5 questions to ask your celebrant
Updated: Jan 27
Tell me about the legal paperwork?
To be married in Australia couples must complete 3 forms
a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form must be lodged with an authorised celebrant or minister at least one calendar month before an intended date of marriage. In doing so, documents must be presented to prove identity and place of birth;
you are required to provide your original birth certificate or passport. If these are not in English they must be officially translated. Drivers licence and proof of age can also be accepted. NO photocopies will be accepted.
if either party has been previously married, evidence of the termination must be provided in the form of a divorce certificate (if divorced) or a death certificate (if widowed).
Certificates in a foreign language must be officially translated.
Prior to the wedding a form called the ‘declaration of no legal impediment’ form must be completed stating that you and your partner are;
not married to someone else
not marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild or sibling, or was once part of the family unit
at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between sixteen and eighteen years old
understand what marriage means and freely consent to marrying
This is usually completed at the rehearsal or just before the wedding ceremony.
The offical marriage certificate will be signed during the ceremony (along with a take home certificate and the celebrants offical registry book of marriage certificates). So in total, during the ceremony you will need to be witnessed signing three forms.
The NOIM (notice of intended marriage)
Declaration of no legal impediment
Official wedding certificate
Are sent to the BDM within 14days of the ceremony by the celebrant
2. What MUST be included in the ceremony? To make a marriage legal, and op top of the legal paperwork process outlined above there are only 5 rituals that must be included in a ceremony to make it legal. The rest is optional and based in tradition. These are;
You must have two witnesses over the age of 18
The celebrant must introduce themselves and announce the solemnisation of a wedding
The celebrant must recite the monitum from the marriage act of 1961:
“I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
d. The vows must include: “I call upon the persons here present to witness that I (NAME), take (NAME) to be my lawfully wedded husband/ wife.”
e. The full names of the couple as outlined on their birth certificate must be used at least once throughout the ceremony
3. Is there anything I need to do after the ceremony: No, it is the responsibility of the celebrant to submit all the legal documents to the births deaths and marriages within 14 days of the wedding. If you wish to change your name you will need commence this process yourself.
Here is the link www.changeyourname.com.au
4. Why do you charge what you do? Up to 200 weddings a year are illegally conducted because the celebrant has not followed the proper procedure. So the legal know how and responsibility is very important. More so, each ceremony is drafted personally for the couple - this is the 'behind the scenes work' that no one sees and can be very time consuming. Usually there are 4 meetings leading up to and including the rehearsal and the wedding. Having a celebrant be early for set up and plan the choreography of the wedding specific to the location is the difference between sun in your eyes during the ceremony and the quality of the photos. When the preparatory steps have been taken it is safe to expect a well timed smoothly executed ceremony for both the bridal party and the guests to enjoy. Keep in mind that it is the celebrants job to gain and hold the attention of your guests - this takes skill and after all the money that is spent on a wedding you want your guests leaving on a positive note with only good things to say.
Lastly, the celebrant often provides equipment such as the speakers and this is a large investment for the celebrant. All in all, it is not uncommon to spend up to 24hours preparing for a couples wedding.
If you break it down to an hourly rate based on the average hours involved the price is more than reasonable.
5. Can I ask the celebrant what to wear? Yes absolutely, it is important to team with the theme. I always ask my couples what colours they would like me to wear. If I end up in the photos I want to blend in and not stick out like a sore thumb especially if it’s a picture that will end up on wall for years to come.