1. What are the legal requirements for marriage in Australia?

a. 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.

The Notice of Intended Marriage must be executed and received by me atleast one calendar month prior to your ceremony.

b. A Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) must be lodged with a Celebrant at least one calendar month prior to the wedding ceremony.  I will prepare the document and witness your execution of the document.   I must also sight your original 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 website.

* 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.

c. The ceremony must be witnessed by two people, over the age of eighteen years.  I cannot act as a witness.

d. The Marriage Act 1961 requires that certain statements are included in your ceremony.  I will explain this in more detail at our first meeting.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Do we have to attend any pre-marital courses?

No. However you may wish to contact the organisations below:
Relationships Australia 1300 364 277 www.relationships.com.au
Interrelate 1300 736 966 www.interrelate.org.au

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

7. In addition to conducting our ceremony, can you also sing?

No.  I am not permitted to do so by the Attorney General’s Department as it would constitute a conflict of interest.

8. 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 Department, Medicare, 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.
Note, a Change of Name Kit is provided to you as part of my service.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. How far in advance should I enquire with you?

I tend to book 12-15 months in advance.  That said, please contact me at any stage of your planning (via my Enquiry Form) and I'd be happy to confirm my availability.

12. Do you conduct interstate or international ceremonies?

Yes!  I conduct ceremonies throughout Australia and internationally.  I'm happy to travel elsewhere too.  Just fill out an Enquiry Form and I'll let you know how I'm placed.

13. Do you offer Celebrant coaching sessions?

Indeed I do!  Please send me an email, telling me a little about yourself and your progress as a Celebrant (or student) to date.  From there we can organise a time to meet face to face, via phone or via Skype.  My hourly rate is $150 and a travel fee may apply.


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2018 ABIA Australian Marriage Celebrant of the Year

THREE TIME WINNER - ABIA Victorian Marriage Celebrant of the Year

Image: Warrenphotography

Image: Warrenphotography