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Things you need to know & do
(Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information presented below is up to date and correct, the final authority rests with the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department - see https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Pages/default.aspx
As noted on the Attorney-General’s website, “Anything you read elsewhere that is inconsistent with this [the A-G’s] site is not accurate”. If you are in any way unsure about the information presented on Mike’s website, please refer to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s site for clarification.)

There are quite a few things that need to be done, legally, before the ceremony (and during it, and after as well). But don’t worry – Mike will make sure all the boxes are ticked!

As a guide:

The Notice of Intended Marriage - the NOIM (Form 13)
This is the form that officially declares your intention to get married. As part of completing the form, you also prove who you are, and that you're legally free to get married. You'll need to show Mike:

A) Evidence of date and place of birth
If you were born in Australia, you’ll need your birth certificate or passport. If you were born overseas and these documents aren’t in English, whichever document you choose will have to be translated by an accredited translator. (NB Expired passports are okay, but not cancelled passports.) In some cases where a party was born overseas, a statutory declaration might be accepted (this could arise, for example, in refugee cases where other documents like birth certificates have been lost or destroyed).

B) Evidence of identity
You'll need at least one of these:
·a driver's licence
·a proof of age/photo card
·an Australian or overseas passport (if you didn’t use this to prove your place and date of birth), or
·Certificate of Australian Citizenship, along with another form of photographic evidence.

C) Evidence of the termination of any previous marriage (where relevant)
This means either a divorce certificate or, if you’ve been widowed, the death certificate for your late spouse.

If you don’t have the original documents, you can still start the ball rolling by showing Mike faxed or scanned (emailed) copies, when you lodge your NOIM with him. However, Mike must see the originals before you’re actually married (in official terms, before the marriage is ‘solemnised’).

The NOIM has to be lodged with Mike no earlier than 18 months before the wedding, and no later than one month before the wedding. The one-month notice period begins when you give Mike the completed and signed NOIM. It doesn’t commence when you book the marriage with Mike or pay a deposit.

The best bet… is to deal with the NOIM (and the associated legwork) sooner rather than later - there’s often a lot to do when it comes to organising a wedding, so getting the NOIM out of the way as soon as you can will give you more space to concentrate on other details.
For more information about the Notice Of Intended Marriage, and other requirements, Contact Mike directly.

Form 14a, "Happily Ever Before and After"
When you give Mike your Notice Of Intended marriage, he’ll give you this form (it’s a pamphlet, really). It outlines the obligations and consequences of marriage, and draws your attention to the availability of marriage education and counselling. (Mike can also give you more specific information about local services.)

When you’re given this form, don’t take it the wrong way: it’s no reflection on your relationship, just something that Mike (and every other celebrant) legally must do.

Form 14
This is where you legally declare a) that you aren't already married; and b) that there's nothing else that could legally stop you marrying each other (e.g. you're not too closely related, and are at least 18 years old).

(See FAQs and 'Other things to consider' for information about exemptions to the age rule.)

You need to pick two people to be recorded as official witnesses to the marriage, and to sign the marriage certificates. They don’t have to be people you know – they just have to be at least 18 years old and of sound mind!

At the ceremony
There are certain things Mike has to say during the ceremony, and certain things you’ll have to say, to make the marriage legal.

“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 two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
(This is called the monitum.)

The couple (each of you must say this):
“I call upon the persons here 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, or spouse, or partner in marriage).”
(These are called the vows.)

After the wedding
Mike will prepare the following three marriage certificates. You, Mike and the two witnesses must sign all of them:

  1. Form 16 - the official certificate of marriage
    Mike will then send this, Form 14, Form 13 (the NOIM) and any other necessary documents (e.g. statutory declarations) to the Registry of Births Deaths, and Marriages, so the marriage can be officially registered.
  2. The certificate of marriage kept by the celebrant
    This is a copy of the Form 16 Marriage Certificate. By law, Mike must have one.
  3. The Form 15 certificate of marriage
    This is given to the married couple. It’s evidence that a couple is married and hence that their legal status has changed.

Please note: for some purposes you will also need to purchase what’s also called (a bit confusingly!) your own ‘official marriage certificate’. The Attorney-General’s Department explains it like this:
“…the Form 15 certificate of marriage will not replace the need to obtain an official marriage certificate from the relevant BDM [Births, Deaths & Marriages office] for some purposes, such as applying for an Australian passport, and in some States and Territories, a driver’s licence. This is stated on the back of the [Form 15] certificate…”

You can apply for your official marriage certificate online.
For more info, check out SA’s BDM website - http://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/wcm/births-deaths-marriages/
Or – ring SA’s Consumer and Business Services office on 131-882, then select Births,

Other things to consider:
Change of name certificate
You might need this if, e.g., you were raised by a stepfather and have always used his surname, but never legally changed your name to his. (By law you can only get married under your legal name, even if it’s not the one you commonly use and that everyone knows you by.) Another instance could be when you’re divorced but are still legally known by your former spouse’s surname.

If one of you is under 18
If you’re under 18 years of age, you can only get married if your partner is 18 or over, and if you’ve got a court order – signed by either a judge or a magistrate – that legally clears the way for the marriage. You’ll also need your parents’ consent.
(If both partners are under 18, the law won’t budge - you won’t be allowed to get married. The same applies for anyone under 16 years of age.)

Surprise weddings
These involve one of the parties to the marriage being ‘surprised’ with a complete, ready-to-go wedding ceremony, either at or shortly before the ceremony. Often this is done as a romantic gesture by the party organising the marriage.

Celebrants are not allowed to take part in such ceremonies. The main issue is that each party to a marriage has to give their informed consent, well ahead of the wedding day; if one of them doesn’t even know they’re getting married, this simply isn’t possible.

Useful contacts:

Marriage Law and Celebrants Section, Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department
Website: www.ag.gov.au/celebrants
Phone: (02) 6141 3111
Fax: (02) 6141 3246
Email: marriagecelebrantssection@ag.gov.au
Post: Marriage Law and Celebrants Section
Attorney-General's Department
3-5 National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages - South Australia
Website: www.ocba.sa.gov.au/bdm/index.html
Phone: 131 882
Post: Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Office
GPO Box 1351
Adelaide SA 5001
Location: Level 2, Chesser House,
91-97 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000

For further information, CLICK HERE to see 'Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Marriage Celebrants' (This is part of the official website of the Commonwealth Attorney-General.)

See also FAQs

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