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Wedding 101 - FAQS

What are the legal requirements for marriage in Australia?

You must both be over 18 years of age. If one person is under the age of 18, marriage is still possible by parental consent as per section 12 of the Marriage Act. A Notice of Intended Marriage must be executed and received by me at least one calendar month prior to your marriage ceremony. I will prepare the document and witness your execution of the document. I must also sight your birth certificates or passports. If either of you have been previously married, I will need to sight an original Divorce Certificate or Death Certificate. Certified copies of supporting documentation cannot be accepted. To obtain a copy of your Victorian Birth Certificate or the Victorian Death Certificate of your former spouse contact the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. If you require a copy of your Divorce Certificate or Decree Absolute, contact the Family Law Court in the state in which the marriage was dissolved. For further details visit the Federal Circuit Court of Australia:  

If parties born overseas do not have a passport and are unable to obtain a full birth certificate, I can prepare a statutory declaration for your execution. Foreign language documents must be translated into English and a NAATI accredited Translation Certificate supplied. The ceremony must be witnessed by two people, over the age of eighteen years. I cannot act as a witness. The Marriage Act 1961 requires that certain statements are included in your ceremony. I will explain this in more detail at our first meeting.


What about same sex marriage?

Marriage equality arrived in Australia in December 2017, and I am thrilled to be able to help you celebrate your love.


Will I need a rehearsal?

Under the Celebrants’ Code of Practice, if requested by you, I will conduct a rehearsal at a mutually agreed time, date and place. 


What if we wish to be married sooner than the minimum time permits?

If special circumstances exist, a Prescribed Authority may approve your Application to Shorten Period of Notice of Intent to Marry.

Special circumstances are:


1. Employment related or other travel commitments.

2. Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations.

3. Medical reasons.

4. Legal proceedings.

5. Error in giving notice.


You must attach documents as evidence of your reason for shortening, such as letters of employment, travel documents, airline tickets, receipts of payment, letters from medical practitioners or court orders. Your executed NOIM, copies of your supporting identity documents and a letter from your celebrant should also be included.


What can, and can’t we include in our marriage ceremony?

A Civil Marriage Celebrant has certain obligations under the Marriage Act 1961. I will explain these to you during our first meeting. Once these obligations are met, the contents of the marriage ceremony are up to you. I can write the entire ceremony as overseen by you or guide you in writing your own ceremony. You may wish to include symbols, a special dedication or a cultural tradition or ritual.


Who can act as a witness to the ceremony?

Two people, over the age of eighteen are required to act as witnesses. They should be able to speak and understand English, otherwise an interpreter will be required. At the completion of the ceremony you, the Marriage Celebrant and the witnesses will be required to sign the Marriage Register and Marriage Certificate.


What is a surprise wedding ceremony?

A surprise wedding ceremony is a ceremony whereby most guests, if not all, only learn that a marriage ceremony is to take place moments beforehand. Often guests arrive believing they are attending an engagement or birthday party. The surprise element cannot extend to any party to the marriage. In other words, no matter how romantic or appropriate the gesture may seem, a Groom cannot surprise his Bride (or vice versa) with a marriage ceremony.


Do we have to attend any pre-marital courses?

No. However you may wish to contact the organisations below:

Relationships Australia 1300 364 277

Interrelate 1300 736 966

I will also provide you with the pamphlet Happily Ever... Before and After and Strengthen Your Love.


How do I change my name after the marriage ceremony?

A groom or bride can obtain a marriage certificate after the wedding from the office of Births Deaths and Marriages in the state in which he/she was married and apply to Vic Roads, the Immigration DepartmentMedicare, the Electoral Office etc to have his/her surname changed on their records. A valid marriage certificate will not change the name on a birth certificate / birth record.


Can I use the Marriage Certificate we receive at our marriage ceremony to evidence a name change?

No. The certificate you receive at the end of your ceremony is a commemorative certificate and will not support your application to change your identity documents. I will lodge the official documentation with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages on your behalf after the marriage ceremony. You should then contact the Registry directly to obtain a legally recognised certificate. 


We are having a commitment ceremony, but I still wish to change my surname. How do I do this?

As your ceremony will not be a legally recognised marriage ceremony, you will not be issued with an official marriage certificate by the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. After your ceremony, you will need to contact the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in your state and lodge an Application to Register a Change of Name. The process will cost approximately $90. You will then be issued with a Change of Name Certificate. This can be used to change your identification documents.


How far in advance should I enquire with you?

Please contact me at any stage of your planning (via my Enquiry Form or Mobile) and I'd be happy to confirm my availability. Note: A minimum of one months’ notice is required to fill out a Notice of intended Marriage – this can be completed to 18 months maximum. A shortening of Time application can be made under certain circumstances.


Do you conduct interstate or international ceremonies?

Yes! I conduct ceremonies throughout Australia and internationally. 

 I'm happy to travel elsewhere too. Please call and I will let you know how I'm placed.

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