Important Legal Considerations
As a Registered Marriage Celebrant I am qualified to conduct marriages in Australia. For a marriage to be valid there are important legal issues regarding documents and wording in the ceremony that must be adhered to. As a registered celebrant we undergo on-going Professional Development to ensure that we are completely up to date with the laws regarding marriage in Australia.
As your celebrant I will guide you through all aspects of your marriage ceremony, and will ensure that all legal requirements are met.
Notice of Intended Marriage
Within 18 months of your proposed marriage, and no later than one month and one day prior to it, you must give a completed Notice of Intended Marriage Form to the authorized marriage celebrant who is to conduct the ceremony. All marriage celebrants should have the necessary paperwork to perform your marriage.
• Original Birth Certificates or Extract of birth
• If you were born overseas then we need to see either your Birth Certificate or a Foreign Passport
• If it is impracticable for an overseas person to obtain their birth certificate or passport a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration must be completed
• A change of name certificate if you have changed your name
• If you have been previously married I need to see evidence of the end of that marriage:-
Original Death Certificate – if your previous spouse has passed away
Original Divorce Certificate or Decree Absolute if divorced
• A court order and written consent from your parents if one party is under 18 years of age.
Notice of Intended Marriage (Form 13) – Attorney General’s Department
Failure to provide me with this documentation will mean I cannot marry you.
• You must sign a Statutory Declaration of no Legal Impediment to Marriage before your marriage ceremony takes place.
This is a legal document and must be witnessed by your marriage celebrant;
• Two witnesses over the age of 18 years of age, who have witnessed and understood the ceremony.
• If for some reason you need to change your marriage celebrant, it is the responsibility of the first marriage celebrant to ensure the Notice of Intended Marriage form is transferred safely to the second celebrant by hand or registered post. You must ask the celebrant to transfer the notice for you.
If both parties are not able to sign at the same time
If a party to an intended marriage cannot conveniently sign this Notice at the time it is intended to give notice of the intended marriage, the other party may sign the Notice and give it to the proposed authorized celebrant. However, in this case, the party who has not signed the notice must sign it in the presence of that celebrant or another authorized celebrant prior to the marriage ceremony being solemnized.
Legal wording that I must include in all ceremonies
The Marriage Act 1961 – Section 45 – states that all ceremonies conducted by Authorised Marriage Celebrants should contain the following wording. Ceremonies which do not include this wording may be deemed invalid.
Celebrant:- “I am duly authorized by law to solemnize 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”.
Bride and Groom: “I call upon the persons here to present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D), take thee, C.D. (or A.B), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband)”;
The Certificate of Marriage is to be issued to couples (FORM 15)
A Marriage Celebrant must issue a prescribed Form 15 marriage certificate to you after your wedding as evidence of your marriage. Your marriage celebrant prepares three certificates of marriage containing the details of your marriage and you and your witnesses will be required to sign all three.
• The certificate retained by the marriage celebrant for their records;
• The certificate that will be forwarded to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the registration of your marriage; and
• The certificate that will be given to you as a record of your marriage.
What can we do if we have concerns about our marriage celebrant?
If you have a concern about the service you have received from a marriage celebrant in relation to your wedding you may make a complaint. If you have any concerns you should discuss them with the celebrant first, but if you are unable to do this, or believe that your complaint requires further consideration, there is a special procedure set out in the Marriage Regulations, to enable complaints concerning the performance of marriage celebrants to be responded to. The following information outlines the initial process to be followed.
How must the complaint be made?
The complaint must be in writing and made to:-
The Registrar of Marriage Celebrants
Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department
3-5 National Circuit
BARTON ACT 2600