbourne at the ceremony of our first child."
Alan and Kelly

"Thank you also for the extra effort and artistic design put into the marriage certificate; it will be lovely framed."
Liz and Chris

Mark and I thank you very much for all your time and effort in making our wedding run smoothly – we always relied on the fact that "at least Dally knew what he was doing!" Dally, you were a pleasure to work with and we appreciate your extra efforts .
Bri and Mark

And many, many more …….




Your Wedding / Marriage and Funeral Celebrant is
Dally Messenger of Docklands, VictoriaDally Messenger - Marriage Celebrant

Authorised Civil Marriage Celebrant No. A 571

I am Located at:
Docklands Vic 3008
Victoria, Australia

And my contact details are:
Mo: +61-411-717-303

Some of my General Qualifications are:
Post Graduate Diploma of Librarianship: (Melbourne Uni)
Licentiate: College of Teachers (London)
MA Prelim (La Trobe and Monash)
Bachelor of Philosophy and Theology (Sydney)

My Celebrancy Qualifications are:
Certificate IV in Marriage Celebrancy
Graduate Diploma of Celebrancy

For my Celebrancy qualification I was Trained by:
International College of Celebrancy

My Associations were - and some still are:
President and Convenor: Humanist Celebrant Network of Australia
Foundation Secretary: Association of Civil Marriage Celebrants of Australia
Foundation President: Funeral Celebrants Association of Australia.
Foundation President and Life Member: Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants.
Member: International College of Celebrancy Alumni and Friends

I Provide the Following Ceremonies:
Renewal of Vows
Funeral (including State Funerals and similar VIP Funerals)
Adolescent Rites of Passage
Life Changes Other Rituals and Celebrations Community Ceremonies

About Me:
M y current role is as Principal of the International College of Celebrancy. My contributions to Civil Celebrancy revolve around my authorship and chief editorship of the ceremony resource book "Ceremonies and Celebrations" (Hachette Livre - Sydney 1998), now in its fourth edition, third printing).

from The Little Prince by Antoine de Sainte Exupery.

"What is a rite?" asked the Little Prince.
"Those also are actions too often neglected," said the fox.
They are what make one day different from other days,
one hour from other hours."

25 Reasons why you should choose me as your wedding celebrant.

1. I give you the best value for money.

2. I am a genuine professional. I believe in your ceremony as an important event for you and an important event for the community. I try to get it right under every aspect.

3. I come with a skilled assistant so you get two skilled persons for the price of one.

4. I am well-qualified. I hold a Graduate Diploma in Celebrancy from the International College of Celebrancy. This Diploma is the highest one issued. This diploma covers Marriage Celebrancy, Funeral Celebrancy, and General Celebrancy. I also have several tertiary qualifications in the Humanities.

5. I am well experienced. I have been a full-time celebrant to 35 years. I embrace the principle of Kaizen. I learn something or re-learn something from every ceremony.

6. You have complete choice of ceremony - I only plead with you to change if my experience tells me you are heading for disaster.

7. I supply you with resources - usually my book Ceremonies and Celebrations or It's Your Wedding - these contain example ceremonies, readings and poems, many examples of vows etc.

8. I encourage you to create, or I create with you, or I create for you, a personal story - the story of your relationship to the point of this your wedding. It forms part of the introduction to the ceremony.

9. I encourage the creation of the Vows by you as a Compact.You mutually promise each other that which you will wish the other partner to promise you. I have a mechanism to assist you to get this important Compact right !

10. I advise you in regard to music - live or recorded.

11 . I am esteemed by my clients as evidenced by hundreds of unsolicited testimonials. (see column on left)

12. I have a really good quality Mipro sound system, I have a "Madonna" microphone for the celebrant and a separate on-stand microphone for the readers. The Mipro system is also ideal for recorded music (CDs/iPod/iPhone) and has a really good 50 Watt sound.

13. I believe in a rehearsal on site. Rehearsals mean extra travel and extra time spent by the celebrant but I think they are essential. This is not an extra but included in my fee.

14. At the rehearsal I ask the readers to practise their reading (pace and pronunciation) as most generallygo far too fast and thus lose power and impact.

15. I encourage singing together by the guests. And I know the procedures which ensure this can be done smoothly and happily.

16. Similarly, I encourage reading of poetry by all present together..

17. I do not do so many marriages so that I cannot give full attention to each one. I give every wedding with which I am entrusted my complete focus.

18. As far as possible I dress to fit in with your marriage ceremony. (See photos on left column.)

19. I ensure that you are presented with a certificate that is laser printed with an acceptable script, which is worthy of the event.

20. I am skilled at preparing all the legally required marriage documents. I guide you through the necessary legalities with a minimum of fuss.

21. I register your wedding with the Department of Births Deaths, and Marriages promptly after completion.

22. I am available to you after the wedding to discuss any after-wedding questions and review.

23. I am held in high regard by my peers (or most of them !) See Dally Messenger III

24. I have a sense of humour but I am not a "joker".

25. I am conscientious and responsible.

My Attitude To Ceremony

I have tried since I became a celebrant to hold to, and develop, the original ideals of Lionel Murphy's commission to the civil celebrant. Each marriage ceremony should be unique to each couple. (In over 5000 weddings I can honestly say I have never delivered two ceremonies, which are the same.)

The substance of the ceremony, and especially the vows, should be totally authentic for the couple. The celebrant should be trained and educated in his role.
The celebrant should provide the very best guidance, advice, and most of all sufficient resources so that the couple can create (or co-create) a ceremony the memory of which will give them a strengthening memory and lifelong satisfaction.

The celebrant should advise his clients of the offence given to guests when ceremonies are too short (and dry). (When we were first appointed the public was appalled at the 2 minute ceremonies then delivered by the Registry offices – things are different now !) .

Kaizen, Ceremony and Personalisation

Like all graduates of the International College of Celebrancy I attempt to live by the principle of Kaizen – namely, that every ceremony I deliver is a little bit better than the last one. I have observed, and I believe, that what makes Australian Civil Celebrant ceremonies the very best in the world is our techniques of personalization – e.g. the story of the couple's personal journey, personalized vows, personally chosen and introduced poetry, music, and symbols.

Secular Spirituality

I keep in mind that my prime constituency are persons without religious affiliation – secular people. This does not mean that my clientele is not spiritual. On the contrary – in my clients I constantly observe a wonderful secular spirituality – the best ideals, moral principles, dedication to goodness, and devotion to relationships – which is inferior to none.

A lot more could be said - but you get the drift.

Fees and Value:

Celebrancy is one area of life you really get what you pay for. I am not talking about myself here – nothing personal – but the best investment for your wedding or any other ceremony - should be in the celebrant and the ceremony. The one area in which you should not try to "save".

Weddings: $990 (plus extra travel for long distances). NSW Registry Office
Legal work and registration afterwards — same as Registry Office -$430

Discussions, personal story and resources re ceremony creation, 4-5 hours -$250

Rehearsal on site (inc travel), $150

Skilled assistant - Mipro 50 watt PA and Music system operator at Rehearsal and Ceremony - $180

Wedding on day - delivery and travel -$200
TOTAL $1210 but say $990 — (No extras added later !)

Funerals: Please get one thing straight. There is no such thing as a short cut to a good funeral. I cling to the idealistic notion that a worthy life cannot be dismissed by a one-size-fits-all funeral done quite often in a few minutes. I also believe that the funeral ceremony is the most important part of the funeral. I also want to make it clear that I believe that $180 (the fixed fee of the funeral directors in most states) is inadequate. (Funeral Directors control the fees because almost every time people go to them first and take their advice). In most states of Australia the treatment of civil celebrants is sheer exploitation.

Funeral Fees: Victoria

In Victoria the Funeral Directors fixed ceiling fee hovers at about $495. There are some wonderful Funeral Celebrants who do a very good job for this small fee i.e. the Funeral Directors' decided fee. See Lynnette Olsen DipFC (Vic), Trish Bainbridge DipFC (Vic), Lesley Bawden (Vic), Peter Downie (ACT), Genevieve Messenger BA DipMC (Vic), Remi Messenger DipFC (Vic), Yvonne Werner DipFC (Vic), Victoria Spence (NSW)

I usually spend between 30 - 40 hours, I can't remember the last time I spent less than 20 hours - preparing a Funeral ceremony. Eulogy, appropriate readings, symbols and photos, and music - all take care, preparation time and checking back to make sure it is right. In my opinion the only fair way to pay a Funeral Celebrant is by an hourly rate.

My fee is $120 hour.
($1200 to $2400 or more per Funeral - ball park figure). For State Funerals or equivalent $400 per hour.
(If any client is in genuine financial difficulty these fees can be renegotiated.)