Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the legal requirements for marriage in Australia?
a. Both parties must both be over 18 years of age. If one person is under the age of 18 marriage is still possible, but it will require parental/court consent.
b. A Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) must be lodged with a Celebrant at least one calendar month prior to the ceremony. My service includes preparation of this document. I must also view your original birth certificates and passports. If either party has been previously married, I will need original certificates of death or divorce. Note: Uncertified photocopies of documents are not acceptable.
c. The ceremony must be witnessed by two people, over 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.
e. I will provide you with the pamphlet titled Happily Ever Before and After.
2. Can we be married sooner than the minimum time permits (30 days)?
If special circumstances exist, local Court or Registry Officials may approve your request.
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.
3. What can and can’t we include in our marriage ceremony?
A Civil Marriage Celebrant has certain obligations under the Marriage Act 1961, which I will explain to you. Once these obligations are met, the contents of the marriage ceremony are up to you. I can write the entire ceremony or guide you in writing your own ceremony. You may wish to include symbols, a special dedication or cultural tradition.
4. Who can act as a witness to the ceremony?
Two people, over the age of eighteen are required to act as witnesses. 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. Do we have to attend any pre-marital courses?
No, this is not obligatory, 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
Relatewell 03 9354 8854 www.relatewell.org.au
6. How do I change my name after the marriage ceremony?
A bride can obtain a marriage certificate after the wedding from the Office of Births Deaths and Marriages in the state in which she was married and apply to Vic Roads, Medicare, the Electoral Office, etc to have her name changed on their records.
Whilst a valid marriage certificate will not change her name on her birth certificate / birth record, it would allow her to legally change her name on all of her identification documents.
7. Can I use the Marriage Certificate we receive at our marriage ceremony to evidence a name change?
No. The certificate you receive at 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.
8. 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 should contact the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages and complete 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.
9. Do I have to be “Given Away’?
It has been traditional in religious services for the bride to be given away by her father, or a senior male relative (where the father has passed away) - however, whether you walk down the aisle alone, or accompanied by someone, is purely your choice.
You may prefer both parents, a favourite uncle, your children – anyone you wish, you can have accompany you down the aisle. There is no legal requirement for the bride to be “Given Away”.
10. We don’t want a big fuss for our wedding, we just want an intimate ceremony. Do we have to have anyone attend?
The law requires that two witnesses aged 18 years or over must be present at a marriage.
11. How soon do I need to book my celebrant?
Professional Celebrants are busy, so please think about booking as soon as you have decided on your date. Call and make a time for an obligation-free appointment.
12. How often do I meet with my Celebrant?
I offer up to three face to face meetings and will keep in touch with you via phone and email. You are welcome to contact me as often as needed in the lead up to your wedding, and I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
13. How long does a Marriage Ceremony take?
All wedding ceremonies vary to some degree and the length of ceremony is totally up to you both. It will be dependent on the other content you would like to have. With the two legal requirements included, I find that on average, my ceremonies go for about 15-20 minutes. If you would like your wedding ceremony to be shorter or longer, this is easily achieved after discussions at our catch up meeting. The marriage ceremony is a very special part of the whole wedding day, so I encourage you to please take the time to consider what you would like to incorporate. I am here to help you achieve a ceremony that you both like
Frequently asked questions can also be found : http://www.bdm.vic.gov.au/home/marriages/marriages+faqs/