Why is a Celebrant so important?
Your Celebrant and your ceremony are arguably the most important aspects of your wedding, because without them you wouldn’t actually be legally married, it would just be a really expensive party! It’s completely understandable if you meet with several Celebrants before you make your decision, it has to be a right fit, and for this reason I offer all couples a no-obligation, free first meeting for us to get to know each other.
How do your services work, what is the process of preparing our ceremony?
- We will start a no-obligation, free initial meeting, where you have the chance to ask me any questions you might have, get to know me, and discuss your big day. I will get a feel for your overall style, tone and personalities, as well as any ideas you might have.
- If you choose to book me as your Celebrant, we will select and/or tailor a package for you, and sign a service agreement and statement of fees. These documents outline my terms and conditions, each party’s responsibilities, and your payment schedule.
- A booking fee will be required to secure your wedding date, and I will then provide you with a welcome pack detailing the next steps and important information you may need.
- I will need to sight some identity documents, and we will need to lodge your intent to marry with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
- Next we will keep in touch to write your personal ceremony, and I will also collect information regarding the venue, your attendants, important family members and anything else significant that I may need to be aware of.
- Depending on which package you have selected, you may also be provided with my resource booklet, a rehearsal and/or a commemorative ceremony booklet.
- After your marriage ceremony, I register your marriage and order your official marriage certificates from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to be posted out to you once they have finalised everything on their end.
What are the legal requirements to get married in Australia?
- One party to the marriage can be under 18 years of age, but no younger than 16 years of age, and at least one of you must be 18 years or older.
- In the event that one party to the marriage is under 18 years of age, you will need written consent from your parent(s) and a Judge or Magistrate. Your Celebrant will need to sight these documents.
- A Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form must be lodged with a Celebrant at least one calendar month but no more than 18 months prior to the wedding ceremony.
- At the time of completing the NOIM, I am required to sight your original birth certificates or passports, as well as photo identity documents (eg: drivers license).
- If either of you have been previously married, I will need to sight an original Divorce Certificate (Decree Absolute) or Death Certificate.
- To obtain a copy of your Birth Certificate or the Death Certificate of your former spouse, contact the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages where the birth/death was registered.
- 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.
- If parties born overseas do not have a passport and are unable to obtain a full birth certificate, I can provide a statutory declaration for you to complete. This must state why it is impossible for you to obtain the required documents.
- Foreign language documents must be translated into English, and a NAATI accredited Translation Certificate must be supplied.
- There are some legally required items that must be said (and heard by your witnesses and guests) during your ceremony, which we will discuss in detail during our meetings and when writing your ceremony.
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:
- Employment related or other travel commitments.
- Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations.
- Medical reasons.
- Legal proceedings.
- Error in giving notice.
What if we need to postpone our wedding?
If your new wedding date is still within the notice period requirements for the NOIM, you simply need to negotiate availability with your Celebrant and other vendors or suppliers.
In the event that your new wedding date falls outside of the notice period requirements for the NOIM, the existing NOIM will need to be cancelled and new NOIM issued.
Can visitors be married in Australia?
Overseas visitors do not have to be residents of Australia or here for the full notice period. The Notice of Intended Marriage form needs to be lodged with your celebrant at least one month before the ceremony, as with any marriage performed in Australia.
Do we have to attend a pre-marital course?
No, this is not a legal requirement, however I will provide with the Happily Ever… Before and After pamphlet, and information on some local Relationship Services and family/couples counselling options that you can choose to engage with if you wish.
How long does a marriage ceremony go for?
This is highly dependent on how much content you would like to include, and whether or not you will be incorporating symbolic rituals or several readings. As a general guideline, you can expect your ceremony to take between 15 and 30 minutes.
How do I change my name after marriage?
Either or both members of the couple can choose to change their name following marriage. Once you have received your official marriage certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state in which you were married, you can simply assume your partners last name.
You will need to present this marriage certificate to all the places where you need to change your name, such as VicRoads, the Immigration Department, Medicare, and the Electoral Office.
Alternatively, if either/both of you are changing your name via hyphenation or creating a new name together, you will need to complete a full Change of Name process via the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state where you were born.
Can I use the Marriage Certificate we receive at our ceremony to change my name?
Unfortunately not! The certificate you receive at the end of your ceremony is government issued and has a serial number unique to you, but it is only commemorative and will not support you in changing your name or obtaining new identity documents.
How far in advance should I book my Celebrant?
Peak wedding season tends to fall between October and April due to the warmer, dryer weather most likely to occur in those months. If you are planning your wedding within this period, you can expect most vendors and suppliers to book out 12-15 months in advance.
Outside of this period, you should find availability to be a little more flexible. Furthermore, it is certainly still worth enquiring with vendors and suppliers even if your wedding date is less than 12 months away, because cancellations and changes can happen quite frequently, or we may be able to recommend an alternative industry professional for you.
Can I get married anywhere in Australia?
Absolutely! An Authorised Marriage Celebrant is permitted to perform wedding ceremonies anywhere in Australia. This includes remote islands, hot air balloons, airplanes and boats. The marriage must be registered in the State or Territory where the marriage was solemnised.
How far are you willing to travel to perform our marriage ceremony?
There are no limits! I love to travel and explore our great state, country and beyond as much as possible! There will, of course, be a fee. I charge per kilometer for locations that are further than 50km from my home office location in Berwick 3806. For interstate and overseas weddings, we may need to discuss flight and accommodation options.
If we want to get married in a park or on a beach, do we need permission?
Yes. It is best to contact the local council in the area you want to get married to see if there are any permits or fees required, and/or any restrictions you should be aware of.
What would happen if you were unable to perform our marriage ceremony?
In the event that I am unable to perform your marriage ceremony, I can assist you with finding a replacement Celebrant but ultimately the choice falls to you. The new Celebrant will need to sight all of your legal documents again (Birth Certificates, Passports, Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate etc), and I will arrange a full handover of all the documents and materials relating to your marriage ceremony that we may have already completed.