Contact us at: ntcelebrants1@gmail.com

NANCY BATENBURG

My Story 

As a long-term NT and Darwin resident (since 1973), I became a qualified, authorized marriage celebrant in 2006 and have skills and experience in a variety of ceremonies, in a range of locations, and with knowledge of many local suppliers. I am an ex-teacher of 38 years with the NT Department of Education, having worked in urban and remote locations, but I am now a business owner. I am a naturalized Australian (Ukrainian / Russian background and Canadian by birth), married (for over 40 years) and mother of three children and grandmother of four grandchildren

My individual celebrant business is called ‘Dream Dancer Celebrations’ because I spend much time talking to couples and people who want their day to be the dream that they visualize. However, several years ago, a group of Darwin celebrants banded together to form a collective, and we are also known as NT Celebrants.

I am a romantic at heart. I want your ceremony, whether it’s a marriage ceremony or a commitment, renewal of vows or baby naming ceremony to be as loving, meaningful and inclusive as you want. My services begin with your very first phone call, when I try to find out exactly what you want – and what information you need to be informed about many of the choices you will need to make during this journey towards matrimony, commitment or inclusion of children in your lives. I want you to be the star of your show – and I work hard to make sure that you have the resources, my time and energy and assistance to make that happen. I am happy to travel – with the proviso that there may be additional costs to my standard fee, dependent upon location – and have performed ceremonies across Darwin, the rural area and interstate. No place is too far away or too remote.   

I provide resources to help you. Whether that means my time in a quick phone call or Skype connection, hard-copy or electronic samples of ceremonies or parts of ceremonies such as vow examples, or descriptions of ceremonies suitable for inclusion within the master ceremony, such as a Unity Candle lighting, a Sand Ceremony or hand-fasting, I support my clients. Scared of crowds? We work with that to minimize the stress. Uncertain of words? I provide you with resources and ideas to claim your own words and individualise your ceremony as you want it.

Need me to fit in with your schedule? I fully understand. I work from home (mostly) and am the owner of two businesses, one in Darwin but the other based in Brisbane. I commute regularly but your dates take priority. Want to use technology to talk? Contact me using the contact form attached to this website, ring on either my landline or mobile, email, Skype… how do you want to talk? I’m always happy to answer general inquiries.

As a part of NT Celebrants, you know that you have chosen an experienced, registered and authorised marriage celebrant – but one skilled in a variety of other ceremonies. We also guarantee that if, on the day of your wedding, illness strikes and your chosen celebrant cannot perform your ceremony, we will find you another celebrant at no additional cost to you.

I am not just a celebrant; I also train other celebrants as a registered trainer through Gordon TAFE (Geelong, Victoria), one of three nationally accredited celebrant training and professional development providers. I specialize in those marriages that may be ‘difficult’ in terms of requiring specific advice about overseas partners or those partners with limited English. While I am not an Immigration Agent or associated with the Department of Immigration, and I can offer no advice on visas, I am very comfortable with Marriage Act guidelines and what is required for a valid marriage in Australia. I work well with case officers, either overseas or within Australia. Couples are often referred to me for that reason.

Marriage Ceremonies

I like marriage ceremonies. I like the excitement, the energy and the sheer happiness of those days. I like the lead-up to them too, those days where we plan exactly what you want and it all comes together on your big day. Three are legalities though and currently those are not-negotiable so there will be statements that I must make as your celebrant to your gathered guests as well as statements that you each must make in front of your gathered guests. I’ll help you through those but we’ll work together to create exactly what you want on your wedding day.

I do not perform ‘surprise’ weddings in that the surprise is on either the bride or groom on the appointed day. As unromantic as it might be, there are legalities which must be fulfilled, and that includes a thirty day ‘cooling off’ period for both bride and groom. However, if the surprise is for gathered guests and the bride and groom both understand the need to be fully informed legally about all steps along the way towards that marriage ceremony, I am more than happy to keep the secret – but both bride and groom must agree ahead of time to such a ceremony taking place!

I also am knowledgeable about those ceremonies where there must be a shortening of time, whether due to immediate deployment overseas, terminal illness or other specified circumstances. However, normal regulations apply so ‘spur of the moment’ weddings, where a couple decide to marry the next weekend, cannot be performed until all legalities, including that legally mandated thirty day waiting period, have been fulfilled.

Naming, Name-giving and Welcome Ceremonies

The civil equivalent to a Christening in a church is a Naming Ceremony. Usually such ceremonies include details about why your child has received his or her specific name and a formal welcome and introduction to your family (often including input, gift-giving and additional small ceremonies such as a Unity Candle lighting with the child’s siblings, parents’ siblings and/or grandparents and friends). This formal introduction to family, friends and the world and our promises to guide, protect and love this child are important.

This is also a ceremony which can involve step-children or adopted children who need to know that they have loving adults around them in a formal expression of inclusion. I can be a ceremony for babies but also for older children in blended families.  However, I have also done a Naming Ceremony for a person who achieved academic distinction and changed his title. It was more than a graduation ceremony; it was acknowledgement of his new status within his family. 

Renewal of Vows

Renewal of vows often occurs on key anniversaries of importance to the couple but can be performed at any significant milestone or event. Whether married or committed to each other, a renewal of vows holds special significance to each couple. A vow renewal can be a simple ceremony between a couple and me, as your celebrant, or involve family, friends and colleagues in a ceremony as big or little as you want it to be.

My services include:                                                                                    

  • As much information as you need to inform your celebrant choice in a no-obligation phone call or Skype connection. Whether local, interstate or from overseas, let me know how I can help you.

    • Please note: if you are getting married, prior to the marriage ceremony I will need to sight original documents and have a face-to-face meeting to verify signatures and photo ID of both bride and groom.

  • An initial no-obligation meeting where the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) can be completed and lodged with me (for marriages) or options discussed (other ceremonies).

  • A check of your legal documents to ensure the legality and eventual successful registration of your marriage

  • As much planning and discussion time as you need, whether than means one meeting face to face and twelve email contacts or seven face-to-face meetings. I am usually available from 5 pm onwards but Saturdays are problematic in that I am usually out and marrying someone!

  • As much or as little writing assistance as you need and want. Want to write your own vows? Please do. Want me to create something for you based on our discussions? That too can be arranged.

  • As many resources as you want and need, whether hard copy or electronic

  • Inclusion of young children, aged relatives, mention of deceased loved ones, any family members (including much beloved pets) in the ceremony itself.

  • Inclusion of ceremonies and your cultural beliefs within the main ceremony, eg Unity Candle lighting, Sand Ceremony, Rose Petal ceremony, hand-fasting, Wine Sharing ceremony

  • Inclusion of spiritual elements in your ceremony. If you want a blessing, inclusion of Bible verses or significant readings, songs, chants, etc in your ceremony, I am happy to oblige. If you want hula dancing, dogs carrying the rings or music played, I am happy to include them.

  • A no-obligation draft of your ceremony for your approval prior to performance of that ceremony

  • A rehearsal in the couple of days before your ceremony, either in my home office or on–site to practice the ‘choreography’ of your ceremony

  • Use of my portable table and brocade cream tablecloth during the ceremony if necessary

  • A reliable, joyous and happy rendition of your ceremony on your big day. If you’re excited, so am I!

Commitment Ceremonies

Whether you are the same gender as your partner or a heterosexual couple who want to declare your love and commitment to each other, a commitment ceremony can include whatever elements that you want and need. Often including the exchange of rings and vows, these ceremonies are only restricted by your imagination. While there is no limit to what can be included (as long as it is polite and legally allowed in our society), currently there are legal restrictions against same gender couples marrying in a marriage ceremony as outlined above. This is currently a topic of discussion in our Federal Parliament. Please ring or email your local member if you wish to register your views with your local political representative, particularly those in Federal Parliament.

Croning (Wise Woman) and Saging (Wise Man) Ceremony

Oh these ceremonies are fun, fun, fun! While, in some cultures, these ceremonies are an acknowledged and culturally important milestone in life, and therefore celebrated with a special ceremony, often people just want to recognize milestones in their lives. Often celebrated at the end of menopause (Wise Woman or the Crone) or upon retirement, these ceremonies can be as grand, or as simple as you want.

However, there is always a declaration at the end, so no ex-colleagues or business rivals can argue with the new status as a Crone or Sage of importance as you begin the next phase of your life journey. It is a time to celebrate achievements, joys, sorrows, and future plans. It’s a ceremony that is only restricted by your imagination.

Contact

If you would like to contact me individually please complete the contact box otherwise please contact me on 0417 879 041.

I look forward to hearing from you.