Peter asks:

By when in the process must we have given the required documents to the couple?

I have been giving the required documents (happily ever…, code of practice, complaint info, etc.) with the engagement letter / quote, however, often I only have an email address at this stage for one party, not both. As I understand it, this doesn’t satisfy the requirements of the act (giving happily ever… effectively to only one party).

Upon booking, that’s when I get my now clients to give me their complete contact information. I’ve trialed different methods of getting complete contact info on enquiry but nothing has really been effective.

I’m trying to optimise my systems and I don’t want to send more emails in my workflow than I have to, so I was wondering can I send this info at the point of our planning meeting (circa 4 months out) as part of an email that already sits in my workflow rather than at the point of booking?

I give the Code of Practice, complaints procedure, etc as part of my Ceremony Builder Booklet, which they get after they’ve booked and paid my booking fee (I strongly recommend not giving couples anything until they’ve actually paid you money). Part of the booking process is for them to give me both of their contact details.

I firmly believe that kind of information needs to be given to them at the time of booking, because it is relevant to the entire process of working with you, not just from the planning meeting onwards. If you send a receipt or anything for their booking fee, that’s when I would send that info – they’ve booked you, they’ve given you their info, they’ve paid money, and you’re responding by giving them the info they need.

With the Happily Ever blah blah, the Act requires that we give it as close as possible to receiving the NOIM. So that’s what I do; when I meet with them three months before their ceremony for planning and NOIM lodgement, that’s when I give it to them. If they’re both sitting in front of me and they live in the same house, they only get one (despite the new Guidelines suggesting they should get one each – which is not actually a requirement of the Act by my reading of it) because otherwise it’s a waste of paper. If I’m only meeting one of them for whatever reason, I email it to the other party.