Frequently Asked Questions
What is my role as a Celebrant
As a Marriage Celebrant I am trained to officiates and legalise your marriage according to the Marriage Act 1961.
I encourage you to take away my Ceremony Planning book for you to choose various vows, poems, readings and a choice of ceremonies to assist you in making this day special and personal. I ensure your Ceremony complies with all the legal requirements of the act.
When ceremony has been chosen I then compile all your requirements and put it together making sure you see the end result and it has been approved by you both before being presented on the day.
Signing on the Day
The Bride still signs all legal paper work in her maiden name on the day of the wedding.
Portable PA system?
Celebrants must ensure that all persons at your ceremony can adequately hear the ceremony. I have my own state of the art PA System.
How long before the wedding does the Celebrant have to arrive?
According to the Celebrant Code of Conduct, all celebrants must arrive at the ceremony at least 20 minutes beforehand. (unless an alternative arrangement has been made with you the couple).
All Celebrants must provide a rehearsal before your wedding day, however please remember that I am entitled to charge an additional fee for this service to cover the time and/or travel to the location.
I provide a room for rehearsals at no extra charge.
A booking fee is the initial payment a celebrant requests to confirm your chosen date and time as a confirmed and secured booking. In most cases this fee is non-refundable, and covers the time and administration costs of the celebrant in lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage, and providing you access to relevant resources. Each celebrant has different terms and conditions.
How much does a Civil Marriage Celebrant Cost?
Just like a good wine, celebrants can vary in price. It depends on the location and time of the wedding. You must always remember you are trusting the most important part of your wedding day to the celebrant you choose. Don't choose your celebrant on price alone. Make sure you get the best person to help you plan and perform the exact marriage ceremony that YOU want.
Why does a Civil Marriage Celebrant's cost vary from Religious Celebrants?
A Marriage Celebrant is usually offering you a service that is far more flexible in time, place and content than a Religious Celebrant can, and it is important to note that your Celebrant is not being paid a wage by a church or religious organisation such as a Minister or Priest ordinarily would be.
A Civil Marriage Celebrant is not required to adhere to any one particular belief or doctrine, and is able to conduct a ceremony any time and place.
Therefore the fee which is asked is indicative of the level of service provided.
What is the Notice of Intended Marriage Form (known as the "NOIM" or "NIM")
You must give a completed Notice of Intended Marriage form to an authorised marriage celebrant within 18 months of your proposed marriage and no later than one month and one day prior. All marriage celebrants have the necessary paper work to perform your marriage.
At our first meeting, I must ensure that you have all your required documentation with you for example the couple must produce their original Birth Certificates and evidence that any prior marriage has been dissolved.
What is a Shortening of Time?
It is possible to shorten the minimum notice time for a marriage to less than a month if special circumstances set out in the regulations are met.
You need to approach a Prescribed Authority for approval (please discuss this with your Celebrant)
Prescribed authorities (usually at your Local Court or Registry officials) can shorten the required period of notice if they are satisfied that circumstances prescribed in the regulations are met.
There are the five categories of circumstances set out in the regulations. These are:
The reason for seeking a shortening of time for notice must fall within one of these categories before an application can be considered. There is no capacity to grant shortening of time outside these circumstances. Shortening of time is not automatic. When making a decision the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages or prescribed authority will weigh up the information provided in support of the application and may seek additional information as outlined in the regulations.
- Employment related or other travel commitments,
- Wedding or celebrant arrangements, or religious considerations,
- Medical reasons,
- Legal proceedings,
- Error in giving notice.
A list of Prescribed Authorities may be found at the following address: www.ag.gov.au/mclisting
It is very unlikely but for some reason you may need to change your marriage celebrant you will need to obtain the Notice of Intended Marriage form that you lodged with the original celebrant and give it to your new celebrant or fill in a new form and wait a further month. The original celebrant may charge a fee for work performed when passing on the form. The Celebrant by law must pass on the NOIM.
If you are currently seeking a divorce
You can lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage Form with me prior to your divorce proceedings being finalised. However, I will ensure that I take note of the date when the decree becomes absolute as a marriage can only take place after that date. The marriage cannot be performed until the divorce is finalised. As from 1 July 2002, the Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court ceased issuing separate documents for a decree nisi of dissolution of marriage and a decree absolute. They now issue a document headed "Certificate of Divorce" which contains the date of both the decree nisi and the decree absolute. This certificate is evidence of divorce for the purposes of solemnising a marriage (see section 42(10)). If you were divorced prior to that date you will need to show the celebrant a copy of the decree absolute.
Participating in a Marriage Ceremony
People not authorised as marriage celebrants may participate in aspects of a marriage ceremony. However, an authorised marriage celebrant must fulfill all the legal requirements for solemnising the marriage. These include:
- to consent to be present as the responsible authorised marriage celebrant,
- to take a public role in the ceremony,
- to identify themselves to the assembled parties, witnesses and guests as the celebrant authorised to solemnise the marriage,
- to be responsible for ensuring the validity of the marriage according to law,
- to say the words required by section 46 in the presence of the parties, the formal witnesses and the guests before the marriage is solemnised,
- to be in close proximity (ie nearby) when the vows required by section 45(2) are exchanged because it is the exchange of vows that constitutes the marriage and the authorised celebrant should ensure that they see and hear the vows exchanged,
- to be available to intervene (and exercise the responsibility to intervene) if events demonstrate the need for it elsewhere in the ceremony,
- to be part of the ceremonial group or in close proximity to it, and
- to sign the papers required by the Act.
Marriage to a Relative
For information on getting married overseas please contact the Embassy or other diplomatic mission of the country concerned. If that country requires you to get a certificate of no impediment to marriage, contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on (02) 6261 3015.
Getting Married Overseas
The Marriage Act prohibits people marrying:
These restrictions also apply to adoptive relationships even if these have been annulled, cancelled, discharged or cease to be effective for any reason (for example, due to a subsequent adoption order being made).
- an ancestor or descendant, or
- their brother or sister (whether whole blood or half-blood siblings)
This means, for example, that a person cannot marry their parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister. However, a person may marry their aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, "first" cousin or step-sibling.
Same-Sex Commitment Ceremony
Section 5 (1) of the Marriage Act 1961 defines marriage as "...the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life." This definition was added to the Act in August 2004. Accordingly, it is not possible for same sex couples to marry under existing Australian law.
It is not illegal to conduct commitment ceremonies between same-sex couples provided that they do not purport to be legal marriages.