• Ted Johnson Marriage Celebrant Brisbane

Legals Only vs Full Wedding Ceremony & Three Reasons Why I Really Shouldn't Tell You This

If I had a dollar for every time a couple asked me: "What's the difference between a legals only and a full wedding ceremony?", I reckon I'd be at least six bucks richer! So, I felt it was time to point out the differences... and, in my opinion... they're minor and could save you hundreds!

Legals only wedding of Kirsty & Richie - Ningi, QLD - 1st November 2020

Kirsty wanted the most basic of ceremonies. "At the kitchen table, keep it simple, nothing fancy, legals only, jeans and t-shirts, just Richie and me, and our two witnesses. Okay?"

"Okay, no problem."

Could you imagine my perspiration levels when her mother (a dear friend of mine) asked me to keep it secret that she'd ordered a bespoke wedding cake, invited over a dozen guests, and insisted on dressing her daughter's kitchen table with cup cakes, flowers, and her own wedding veil from 35 years prior...

And everything that could go wrong... didn't.


Kirsty and Richie's ceremony was done and dusted in under 6 minutes, including signing and witnessing all of their marriage certificates.

Full wedding ceremony of Amy & Connor - Perth, WA - 5th January 2020

At the other end of the marriage ceremony spectrum, my very first wedding included:

  • Traditional wedding dress code

  • Readings

  • Personal vows

  • A live band

  • 100 guests

  • Rituals

  • Dancing

  • A 2 hour full bridal party wedding rehearsal

  • Restaurant reception

  • MC and speeches

The ceremony was my wedding gift to my daughter, Amy and her fiancé, Connor.

So, what's the difference? And is there some middle ground, I hear you ask.


Legals only wedding of Shannon & Nick - Buderim Falls, QLD - 31st October 2020

In my opinion, your legals only ceremony can include almost everything that's included in a full wedding ceremony.

Readings, vows, rituals and even dancing... except we skip the wedding rehearsal bit, which also saves me staying up until the wee small hours finishing your wedding script.

And feel free to enjoy a huge reception and dancing afterwards!

The three reasons why I really shouldn't tell you this...

  1. This is likely to annoy the hell out of every other celebrant out there.

  2. At just $295 for a legals only ceremony, you just got a (virtually all frills) wedding at half price,

  3. And I just did myself out of at least an extra $300.

Legals only wedding of Kirsten & Michael - Chapel Hill, QLD - 19th December 2020

Not to mention... your legals only ceremony can also include a quirky photo after the event.

No extra charge :-)


Click here for some more inspiration...

My Top 20 Romantic, Non-religious Wedding Readings:


I hope this has been super helpful!

I’m here to help you save money, inspire you with new ideas, and to help make your special day as fun, as unique and as safe, but, most importantly, as memorable as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Registered Marriage Celebrant - Brisbane (A20981)

ABN: 42138904403

Phone: 0412 185 601



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