Weddings get personal
Personal touch ... Jessica Bryant and Jonathon Coleman's vintage themed wedding. Photo: April Werz
Celebrant Lynda Payne has conducted goth weddings, married couples in the middle of forests and performed a viking ceremony.
There really is no limit to the weird and wonderful ways couples can tie the knot.
Payne even goes undercover for surprise weddings.
"I have got a masquerade ball coming up ... I am actually going to be part of the entertainment, people (will) think I am a hypnotist and I am going to ask for volunteers to come down to the front and they are actually going to be the witnesses," Victoria-based Payne says.
"I love exciting weddings ... I enjoy a challenge, I love things that are different.
"I did a wedding in a labyrinth, it was deep in a forest, these people were tree-huggers and the trees were all decorated, we did some pagan ceremonies in it as well."
She has conducted a wedding on the back of a steam train, married a couple out in the middle of a remote 226,000 hectare property and even conducted a ceremony as a cyclone came roaring in.
"The heavens opened, we all got drenched, we ran inside and did the ceremony and ran off," she says.
Even though celebrants are not wedding planners, conducting a non-traditional wedding requires a lot of research, Payne says.
For a Viking wedding, where the couple followed the pre-Christian indigenous faith of the Norse peoples - Asatru - Payne did hours of research.
"It was very, very interesting, I had to research rituals that they did, I had to research how we could incorporate their religious side with the legal side," she says.
There is a trend away from traditional weddings, head wedding planner at Staging Connections, Anthony Del Col, says, with couples opting for personalised civil ceremonies or themed weddings.
"Halloween is a popular one that pops up every year (they may want) a gothic theme or black and orange, pumpkins in the middle of the table," says Del Col, who will be exhibiting at the annual Ultimate Wedding Planning Party to be held in Sydney on September 15.
"Some people will even go to the extent of doing a Star Wars theme wedding, it's not for everyone obviously, it is for light-hearted characters.
"There is no limit to what people can do when it comes to their wedding day."
The most important part of a themed wedding is choosing the right venue.
"The venue or location plays a huge part in helping you create that feel ... if you want a garden-themed wedding you are not going to do it in a ballroom," Del Col says.
"You can do an Alice in Wonderland theme where you are set up in a garden with multi-coloured chairs and coloured tea cups."
Top wedding trends
* 1 in 4 Australians opt for traditional church wedding.
* Gardens are the most popular location for Australians to tie the knot, followed by the beach.
* In the 1970s, 85 per cent of weddings took place in churches. This figure dropped to 35 per cent in 2010.
* In 2003 there were 3500 civil marriage celebrants in Australia, now there are over 10,000.
* Women are less likely to choose a religious venue than men.
* Women worry more than men about rain on their wedding day but men are more worried than women when it comes to drunken guests.
* Rain, drunken guests or family disagreements are more likely to upset a bride and groom than the celebrant pronouncing their names incorrectly.
*Source: survey of 1,500 people conducted by PureProfile, commissioned by Australian Marriage Celebrants.