What do we have to do first?
Step one is to give me a call on +61 403440037 or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please ask me any questions that you may have, and as we chat you’ll be able to tell me some of your thoughts and plans for your wedding.
This is one of my favourite parts of being a Celebrant – learning about you, your story, and what you envision for your wedding day.
Nothing is set in stone at this stage. It’s simply a good chance to get to know each other a little.
I'll also outline the various legal requirements regarding marriage in Australia to you.
And we’ll check the date, to make sure I’m available – before we go too much further along.
What are the legal requirements for marriage in Australia?
The first legal item to tick off the list is lodging a form called the Notice of Intended Marriage with a licenced and qualified Celebrant.
I will supply this form, and all of the legal forms that will be required moving forward.
In order for the marriage to take place, the Notice of Intended Marriage must be lodged with your Celebrant no later than one calendar month prior to the wedding date, and no sooner than eighteen months prior to the wedding date.
Once the Notice of Intended Marriage has been signed, dated, and witnessed by your Celebrant, you are “on the clock.”
It all begins to feel pretty exciting and real!
It’s a vital part of your Celebrant’s job to oversee the legal requirements for your marriage, to ensure that everything is completed accurately and in the correct order, and to register your marriage with the Department of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in whichever state or territory it takes place.
Here’s an interesting tid-bit that isn’t widely known: Your Celebrant carries the responsibility for the legal validity of your marriage.
What Do We Need In Order To Lodge A Notice of Intended Marriage?
Both people who are to be married need to show the Celebrant photographic ID and evidence of place and date of birth.
If a current passport is available, it ticks both boxes at the same time.
Otherwise, a driver’s licence, a proof of age card, an RSL membership card, anything current with a photograph, plus an originalbirth certificate, will fill the bill.
What If I Can’t Find My Birth Certificate?
No problem. A new one can be easily obtained by applying to the relevant state of territory in which you were born.
As long as your Celebrant can see your birth certificate and record its details on the Notice of Intended Marriage before the wedding date, everything will be fine.
What other Legal Requirements Are There?
There are four more legal documents that I will provide and explain to you.
One is a statutory declaration of no known legal impediment to the marriage, which you both sign and I witness just before the ceremony.
If there is to be a rehearsal we can do it then, or I can catch up with each of you prior to the ceremony on the day.
(Regardless, I always like to check in with both my brides and grooms before the ceremony starts.)
During the ceremony and while at the signing table, you will each need a witness of 18 years or older.
Five of us sign three documents, yourselves, your witnesses, and me.
I will provide the documents and have them all ready to go – two certificates of marriage – one of which is a presentation copy that you keep – and the marriage register – what’s known as “the big red book.”
During the “signing” there are often lovely moments for some wonderful photos to be taken.
What If One Of Us Wants To Change Our Name?
All of my wedding packages include purchase of the certified copy of your marriage certificate from the Department of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.
This is the document you will need for any name changes on bank accounts, drivers licences, passports, etc.
Even if no name changes are desired, it is an important document to keep safely in your files.
What If One Of Us Is Divorced?
If either party has been divorced, the Celebrant needs to see and record details from the original divorce certificate on the Notice of Intended Marriage.
What If We Can’t Find The Divorce Certificate?
This is not uncommon. You can order another one from the Family Law Court where the divorce took place.
Once again, as long as your Celebrant can record the details from an original divorce certificate on the Notice of Intended Marriage prior to the wedding ceremony, it’s all fine.
Any Other Legal Bits and Pieces?
Just a few.
There are a couple of specific words and phrases that must be spoken by the Celebrant, along with a very few from yourselves during the exchange of your legal vows. These words and phrases need to be included in your wedding ceremony in order for your marriage to be legal and valid.
But there aren’t many of them at all, and they are easily incorporated into whatever style and type of ceremony that you would like me to design and write for you.
After We Have Lodged The Notice of Intended Marriage With You, What Happens Then?
From that point on I am available to you by phone, email, text, and/or getting together with you to discuss any and all ideas or suggestions that might cross your mind.
I’ll be available to you every step of the way to assist with any questions or concerns throughout the entire process,
Very shortly after meeting and chatting with you, I will write a first draft of your wedding ceremony and email it to you.
That will give you a template from which to add and subtract any inclusions, ideas, thoughts, words, readings, or anything else that you might want to consider.
Every wedding ceremony that I write and develop is different. And nothing about your ceremony needs to be absolutely decided upon until you are happy with the final draft.
This is what is so wonderful about weddings in Australia today. They can be designed to reflect and celebrate – include or not include – whatever the couple feels suits them.
And doing that is another part of my job that I absolutely love.
What If We Are A Couple From Overseas Wanting To Be Married In Australia?
No stress at all. I have married couples from overseas here in Australia.
Via email, phone calls – including via skype or Facebook Messenger, etc., we’ll be able to get to know each other just fine.
And I can easily guide you through how to get all of the legal components in order and achieved in time from wherever it is you live.
Then, when you arrive in Australia, we’ll get together and finish dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s before your wedding.
It’s all part of my job. Your job is to enjoy a stress-free wonderful wedding day and your visit Down Under!
Do You Have A Professional PA System?
Yes. A MIPRO. One of the best PA systems out there. And it’s wireless. No cords or cables to trip over.
And my “Better Half” is a great roadie and sound guy!
What Are We Likely to Discuss When We Get Together With You?
Depending on how much both of you feel comfortable about sharing, we might chat together about some of the following:
How did you meet? When did you decide to get married? How did the proposal come about?
Have you set a date yet? Do you have a venue booked, or a place or spot in mind where you would like to have your wedding?
How many guests do you think you might have?
What are your initial thoughts about the style of wedding you would like to have? Formal or informal? Something in between?
Will you be exchanging a ring or rings? Would the bride like to be presented by her father or parents to be married? How about the groom? Might there be any favourite poems or readings you would like to have included in the ceremony? Or perhaps music playing or being performed while the bridal party is busy at the signing table? Will there be bridesmaids, groomsmen, flowers girls, or ring bearers? Maybe you are considering a theme? Would you like to include vows in your own words for each other as well as the legal vows?
There are lots of ideas and things to think about, and your wedding ceremony may have as many or as few features as you would both like it to have.
If you decide to book with me, I have a collection of sample ceremonies, readings, and poems that you are welcome to see if you feel that would help you get you started.
Are You Able To Refer Us To Florists, Jewellers, Musicians, Photographers, and so on?
Yes, I am.
What If We Have More Questions?
Please get in touch. You are always welcome to ask me any and everything that might come to mind.
I love my job, and I’m here to help.