Legal Requirements

There are many Legal Requirements that couples must consider when drafting their ceremonies, in order their marriage complies with the “Marriage Act 1961”. It will be my role to guide thru’ this “minefield” to ensure that whatever form your wedding celebration takes it meets the provisions of the Act.

Couples can and often do, compose most of their ceremonies and vows together, which obviously creates a truly personal and unique event and is to be encouraged. However, there are certain passages that are compulsory and must be spoken by the Celebrant and or the couples.

Ceremonies are generally divided into sections, for instance:

An introduction, usually given by the Celebrant, to ensure couples and guests feel relaxed and comfortable.

“Giving away”, instead of the traditional “Giving away” by the brides father a number of couples now choose to include some words spoken by the Celebrant such as; “Do you Helen and Troy come here freely today and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?” Response, “We do”. Of course, the giving away ceremony is not compulsory and you can choose whether or not to include it.

The Monitum, This is compulsory, and must be included in the ceremony. It is spoken by the Celebrant. “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 a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”

The asking, Typically commitments such as the following are exchanged. To the Bride and Groom. Will you Troy, take Helen to be your lawful wedded wife” and “Will you Helen, take Troy to be your lawful wedded husband” There are many alternatives that can be used, as this part is not compulsory.

The Commitment, The following form of words are compulsory and are to be made by both the Groom and Bride “I call upon the persons here present to witness that I…Groom must state his full name, take you…Brides full name, to be my lawful wedded wife” The Bride then makes a the same statement. Additional words and phrases can be included such, “And I promise to create for us a love that grows deeper with each passing day”. You can be as creative as you want with other words. During the rest of the ceremony couples may choose to state shorten versions of their names such as Geoff instead of Geoffrey or Tina instead of Christina, but full names must be stated in this part.

Ring ceremony, Once again you can use any appropriate words you wish, this is not compulsory and some couples do not exchange rings. Just the Bride is presented with one.

The declaration, You can choose any form of words, perhaps something such as “ Helen and Troy, You have made special promises to each other and have symbolised it by joining hands, taking vows and exchanging rings. It is now my great pleasure in declaring you husband wife”.

Signing of the Marriage Register, There are several documents to be signed and witnessed at the end of the ceremony. The witnesses are generally the Groomsman and Bridesmaid although any one over the age of 18 years can be a witness.

I would be happy to assist couples to structure a personalised ceremony that will provide you, your family and friends with a lifetime of memories of your “special day”.

Some couples design their ceremony around a specific theme or a shared interest with costumes and appropriate music, which makes for a truly fun and unique special event. Remember you can be as creative as you want providing the compulsory words of the Marriage Act are included.

What are the Legal obligations according to the Marriage Act 1961?

Notice of Intend Marriage.

  • Once you have decided on a date for your ceremony and have selected a Civil Celebrant to solemnise your wedding, you must complete a document entitled “Notice Of Intend Marriage” (NOIM). We usually complete this form together at an initial consultation either at my office, you’re home or at a mutually convenient location. This form must be completed by both parties and lodged with me at least one calendar month and a day prior to the wedding. The document has to contain details about your birth, conjugal status, your full names and places of birth of both you and your parents. These details have to be supported by Birth Certificates, or Passports in the case of overseas partners and Divorce papers or a Death Certificate in the case of a deceased former partner. Please remember, all Australian born couples must produce an Australian Birth Certificate or certified copy (see links to Government organizations). All documents must be written in English, or a translated copy certified by an accredited translator. (see links to translators)
  • Once lodged with me, the NOIM is a valid document for a period of 18 months. Should certain circumstances arise where one or both of the couples need to marry within one month and one day prior to the wedding day, than an application to “Shorten Time” must be submitted to the local court. Please be aware there are only limited reasons that are acceptable to shorten time.
  • The other formal documents you will be asked to sign include. Statutory Declaration that there is no valid reason why you should not be married. We usually do this one or two days prior to the ceremony, typically at the rehearsal. On the day you get married, you will sign the three marriage certificates which contain the details of your marriage. They are, The Marriage Register retained by me for record keeping. The Certificate that will be forwarded to the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages and the Ceremonial Certificate presented to you please bear in mind that this document is not a proof of identity. In the event that the Bride wishes to formally change her name then you must apply to the BDM for the “official” Marriage Certificate. This is the only document acceptable to the RTA and Passport Office for change of name. I normally arrange this when I register your marriage with the BDM soon after the ceremony. It currently costs $44.00 and I usually add the cost to my fee.

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