Kelly asks: What do we legally have to say? Just read guidelines and act section 45/46 and I’m reading we only need to say monitum and a couple the legal vow. I read/was trained that we have to introduce ourselves as the celebrant with the lucky job of marrying the shit outta the couple before us…but do we actually have to? I’m looking at making my intro less formal and hoping I’ve read it right.Read More
Category: Our Guidelines to Australian Marriage Law
Notices of Intended Marriage signed in Australia can be witnessed by people with a number of different qualifications. Most are pretty straightforward: an authorised celebrant, a justice of the peace, a barrister or solicitor, or a member of the Australian Federal Police or the police force of a State or Territory. Easy, right?Read More
Shortenings of time come up every now and again, and they’re definitely not scary! While applying is the couple’s responsibility, there are some things the celebrant needs to do…Read More
I’m looking at the Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Authorised Celebrants 2018: what’s new, what’s changed, and what’s gone. I’m not going to talk about changes such as the checklist for solemnising marriages moving from page 31 to the appendix, or other page or structure changes. What I will be talking about is the changes that affect the way Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants (both Subdivision C marriage celebrants and Subdivision D religious marriage celebrants) do our work, and there are more than you might expect.Read More
The Unofficial Guidelines on the ‘Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Marriage Celebrants’ for Marriage Celebrants
Deb writes in asking “I appear to get myself into hot water time and time again, by saying that the Guidelines are just that GUIDELINES, and the act and the regs are the actual LAW. Am I right?”Read More
What does “signing electronically” actually mean?Read More
The Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, all have their own online systems for logging in online and submitting marriage paperwork electronically. The Australian Capital Territory BDM doesn’t have an online system, but they do accept via email.Read More
While I’ve talked a lot about how I sign my paperwork on an iPad, you’re welcome to choose your tablet and software of choice, I haven’t detailed exactly where the paperwork comes from.
Of course you can [download blank marriage paperwork] from the Attorney-General’s office, and if you wanted to find the shortest link between the AGD website and signing it on an iPad, you could literally treat that blank paperwork like blank physical paper. But there’s a better way and it depends which state you live in.Read More
For the past six months I have been pursuing a line of inquiry with the Attorney-General’s office Marriage Celebrants Section over the line in the Guidelines section 4.4.2: It is not acceptable for a celebrant to accept a NOIM and/or supporting documents via videoconferencing services such as Skype. Actual documentation must be received by the celebrant.Read More
We’ve had a couple of anonymous questions on this in the last week, so I’m going to pop them both in here: I’m looking at expanding my services other than just celebrant. At the moment I have a little side gig where it is wedding packages with hair, make up and myself this is run on a separate facebook page. But I’m wanting to possibly offer ceremony styling as well. Just wanted to check it I could advertise this on my celebrant website under a tab “Ceremony Styling” and offer DIY or we setup and dismantle the ceremony. Think simple to start with chairs, flowers and arch. Just before I go making any purchases just wanted some feedback and advice. Thanks!
And: I am currently working for a theatre company and intend to keep working for them, but I want to be able to do weddings occasionally and for friends. However because I’m trained in fashion and costume I thought I’d be able to offer wedding dresses but from what I can understand I can’t? I understand how that can be a conflict of interest now but I was wondering where you draw the line within packages and extras. If I can’t even offer custom veils as an inclusion of a package then I feel like all my other hard earned creative making abilities are of no use?Read More
I’m sure that all of you have familiarised yourself with the Marriage Act of 1961, so you probably don’t have to read this, but on the off chance that Sarah Aird has schooled you, like she’s just schooled me, on some things in the Marriage Act, I thought I’d share them here. These are new changes since marriage equality was legislated. Today we’re talking about section 39G, Obligations of each marriage celebrant.Read More
Luke asks: One of my couples that had a Qld wedding booked, now want to change the ceremony location to NSW since the new border easing. What do I need to know and how do I go about doing a wedding in NSW? Is there a set criteria that determines the couples eligibility for getting married over the border into NSW?Read More
Hopefully everyone has caught up on this major change to the way we do our work, but I know from my OPD classes that some people missed it. So here’s a super basic update.Read More
It’s absolutely possible to have a NOIM transferred from the Registry Office to a Commonwealth-Registered Marriage Celebrant. Here’s how!Read More
The recent post on sighting ID included some powerful language from the Attorney-General’s office:The Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for authorised celebrants is issued to assist celebrants to comply with the Marriage Act and Regulations. Ultimately it is up to the celebrant to comply with all of the requirements of the Act. I appreciate that some of the language used in the Guidelines is of a directive nature, rather than of best practice nature.Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Marriage Celebrants SectionRead More
Most of you probably didn’t pay too much attention to the fact sheet that was released on Friday 6 July 2018, in the email advising the new Guidelines were out. I certainly didn’t until someone brought an apparent typographical error to my attention. You can have a read of it here:Read More
(Sorry for the radio silence on my behalf – I’ve been answering members’ questions, but otherwise frantically working on all things Life Skills Training, which hasn’t left much time for writing blog...Read More
There’s a new fact sheet on the Attorny-General’s department website on correcting marriage paperwork, and it’s an important read. Luckily for us, our own Sarah Aird heavily impacted the final draft. We’re copying and pasting the fact sheet here, but find the original on the AGD website.Read More
I’ve written previously about listing parents’ names on the NOIM, and I’ve had some follow up questions (from a celebrant who had totally read the first post, yay!): 1) Recently received a NOIM by email...Read More
We always want to keep you in the loop as to what we’re suggesting, so here’s Sarah and my submission to the MLCS for OPD from 2021 onwards.Read More
[MM_Access_Decision access=’false’]§ MEMBERS ONLY CONTENT Bree asks: Some of my parties have completed their NOIMs ready for our meeting and for me to witness. I have noticed as I have gone to log them into BDM that...Read More
Just wanting some advice on how you inform couples on how to register their marriages aboard? E.g A Scottish couple marry here, and ask you how they register their marriage in Scotland. I understand they need to have the Original Marriage Certificate apostille stamped, before their government will recognize it as a true document, however where can they get this done? The Australian Embassy in their country or??Read More
I’ve had a couple ask about what happens with there names after they are married. I’m not sure if I’m meant to know or if it’s some what part of my role but what is the legal action for changing the couples names after the ceremony?Read More
Jac asks: I have a couple coming up. They got married a year ago (pretty much for their families to have a religious ceremony). None of their friends know this though. Before getting married officially for their parents, they said they would only do it their parents’ way if they could have a big bash with their friends the way they want this year. The time has come! It’s within a month.
I met with them yesterday and they were so stressed about their friends finding out etc that they were already married. I explained that we wouldn’t have to focus on that and include in the scripting that “this is the day that Jack and Jill are choosing to celebrate their marriage in front of you special people blah blah blah”. Instead of doing official paperwork, I offered a commemorative certificate instead (as this doesn’t have any legal bearing anyway). Are there any issues with what can/cannot be written on this? Would ‘wedding certificate’ be safe?
I really don’t want to say ‘THIS CEREMONY IS IN NO WAY LEGAL/BINDING’ so I was just going to gloss over it a little how you explained in your previous podcast. Obviously no Monitum will be said and there will be no legal vows but the couple will still write their own. Obviously I won’t be doing DONLIMs or submitting anything formal to BDM, but I thought the ‘pretty’ certificate or a commemorative certificate would be okay. Anything else I should look out for? The Guidelines are pretty clear on this, but let me give you my interpretation of what they say.Read More
By when in the process must we have given the required documents to the couple?
I have been giving the required documents (happily ever…, code of practice, complaint info, etc.) with the engagement letter / quote, however, often I only have an email address at this stage for one party, not both. As I understand it, this doesn’t satisfy the requirements of the act (giving happily ever… effectively to only one party).
Upon booking, that’s when I get my now clients to give me their complete contact information. I’ve trialed different methods of getting complete contact info on enquiry but nothing has really been effective.
I’m trying to optimise my systems and I don’t want to send more emails in my workflow than I have to, so I was wondering can I send this info at the point of our planning meeting (circa 4 months out) as part of an email that already sits in my workflow rather than at the point of booking?Read More
Pete asks: I have a question about the legalities of commercial arrangements with third parties given that as a Celebrant we’re government officers and our duty to avoid potential conflicts. Just about everyone has a...Read More
“A local celebuddy and I have recently been chatting about being a primary back-up celebrant for each other. As a fairly new celebrant, it got me wondering how other people manage replacements when you have to cancel at short notice (or even on the day). Do you ask the new celebrant to use your script (even if it’s very much in ‘your’ voice)? How do you divide payment? Do you partially/fully refund the couple because you’ve not completely fulfilled the contract? What if you’re in a car accident on the way to the ceremony and you have all the paperwork on you?”Read More
On this week’s podcast episode I talked about contacting our local member of parliament to request a change to the Marriage Act of 1961. The act requires two official certificates of marriage be prepared, which in a digital age where we’re creating PDF certificates, is a little redundant.Read More
[MM_Access_Decision access=’false’]§ MEMBERS ONLY CONTENT Alice asks: I’m lodging a NOIM for a couple where the bride is Japanese. She has a passport (which is in English), but Japanese passports do not include...Read More
Lots of the questions celebrants ask me relate to how far they can push the legislative requirements or ethics of our role. I have one simple test you can apply to any situationRead More
Veronica asks: I know according to section 45(2) of the Marriage Act, couples are required to say “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 words to that effect.” When it comes to couples personalising their vows, aside from the previous mentioned, do couples have to say certain things, or are they free to say what they see fit?Read More
Sarita asks: We’re away at the moment and then the couple in question head away as we get back – so the NOIM will be getting lodged in Jan, with a day to spare. The bride is from China and all her ID is in Chinese. As long as I tell them to get the passport, (birth certificate) & drivers license/ID card interpreted by a NAATI registered interpreter – is that all ok? Just wanted to check I’m not missing anything as it’s my first time doing a marriage that will involve an interpreter.Read More
I’ve written before about how easy it is for parties to get a copy of their divorce order if they were divorced in Australia. I’ve also written about the changes in the 2018 Guidelines that allow us to accept a stat...Read More
When a celebrant dies, what happens to their marriage documentation?Read More
Veronica asks: I have a couple that had a commitment ceremony four years ago and legally changed their names, and are now wanting to get married. What names should I use on the paperwork? What’s on their birth certificate?Read More
Some of you may recall this little rant I went on after the updated Guidelines were released last year: “Change of name by marriage: A party who has changed their name by marriage, and retained their previous...Read More
Now I’ve reached the stage of life where I have a mortgage and a family I figure it’s time to put a grown up will in place.
This got me thinking about what instructions I need to leave for my surviving relatives and the obligations that they have not only to comply with the law but to also ensure a smooth transition for my couples.
I was wondering if you guys have any tips or could give a basic overview of what process you guys have in place?Read More
[MM_Access_Decision access=’false’]§ MEMBERS ONLY CONTENT A celebrant asks: I have a question about sighting ID when the Celebrant and marrying couple are in different states. I have a number of family and...Read More
Dee asks: After reading the guidelines I’m after some clarification regarding a NOIM. One of my couples have unfortunately had to postpone their wedding. Am I right in thinking the below : – If the wedding takes place with...Read More
A Celebrant Institute member asks: “I know celebrants are required send all the legal documents after the wedding day or submit via lifelink within 14 days of the ceremony but what actually happens if we forget?” Sarah’s on holidays this week but luckily for you, this is a question even I can answer.Read More
Anka asks: Lately I’ve noticed a lot of celebrants on Facebook have started advertising that they can do weddings overseas?? I didn’t think we could? Im presuming they might be just completing paperwork at the airport before they depart? Or did u miss somethingRead More
Josh asks: I have a celebrant mate of mine whose registration is pending with the AG’s office. But, she has a friend’s wedding coming up towards the end of September, which is the reason why she completed the course. I initially completed the NOIM for her and kept the date in September free (just in case), but what would you recommend I do to help from here? Should I just hang tight and wait for the AG or can I take care of the legals and have the other celebrant deliver the ceremony (other than the legal elements of course)? Also how would this work if the other celebrant has spent the time getting to know the couple and I have simply helped in a legal capacity? It’s definitely possible for an authorised celebrant to manage the legalities of the ceremony while another person (whether a pending celebrant or a friend of the couple) delivers the “ceremonial” aspects of the ceremony.Read More
Elle asks: I have a wedding where I am marrying the couple on a boat, we are all going to get on and cruise for 10mins until the couple get a feeling like yep lets pull up here and then I will do their ceremony, then the boat will carry on for couple of hours whilst everyone has drinks, food and watches the sunset. So in regard to Location of marriage on paperwork, NOIM and Marriage Docs as I won’t know the coordinates until we literally pull up, do I just write the coordinates in quickly before I call everyone in to kick ceremony off or can I fill when we go to sign docs? And am I just writing the coordinates, or do I need to put the boats name also?Read More
A couple from America have gone gung ho and booked to elope in December. They have their heart set on coming into their wedding on a camel!
I advised them that this our ‘wet’ season and there may be a chance of rain and will need a plan B. However there is no plan B option for a camel to be involved….which is their whole motivation for getting married in this destination. The cameleer has advised them that they definitely need a plan B too. He has asked them potentially plan to have the wedding on 2 consecutive dates (28th and 29th Dec) so that if it is raining on the first date, they can do it on the second date.
I advised them that this isn’t possible due to the NOIM limitations. Anyway I got to thinking, is it totally illegal to fill in 2 NOIMS – one for each date? I feel like this would be a no-no but I guess I want to satisfy my curiosityRead More
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