Frequently Asked Questions

Intention to Marry Form Download

Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage Form Download

General Information Form Download

1. Will we have a ceremony rehearsal?

As your Adelaide marriage celebrant I believe rehearsals are optional but help to fine tune the script and clarify the ‘when, where and why’. It is preferable that all people participating in the wedding ceremony attend the rehearsal if they are in town at the time – this includes the bridal party, readers, those involved in the giving away and the person you have chosen to operate your recorded music (if applicable). The rehearsal ideally takes place 1-2 weeks before the wedding, and preferably not immediately after the buck’s or hen’s night.

2. What are the legal requirements for marriage in Australia?

You must both be over 18 years of age.  If one person is under the age of 18 marriage is still possible by parental consent as per section 12 of the Marriage Act.A Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) must be lodged with a Celebrant at least one calendar month prior to the wedding ceremony and is valid for 18 months.  I will prepare the document and witness your execution of the document.   I must also sight your original birth certificates or passports and another form of photo ID (i.e driver’s licence).  If either of you have been previously married, I will need to sight an original Divorce Certificate 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.

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. For further details visit Family Law Courts.

  • If parties born overseas do not have a passport and are unable to obtain a full birth certificate, I can prepare a statutory declaration for your execution.
  • Foreign language documents must be translated into English and a NAATI accredited Translation Certificate supplied.

a. The ceremony must be witnessed by two people, over the age of eighteen years.  I cannot act as a witness.

b. The Marriage Act 1961 requires that certain statements are included in your ceremony.  I will explain this in more detail at our first meeting.

c. You must sign a declaration to state that there are no legal impediments to the marriage e.g. being married to someone else, the bride and groom being too closely related etc.

3. 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.

You must attach documents as evidence of your reason for shortening, such as letters of employment, travel documents, airline tickets, receipts of payment, letters from medical practitioners or court orders.  Your executed NOIM, copies of your supporting identity documents and a letter from your celebrant should also be included.

4. What can and can’t we include in our marriage ceremony?

A Civil Marriage Celebrant has certain obligations under the Marriage Act 1961.  I will explain these to you during our first meeting.  Once these obligations are met, the contents of the marriage ceremony are up to you.  I can write the entire ceremony as overseen by you or guide you in writing your own ceremony.   You may wish to include symbols, a special dedication or cultural tradition or ritual.

5. Who can act as a witness to the ceremony?

Two people, over the age of eighteen are required to act as witnesses.  They should be able to speak and understand English, otherwise an interpreter will be required.  At the completion of the ceremony you, the Marriage Celebrant and the witnesses will be required to sign the Marriage Register and Marriage Certificate.

6. What is a surprise wedding ceremony?

A surprise wedding ceremony is one whereby most guests, if not all, only learn that a marriage ceremony is to take place moments before it is to begin.  Often they arrive believing they are attending an engagement or birthday party.  The surprise element cannot extend to a party to the marriage.  In other words, no matter how romantic or appropriate the gesture may seem, a Groom cannot surprise his Bride (or vice versa) with a marriage ceremony.

7. Do we have to attend any pre-marital courses?

No. However you may wish to contact the organisations below:

Relationships Australia 1300 364 277

Interrelate 1300 736 966

I will also provide you with the pamphlet Happily Ever… Before and After.

8. How long will our wedding ceremony go for?

Most civil marriage ceremonies last between 10-15 minutes with an extra 5-7 minutes for the signing of the register and certificates. Your ceremony may be shorter or longer depending on the content you would like to include but generally, allowing 30 minutes from start to finish is a good guide.

9. Can I use the Marriage Certificate we receive at our marriage ceremony to evidence a name change?

No.  The certificate you receive at the end of 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.

10. 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 in your state and lodge an application to Register a Change of Name.  The process will cost approximately $200.  You will then be issued with a Change of Name Certificate.  This can be used to change your identification documents.


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