Frequently Asked Questions  woman show question board plackard


What paperwork do we need to bring along with us when we organise the Wedding Ceremony?
book question red blue You need original certificates and documents when filling out and lodging the Notice of Intended Marriage, including:
1- Certificate of birth or extract of entry of birth showing date and place of birth

1-a-If you have no certificate of birth:
– A statutory declaration and a passport or Certificate of Australian Citizenship is required

2- For an overseas resident, a passport from the overseas country
3- Certificate of divorce (or decree absolute) or certificate of nullity if previously married
4- Certificate of death if previous spouse is deceased
5- If one of you is under the age of 18, a court order permitting the marriage and a consent form signed by the parents of the person under 18
6- Official translation of any documents not in English
7- Any Change of Name Certificate showing a name change from that on your birth certificate.


What documents need to be shown to the Celebrant in order for us to marry?

lady question

A…Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) also known as Form 13

B…Original Birth Certificates or certified copies (Australia born)

C…Valid Passport (Overseas born)

D…Original Decree Absolute (if you have been married before and divorced)

E…Death Certificate of previous spouse (if you have been widowed)

F…Certificate of Change of Name (if you have legally changed your name)

Please note: That if any of these certificates are written in a language that the solemnising celebrant cannot understand a Translation by a registered translator is required.


When do we show the Celebrant these documents?

man woman interview

The original documents can be shown to me at our meeting whilst we complete the NOIM Form 13.

If you do not live locally then I would advise you to have all the necessary documents photocopied and certified by a JP.  You can then post the documents to me by registered mail with the completed and signed Notice of Intended Marriage Form so that I have all the information required one month and one day prior to your ceremony. Please keep in mind that as your Celebrant, I will still need to see all original documents prior to your wedding ceremony. If convenient this can be done at the rehearsal.

As your Celebrant, if I do not sight the original documents that are required then, due to legal reasons, I am unable to officiate your marriage.
Where do we get the Marriage Licence and how much does it cost?

In Australia we do not have a “Marriage Licence”. Nor will you be required to take a blood test.
But you will be asked to complete a “Notice of Intended Marriage” at least one month and one day prior to the marriage date, with the Celebrant of your choice.
When do we pay?

We request the non-refundable deposit of $150.00 when we complete the “Notice of Intended Marriage” form and discuss the requirements you have. The balance of the agreed fee is to be paid before the ceremony. This is usually at the next appointment, when you approve the words for your service and sign the wedding documents or it can be by arrangement. But all fees must be finalised before the service.


If we bring all the documentation, can we get married today or tomorrow?

man checks time

No. To abide with Australian laws you must have all your documentation when you fill out the Notice of Intention to Marry at least 1 month and one day prior to the marriage, but not longer than 18 months before. In very special circumstances, Births, Deaths and Marriages may consent to a shortening of time.
What happens if we cancel? Do we get a refund?
marriage cancelled symbol Cancellations or Postponements can happen (rarely) for any number of reasons and, yes, you can get a refund, in limited circumstances.

The booking fee is not refundable, as work is normally done immediately for this fee, including an interview with you, completing forms, and making a start on writing a ceremony.

A refund is not given where the ceremony is cancelled because you have not paid the full amount before the date of the ceremony or where you have not given a minimum of 14 days notice of cancellation of the ceremony.
A refund is given if, due to illness or another serious reason, I am unable to perform the ceremony and the ceremony is cancelled. This is a rare occurrence and has not happened so far!

If I cannot attend, I will arrange for another celebrant to perform the ceremony at no extra charge to you (the celebrant is paid from the fees you have already paid). Therefore, no refund is payable to you in this circumstance. As a member of Professional Celebrant Associations, I have access to many other marriage and civil celebrants who can be called on to assist in such an event. Members of these Associations are all required to demonstrate a high degree of professionalism and ethical conduct so you can be assured of receiving quality service and a quality ceremony if a replacement celebrant is required.


Is the certificate we get on the day sufficient as proof of marriage?

The presentation certificate you receive on the day, proves that a marriage took place. However to change your name on bank accounts, drivers licence, passport etc, you will require the official marriage certificate. This is obtained from Births, Deaths and Marriages. Fee applies

What does the Celebrant do with the completed NOIM Form 13?

question by mail
The Authorised Celebrant to whom the Notice is given sends the Notice of Intended Marriage to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages of the State or Territory in which the marriage takes place, after the marriage ceremony.
The Registrar uses the information on the NOIM to register the marriage.
Can we lodge the NOIM Form 13 with the Celebrant if my fiancés divorce is not yet finalised?

Yes, you can lodge this form with me prior to your fiancés divorce being finalised.  We will just need to complete it once the divorce is finalised and I will need to sight the certificate.  The NOIM is activated once it is signed and dated however your marriage cannot take place until the divorce is finalised.
Can we get Married in less than one calendar month and one day?

Yes it is possible to shorten the minimum notice for a marriage if the special circumstance that are set out in the Regulations to the Marriage Act 1961 are met. You will first need to meet with me as your Celebrant to compete the Notice Of Intended Marriage Form.  You will then need to take the NOIM with you either to your Local Court or the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, which are Prescribed Authorities.

If a Prescribed Authority is satisfied that the circumstances set out in the Regulations are met then they are able to shorten the required period.

There are five (5) categories of circumstances set out in the Regulations and they are as follows:

1…Employment related or other travel commitment

2…Wedding or celebrant arrangements, or religious considerations

3…Medical reasons

4…Legal proceedings

5…Error in giving notice

If you want to seek a Shortening of Time then the reason for doing so must fall within one of the above categories before your application will be considered.  Shortening of Time will not be granted outside of these circumstances.  Please be aware that a Shortening of Time is not automatic.  The Prescribed Authority will consider the information provided when making their decision and may seek additional information as outlined in the Regulations.

Is the Bride expected to be late?

woman runs
(This is an important issue that should be discussed in detail…)
Yes, this is usual… BUT, by a few moments only!  Not 10 or 15 minutes! and certainly no longer than that!!
I ask that you be punctual – “late” for a bride means 5-6 minutes to us.

If the Bride does not arrive near the booked time, I often have no other option than to leave for the next ceremony after 30 minutes has elapsed in order to be fair on the next appointment.
Please do not listen to others that advise you to be “fashionably late”.
If you are late, you may be bitterly disappointed!
You have booked a date, a time and the venue for your Marriage Ceremony and this should be a happy occasion for all concerned.
It is usual for any Celebrant to have other commitments before & after your ceremony. Because of this, punctuality is the upmost importance and you must also consider, the site may be booked for another wedding.
Remember if the bridal party is late arriving at the wedding venue, your contract has been broken by you, therefore the Celebrant has every right at law to leave the area and not give you a refund.
When does the celebrant arrive?

couple and sales woman

Marriage Celebrants are governed by a Code of Practice which states that a Celebrant is to be available at the venue for each marriage ceremony at least 20 minutes before the agreed commencement of each ceremony (unless, in the case of consecutive ceremonies, the ceremonies are to be held at the same venue).
I usually arrive 30 minutes before the starting time you have booked with me to commence your ceremony. I do not like unwanted surprises.

Can I be married on a week day or at any time, day or night?

kiss in the sunset
Yes.. as long as it is practical and we can agree on the time and place.
What time do I put on the Invitations?

clock panel blank top strip fawn
Have your invitations printed with a starting time 10 minutes before our booked time so the ceremony can start without a hitch.


Can we write our own vows?


Definitely, I believe that vows that have been personally written are a special, unique gift to your partner. However certain words must be used.


Can we write the whole ceremony?

michelle signs contract car

Yes, however there are certain legal requirements that must be met. These include, the asking of a question in which you give you consent to be married. The vows- a promise for the future, and the Monitum


When should the groom arrive?

man runs work-2
At least 30 minutes before the starting time so he welcome the guests on arrival.
Who has the rings?

marriage rings
There is no legal requirement for wedding rings and it is quite common for there to be only one ring.
The ring or rings are usually held by the best man or pageboy.
If placed on a cushion, be careful not to tie them on, sometimes the knot can’t be undone. Hook them on with a pipe cleaner or loosely tie them with a bow, or as a last resort use a safety pin to secure them to the cushion.
Which way do we face?

However you want.
I usually have couples face their guests and I do this for several reasons:
Firstly, the guests want to see your face, not your back.
Secondly, some people want to have their back to the guests because they are nervous.
Well, nerves don’t disappear when you turn around and when you say your vows you will stand side-on to the guests (facing each other) no matter which way you were facing in the beginning.
Finally, it is very difficult for the guests to be involved in the ceremony unless I am speaking to them directly and most words are directed to everybody, not just the bride and groom.
(I usually stand side-on of the wedding party, so that I can speak to the guests and to you, but sometimes this is not possible.)
Who stands where?

The bride stands on the groom’s left. The bride’s father or the person doing the giving away stands on the bride’s left and the bridesmaids next to him. The best man stands on the groom’s right.
Does there have to be a giving away?

No. There is no legal requirement for the Bride to be ‘given away’ – it is personal choice, as are many other parts of the ceremony. Anyone can be the person doing the “giving away”.
Do we have a rehearsal?

I like to have a rehearsal, even if it is just a quick one.
There is no need for me to be involved in a rehearsal at the venue, in my office fine… we are rehearsing the ceremony… not parking cars or other functional arrangements
Make sure, that you both agree exactly where the ceremony will take place, and that the GROOM KNOWS what is going on, as I will get some specific site instructions from him if need be.

My fiancée and I are from another country and she does not speak English, can we be legally married in Australia?

Yes.. you can be married in Australia, but first you will need to show me your identification, (passport, birth certificate), and you will need an interpreter at the Ceremony and signing of the legal papers.
Where should we have the Ceremony?

You can have a Ceremony anywhere you like, but be aware of the weather.
It is likely to be warm to very hot in Qld, so have the ceremony in the shade. Ensure that there is some form of shade for the ceremony participants and remember to have shade for your guests as well.  You, as the principal couple, have a duty of care to see that your guests are looked after and that means providing them with shade or shelter if the weather is too hot or if it rains. In this day and age it is also wise to ensure there is water or other fluids available on hot days also.

Am I able to marry my same-sex partner in Australia?

ladies x 2
No, unfortunately in Australia it is not legal to perform Marriages for same-sex couples. The Marriage Act 1961 states that marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of a man to a woman to the exclusion of all others.

However, as your Celebrant I would be honoured to perform a Love Commitment Ceremony for you and your partner. This is not a legal ceremony but offers you the opportunity to stand united in the eyes of your family and friends.  You will receive a beautifully presented Certificate of Commitment to be signed by yourselves as well as your witnesses to your ceremony.

Does the celebrant come to the reception?

party table
No, not usually.

How do I get a cost for a ceremony and what do we get?

eye on money strip top click here
Some background information:
Certified Marriage Celebrants (CMC) are people who have undergone intensive training, and are certified by the Commonwealth Govt to conduct legal marriages in Australia or at Australian Embassies or Consulates. On top of this, the person’s character has been examined and judged by the Attorney General Dept., and they are then assessed every 3 years to ensure they are doing the right thing.

Early November 2002, the Attorney General decreed that all Marriage Celebrants must attend Annual Professional Development Courses and this cost is factored in the overall fee.
The fee charged by a CMC is not regulated or stipulated, it is what they consider appropriate to cover costs in solemnising a marriage. In 1995 Celebrants were deregulated and this has made weddings more personalised and more affordable to the individual since that time.

We try to take all things into consideration when we offer you a quote for your ceremony.


How many witnesses do we need?

The law requires you to have two witnesses. The only requirement is that they appear to be over the age of 18 to the Celebrant. They can be relatives, friends – in fact anyone over 18.

Can you recommend a good Video person or Photographer?


As a celebrant, I am impartial and have no role in recommending other services to you. A list can be suplied of various persons who provide such services.

You have to select your choice

There are though a few thoughts to keep in mind.
–    Choose people whose work you have seen and are happy with.
–    Ask for names of people who would be happy to recommend them and then contact them for an opinion.
–    Ask for their attitude towards things like the guests, timing, etc.
–    Choose people who work around the wedding and avoid the people who expect the wedding to happen around them.
–    There are many excellent photographers, the good ones will know exactly what my comments here mean and will appreciate them.
Can we write our own Vows?
Yes… by all means do so.
But please remember to check with me first in order that the legalities of the vows are correct and I have a copy.
These can then be included in your personalised wedding service book.
(Ad Lib vows do NOT work.. I promise you.)
Do we have to remember any words?

No, none at all.. and nor do I.
You will repeat any words you have to say, (the vows), as I will say them phrase by phrase for you, from the agreed script.
In fact, I INSIST on things being done this way as people react differently under stress and can quite easily ‘muck things up’ in the heat of the moment.
Remember that you are trusting in me to make sure your Ceremony is memorable and runs smoothly, and I take this very seriously,

How many attendants should we have?

group 6 pose
This is really your choice,
The wedding is yours, and you should be the centre of attention.
When you have more than two attendants each, the bridal party begins to look enormous, consider even with two attendants, there are 8 people standing together.
When there are four attendants each, you have 12 people standing, often looking uncomfortable. (Bride, groom, 4 bridesmaids, 4 groomsmen, bride’s father, and celebrant – 12 people)

Also bear in mind that the larger the bridal party, the further back the photographer needs to be to include everyone.  My experience is that smaller wedding parties contribute more meaningful and enjoyable ceremonies for everyone.

Drinks/Mobile Phones


Generally speaking, it is best not to serve drinks until after the ceremony. If drinks are served, the Celebrant may ask that all drinks be put aside. He will also ask that all mobile phones be turned off until the ceremony is over.

Can music be played at our Wedding?

Music should be played as guests are arriving and the arrival of the Bride. It should also be played in the background whilst the register is being signed.
The selections and possibly the supply of an appropriate CD/Mp3 stick are up to the bride and groom
Please assign the task of the music to a reliable person and ensure that the person is there at least 15 min before and not to be late.


Michelle Hislop JP Qual. BA Comm.CMC.

That’s me on the right @ a Chinese wedding.