Frequently Asked Questions
Can a friend or family member deliver the Ceremony?
Can I include other children at the same ceremony?
Can we get married next weekend?
If you have lodged a notice of intent to marry form in the required time - a month and a day before your wedding date, and fulfilled the required legal requirements, then yes, you can. If you haven't lodged the notice of intent to marry form within this time frame, then no, you cannot. The notice of intended marriage form needs to be lodged with an authorised celebrant (religious or civil). This form is valid for eighteen months from the date of lodgement.
Under certain circumstances a shortening of this time may be granted by a prescribed authority. For more information ask your celebrant or download a free copy of the Explanatory Material on the Marriage Act which has a section on Shortening of Time.
Changing your name on your passport?
Did you know that in Australia if a change of name on a passport - due to marriage - is applied for within 12 months of the marriage, the Passport Office will issue a new passport free of charge provided there is at least two years still left on the passport. It is issued to the same expiry date. If you apply after twelve months... you have to pay the full fee!
Do we get a certificate for our Wedding Ceremony?
Do we have to exchange wedding rings?
You are not legally required to exchange wedding rings. However, it is a tradition since early times to honour the commitment you are making to each other. The ring has come to symbolise the never ending nature of love.
Nowadays some grooms are choosing not to wear a wedding ring due to occupational health and safety concerns. Some may exchange a ring on the day and wear it only on social occasions. If only one ring is being exchanged, it can be acknowledged that this ring is the symbol for them both of their shared love and commitment.
I had a couple who decided to buy a special gift for each other instead. His present was a set of golf clubs!
Do we have to have Wedding Attendants such as bridesmaids and best-men?
No, this is a personal choice. If you do decide to have wedding attendants, you may wish to choose from one to six for your bridal party, being careful not to overdo if you are planning a small wedding. Nowadays you can also have male and female attendants for either the bride or groom. It is also ok to ask them for equal support rather than having to choose one person to be the best man or chief bridesmaid.
Do you bring a Public Address (PA) system?
How can I involve a few special family and friends?
How do I choose my celebrant?
There are many different marriage celebrants offering many different styles of weddings. Whether you want a religious, interfaith or civil ceremony you are encouraged to find a celebrant that suits you. Give them a call and have a chat with them. Your wedding ceremony is a very important part of your day and it's essential that you have a ceremony that you will remember, for all the right reasons, for many years to come. If you have to have a registrar or celebrant that is not quite of your liking, due to circumstances outside of your control, then ask if you can have family and friends involved to offer readings, sing or even deliver parts of the ceremony.
Marriage celebrants are encouraged to offer a choice of ceremonies, or assist the couple in writing their own. They are required to abide by the Celebrants Code of Practice. It would be wise to find someone who you feel comfortable with and feel confident that he/she suits your needs and will complement your special day. Ring and make an appointment to meet the celebrant if you are uncertain. It is also advisable to confirm your wedding arrangements in writing in plenty of time before the day.
Also make sure they are registered to conduct marriages.
How long does the ceremony last?
Usually a basic ceremony takes about 20 minutes but it can be up to 30 minutes or more if there are a few readings and other activities included. In Australia, many families are choosing to hold the naming ceremony outdoors. If so, it is important that the location is in the shade, it is quiet and also has the option of seating if there are family members who may need it.
How much does a marriage celebrant cost?
In Australia Marriage celebrants authorised by the Australian Government are entitled to charge for any services that they provide. Each celebrant sets their own fees so you will need to discuss this with your celebrant. The celebrant will cost you more than the cake but usually less than the flowers. More than the limousine but less than the photographer. The memory of a vibrant and professional ceelebrant will stay with you forever.
Celebrants have to pay for their own office equipment, stationery, accounting, compulsory celebrant training, insurance, marketing, travel expenses and other sundry expenses. I feel saddened and encouraged to speak out when I hear people say, what 'easy money' it is being a celebrant.
We want to elope. Do we need witnesses?
Yes, you will need to have two witnesses over the age of 18. You may be able to ask staff from the resort where you are staying, or choose a photographer who has an assistant, or the celebrant may be able to organise for two witnesses to attend. At one ceremony I conducted, the couple had one friend come with them and then invited someone walking along the beach to be a witness. He was visiting from New Zealand and was delighted to assist.
What do we need to do now we've decided to get married?
You need to find an authorised celebrant who can conduct the ceremony at the venue you have chosen, at the date and time you want and find out what is legally required in the country you are getting married. In Australia you can find more information about getting married and find a celebrant by visiting The Marriage Celebrants website or search on the internet or yellow pages.
What documents will we need to provide?
If you were born in Australia you will need to provide your original birth certificate. If you were born overseas, your original birth certificate is preferred, however a current passport issued by your country of birth is acceptable.
If you have been married before, you will need to provide the celebrant with proof that any prior marriage has ended whether by divorce or by the death of the other party.
Should any of the above documents be in a foreign language, you will need to provide a certified translation in English.
If one of you is under 18 years of age, the written consent of your parents or guardian will be required.You will also need an order from the court. (Section 10-21 of The Marriage Act 1961) The Marriage Act 1961 can be downloaded for further information.
Please refer to the legal requirements in your country.
What is the immigration process in Australia?
Can I change the name on my driver's licence with the Marriage Certificate the celebrant gives me on my wedding day?
No, you will need to obtain your full Marriage certificate from the Register Office. This can take several weeks depending on workload.
I’ve been married 3 times, will I need all of my divorce papers?
No, you will only need your most recent divorce papers.
Can I fill out my Notice of Intended to Marriage before my divorce is processed?
Yes, but you can’t be married until the celebrant has your final divorce papers.
Will my marriage certificate be automatically sent to me when the paperwork has been sent to BDM?
No, if you want a copy of your official marriage certificate, you will need to apply for it through the relevant BDM.
I have changed my mind about who I want as a marriage celebrant. Do I have to lodge a new NOIM?
No, is the responsibility of the first marriage celebrant to ensure the Notice of Intended Marriage form is transferred safely to the second celebrant by hand or registered post. You must ask the celebrant to transfer the notice for you.
We met and married overseas, but would like to have a service with our family and friends present. Can we have an Australian wedding service?
People who are legally married to each other cannot go through a second form of ceremony to each other. Any Australian service would need to be conducted as a renewal of vows.
We have eloped and married in a registry office, but would now like to have a wedding service. Is this legal?
Your registry office wedding is your official service and you cannot have a second wedding service. The second ceremony will need to be conducted as a renewal of vows.
Can I include my pet as part of the ceremony?
Yes! All ceremonies can be tailor made to suit your requirements. If you would like your pet included in the ceremony, just let your celebrant know.
I am in a same-sex relationship. Can I legally marry my partner?
YES!! The definition of marriage has been changed in Australia to be inclusive of same sex couples. This is so exciting and a very welcome change indeed.