Frequently Asked Questions
Do we have to have a Marriage Celebrant?
Yes, in Australia, under the Marriage Act 1961 only recognised Ministers of Religion and registered Marriage Celebrants can legally perform marriages.
What steps do we need to take to book our wedding?
◦You should select your Celebrant carefully, choosing someone whom you feel understands your wishes and dreams for your marriage and who can provide a professional service.
◦Book your date and time – most marriages are planned up to 18 months in advance. The months of May through to October are peak periods for weddings in Port Douglas and surrounds. Please e-mail me for costs and fees – firm bookings can only be made by paying a deposit.
◦You will then need to complete and have legally witnessed – the Notice of Intended Marriage, up to 18 months before but NO LESS than one calendar month prior to your marriage date. As soon as this is completed you will need to either scan and e-mail it to me, together with copies of birth certificates or alternatively mail it to me for lodgement. If you live here or are intending to visit to finalise wedding arrangements, you can bring the form to me to assist with completion and witnessing. Only one person needs to sign the Notice of Intended Marriage when sending/visiting the Celebrant. The other person can sign at a later date, but this must be prior to the date of the marriage.
Who can witness the Notice of Intended Marriage
For Australian residents this can be witnessed by the following:
◦An authorised marriage celebrant
◦A Commissioner for Declarations under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959, or
◦A Justice of the Peace, or
◦A Barrister or Solicitor; or
◦A legally qualified Medical Practitioner; or
◦A member of the Australian Federal Police or the police force of a State or Territory
For overseas residents:
The Notice of Intended Marriage can only be witnessed by an Australian Embassy Staff member or a Notary Public in your country.
What do I do if I can’t find my documents?
If you were born in Australia: you can obtain a copy of your birth certificate (and, if applicable, the Death Certificate of former spouse) from Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State in which you were born.
If divorced and need a copy of your Divorce Certificate or Decree Absolute, then this can be obtained from the Family Law Court in the state in which the marriage was dissolved.
If born overseas: If you now live in Australia but no longer have a passport from your country of origin, a birth certificate (or certified copy) is sufficient. If you no longer have either, then you will need to sign a Statutory Declaration, to be witnessed by me and provide me with an original copy of your Australian Citizenship Certificate. Any documentation not in English must have verified legal translations.
How many witnesses do I need and how old must they be?
You will need two witnesses and both must be over the age of 18. They must both understand and speak English. Please advise their full legal names, eg first, middle and surnames.
If either of us is applying for immigration, what do we need to do?
Make an appointment with me to complete the Notice of Intended Marriage.
I will then prepare a letter for you for the Department of Immigration as testimony to the fact of your forthcoming marriage.
Only one of you needs to complete this form at this point.
Whilst your wedding certainly be a surprise for your guests, Australian legal requirements are that both parties need to consent to the marriage beforehand and both need to sign the NOIM and have their signatures witnessed.
When will we get our Wedding Certificate?
You will receive a presentation copy on the day. While this is a legal document it cannot be used to have personal documentation, eg drivers’ licence or passport etc., changed to your married name. You will need to apply for a registered copy of your Wedding Certificate. The Queensland Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages estimate a waiting period of approximately 4-5 weeks after they have received the legal paperwork I send. If you pay a priority fee you can apply to have this earlier, but you need to provide proof of a need for this.
For overseas visitors – In addition to applying for your Registered Marriage Certificate, certain countries also need you to obtain an Apostile stamp to register your marriage in your country of residence. There is an additional fee. Speak with me if you would like me to arrange this for you.
Does my name change automatically to that of my Husband
No. You will need to legally change your name. You will need to obtain a copy of your registered Certificate of Marriage by applying to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Brisbane Queensland after your marriage.
What Name do I sign on my Marriage Documents?
You must use the name on your Birth Certificate (unless this has been legally changed). This is also the name you are legally known as on all your supporting documentation, eg drivers’ licence, passport etc.
If planning a honeymoon outside Australia before you receive your registered Marriage Certificate, when booking flights etc you should use the name on your Passport/name you are known as prior to your marriage.
Can I have a religious Ceremony?
Even though you choose a civil Celebrant, you can include any wording that reflects your beliefs or way or life.
Can I get married on the Beach?
Yes – you can be married anywhere. In some instances a permit is required and there is a fee involved. I can apply for this on your behalf.
How long does the Ceremony need to be?
Legally speaking this can take only 5 minutes, sufficient to perform all the legal requirements. However most people allow a minimum of 15 minutes so their ceremony is not too rushed and allows for special introductions, vows, readings/music – to make the occasion truly memorable.