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Lynda Leith celebrant Southern Highlands New South Wales

The Legal Bits

 Legal requirements to get married in Australia

How do we do this?

I will take care of all the legal paperwork from the beginning to the end. I don't want you to worry about paperwork, you have enough to think about. I want your wedding to feel stress free and easy. All you have to do is walk down the aisle, get married and crack the champers.

Here’s a summary of what I will do for you and the things you need to do for me. You get the easy bits.

My job:

  • I make sure there is no legal impediment to your marriage and you can legally marry under Australian law.

  • I make sure you lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form with me al least one month prior to your ceremony date.

  •  I will supply all legal documents that are to be signed on the day and also include the 'legal speak' in your ceremony.

  • I will lodge all the paperwork with the Registry of Birth Deaths and Marriages (BDM) the first working day after your wedding (but no later than 14 days of your marriage) and apply for your official marriage certificate. The certificate you get at the ceremony is ceremonial only and not suitable for name changing. BDM will register your marriage once I lodge the paperwork.

  • I like to take care of your official marriage certificate to be sure it’s correct, plus saving you time. BDM charges apply but my service is complimentary.

  • Once I send it to you via registered post, you can change your name and keep it for proof you are legally married. 


Your job:

  • Provide me with your current identification documents, divorce documents or death certificate as required.

  • Know that you are in good hands.​

  • Get excited and get ready to get hitched

  • Have the champers on ice.


Easy peasy. I promise to make it as simple as possible. It works beautifully if we can meet for a chat, coffee or after-work beer.


Want to know more about the legals? 


So, how do I get married legally in Australia?


  • You must be of marriageable age – that's over 18 (or ONE party may be 16 with consent from a judge and parent/guardian)


  •  You must not be immediately related or in a prohibited relationship

  •  You must not be already married

  •  You must both be consenting and willing to marry

  • You must provide one-month notice to me with the both of you signing the Notice of Intended Marriage


Stay calm, I'll guide you through this.


How do we give our one-month notice?

 The one-month notice period starts once we meet.  I check your ID and that your details are true and correct, we sign the NOIM (with me as the witness) and voila, it’s done.


Once you have lodged the NOIM with me I hang onto everything until it’s time to submit all the paperwork. Just prior to your marriage, at the rehearsal or before I solemnise your marriage, I will get you to sign a Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage.

What ID documents do we need to provide when signing our notice?


I need to verify the following and will need original documents to support:


  • Your identity and proof of birth: current or expired passport. No passport? No problem. Please bring your original birth certificate and photo identification (e.g drivers licence) Your surname needs to match on each document otherwise you will have to supply proof of your name change. For example a marriage certificate if divorced or a name change certificate from BDM. 


  • Evidence of any prior marriages ending. A decree absolute or death certificate ( if applicable)

  • Depending on your circumstances, I may need to see more identification


We're eloping and don't live near you, are we able to email our notice and ID documents?


Yes, you can email scanned copies of your ID documents and your NOIM to me to begin the process within the legally required time. But I MUST sight the original document before your marriage is solemnised and keep the original document to send into BDM for your marriage registration. 


You can also have your signatures on the NOIM witnessed by another authorised person other than me. There is a list of qualified people at the bottom of the form.


I would much rather do this with you in person the first time we meet. If we cannot meet for some reason you will need to take this step.


 Can we get married sooner than one month?

In extenuating circumstances, there are several scenarios where a shortening of notice is possible such as:


  • Employment or travel commitments


  • Pre-booked wedding or celebration arrangements


  • Medical reasons


  • Legal proceedings


  • Celebrant error in giving notice


How do we shorten the one-month notice period?


​Complete an Application to Shorten Period of Notice of Intent to Marry. Then lodge it with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages along with supporting documents. I cannot solemnise your wedding until the Registry approves your application.


The BDM will apply a fee for this application.


​Can I organise a marriage with you from overseas?

Yes, no worries. You can print off a NOIM form from this website and a list of who can witness and sign it with you. This is often consulate staff or a notary public. You can then scan the NOIM form to me, along with scans of your passports and you can consider it lodged. I’ll need to witness your passports in person before the wedding or when you arrive in Australia. You’ll need to bring the original NOIM document for me. Some couples choose to send this document to me via registered post so it’s not forgotten. NO NOIM - NO WEDDING- so this is a very good plan.


What is the legal talk during the ceremony?


​There are a couple of things we need to say to get you hitched. We can discuss how you would like to incorporate these two elements into your ceremony. 


The Monitum (this is what I say)


“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.”


The Vows (this is what you two 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/husband/partner in marriage/spouse)."


We must use your full names in the vows or somewhere else in your ceremony.


So, in summary, you will sign five documents


  • Notice of Intention to Marry


  • Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage - (before the ceremony and as close to the ceremony as possible)


  • Official Certificate of Marriage - one copy I send to BDM with all the other necessary documents within 14 days of your marriage


  • Official Certificate of Marriage - one copy I keep for my records


  • Certificate of Marriage - your copy - it is important to understand this certificate is a ceremonial only. I will be your applicant and get your legal marriage certificate.


  • ​Your official certificate of marriage must be witnessed by two people. It doesn’t matter who they are, as long as they are over 18. We can include this part in the ceremony or at another stage after the wedding.



I’m taking my partner’s name? What name do I sign on the marriage certificates? How do I change my name after the ceremony?


You will sign your marriage certificates with your current name and usual signature that you have provided to me.


To change your name to your spouse’s surname or to hyphenate your surnames, you will need to first get your official certificate of marriage from BDM. 


I will lodge the marriage documents to BDM who will then register your marriage.  As part of my service, I will take care of obtaining your official marriage certificate and send it to you.


Once you have your legal Certificate of Marriage you can start changing your name. I'd start with your drivers licence and go from there.


It may sounds a little daunting but I'm here to help you every step of the way. So, lets get married!

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