When you choose me to be your wedding celebrant, I will guide you through the entire process to make it easy for you
While you’re thinking about the fun and festivities of your wedding, I’ll make sure that your legal matters are all taken care of. You won’t need to worry about that side of it but here is some information from The Marriage Act 1961, broken down in easy to understand language:
To marry in Australia, you must be 18 years of age. If one of the couple is under 18 but over 16, you can apply to the courts for a special dispensation. However, this is usually only granted in rare and exceptional circumstances. It would be best to consult a lawyer before pursuing this path.
There are certain requirements under the law regarding statements that must be made during a ceremony. The celebrant must say ‘The Monitum’, a reminder to the couple of the serious nature of the undertaking they make that day. The couple must also publicly declare their vows to each other and include a particular statement.
Notice of Intended Marriage
The Notice of Intended Marriage is a form that the celebrant will supply and help you to complete. It must be lodged at least one month prior to the marriage. While this time can be shortened under special circumstances, it is usually unable to be changed. A copy of this form can be downloaded from the Federal Attorney General’s web site . The Notice of Intended Marriage must be signed by the couple in front of the celebrant or other witness as specified on the form.
Proof of Identity
If you were born in Australia,
An original of your birth certificate must be shown to your celebrant. If you do not have original documentation, you can apply for it at the State Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Usually applications can be lodged on-line, or you can download an application form. You will also require a second form of identification such as a driving licence.
If you were born overseas,
You may present an original of your birth certificate, but some official translation may be required. Alternatively, you can use an overseas passport provided it clearly states your name, date and place of birth. If you do not have a birth certificate or passport, you may need to attempt to locate original documentation, which could necessitate a visit to the consulate of your country of origin. If, under exceptional circumstances, you cannot obtain your documents and all reasonable attempts to do so have been made, you may need to sign a Statutory Declaration regarding your birth details. You will also require a second form of identification such as a driving licence.
If you have been married before and divorced
The original of the Decree Absolute or Certificate of Divorce from your last marriage will need to be sighted by the celebrant. If you do not have original documentation, you will need to approach the court for a new certificate.
If your previous spouse died
The original of the Death Certificate will need to be shown to your celebrant. If you cannot locate the original documentation, you will need to approach the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the appropriate state for a new certificate.
Code of Practice
The celebrant should have on display their qualifications and a copy of the Code of Practice for Civil Marriage Celebrants. If you have any complaints about your celebrant, you can make a complaint to the Federal Attorney General’s Department.
There is a requirement under the Marriage Act that you include a particular sentence, however, the remainder of the vows is your choice.
I will provide you with sample ceremonies in order to give you options but many couples prefer to write their own ceremony and vows. When reciting the vows the couples usually face each other and the celebrant reads the vows out loud, phrase-by-phrase, and the couple repeats them in turn. Some couples read their vows from cue cards or memorise them; any of these methods is acceptable and it is completely your choice.
Two witnesses over the age of 18 are required. The couple must supply the witnesses and they can be from the wedding party, relatives or friends.
If you have any questions on the above, please feel free to contact me on 0418 121 719 as I’m only too happy to clarify anything you may be confused about.
Let me guide you towards your special day, as your wedding celebrant, and together, let’s make your ceremony the most amazing time of your life.