Frequently Asked Questions


Do we have to have our ceremony in a specific location?
In Queensland and all over Australia there are many different places that you may hold a civil marriage ceremony. In The Whitsundays for example you can hold your ceremony at the many beaches and islands, national parks, resorts, homes, gardens, hotels and restaurants, chapels, boats (in Australian waters), aircraft (in Australian air space) or on a bridge.

What paperwork do we need?
Australian law requires that couples complete and lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage form (NOIM) one month and one day prior to their nuptials. You can download a copy of the NOIM from the Attorney General’s site. When lodging your NOIM with me, you will also need:

Your original birth certificates (or passport if you were born outside Australia).

A Certificate of Divorce or a Certificate of Nullity, if previously married.

A Certificate of Death, if previous spouse is deceased.

If either party are under 18 years of age, a consent form signed by the parents of the person under 18 and a court order permitting the marriage.

An official translation of documents in a foreign language must accompany the original documents. In Australia contact for a document to be translated and certified as genuine by an authorised translator.

Change of Name Certificate if a name has been changed from that on your birth certificate.

It is my responsibility to lodge the completed NOIM with the proper Sate Registrar of Births Deaths and marriages.

Can We?
Can we write our own vows?
You most certainly can write your own vows. However, there are several requirements to keep in mind. The Marriage Act requires that you include some minimum requirements:

You must use the words spouse or husband and wife in the vows.

You must use your full names at least once in the ceremony.

The following phase must be used – I call upon the persons here present to witness that I (full name) take you (full name) to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife.

If you don’t want to write your own vows, I can provide you with a wide range to choose from.

Do We?
Do we have to remember our vows?
No, you don’t have to remember your vows, unless of course you really want to. I can say the main body of your vows and all that you have to say is “I do” or “I will.” Alternatively, I can ask you to repeat your vows after me and I can lead you through them line upon line. This is the most intimate and cherished part of your ceremony. The choice is yours.

Will You?
Will you provide samples?
Yes, I will offer many ceremony choices for you to read through and gain inspiration. You can mix and match different ceremony layouts (how the ceremony flows) as well as any readings or speical moments you may wish to have. You can always incorporate your own words or provide your own ideas and together we’ll incorporate this into a beautiful, one of a kind wedding ceremony.

How Long?
How long does a ceremony take?
The average ceremony, including signing the certificates, is generally between 20-40 minutes.

Can We?
Can we elope or have a surprise wedding?
Yes you can elope. You will require 2 witnesses. I may be able to help you with this. A surprise wedding is legal only if both of you know that you are getting married. The only people you can surprise are your family, friends and guests.Both parties of the marriage / elopement must fill out and sign the Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month and one day before the intended marriage.

Do We?
Do we receive a marriage certificate on the day of our ceremony?
Yes, you will be presented with a marriage certificate (issued by the Commonwealth of Australia) on the day of your wedding. However, whilst this certificate is evidence that you are married, I recommend that you apply for a certified copy of your marriage certificate, required as evidence of a change of name. This may be obtained from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, or you can ask me for a copy of the form. The Registry charges separately for this.

My fiancé is coming from overseas for the wedding. If we both plan to remain in Australia, what do we need to do?
It is your duty to consult the Department of Immigration in Australia and the relevant Government authority in your fiancé’s country. If you are a citizen of Australia, your fiancé from overseas will need to obtain a Prospective Marriage Visa before the day of your wedding ceremony. If you both plan to remain in Australia after the wedding it is best to consult the Department of Immigration to discuss the most appropriate approach for your individual situation. In order to do this, you will need to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage form with me. The Notice can be signed by your fiancé in the presence of a Notary Public or an Australian Diplomatic Officer or an Australian Consular Officer or an employee of the Commonwealth or the Australian Trade Commission. The Notice of Intended Marriage form should then be sent directly to me. When your fiancé arrives in Australia, the original certificates will need to be produced to support the Notice of Intended Marriage. If your fiancé cannot fill-in the Notice of Intended Marriage form and have it witnessed, then you can complete your section of the Notice of Intended Marriage form and supply your fiancé’s details. When your fiancé arrives in Australia, they can sign the Notice of Intended Marriage form in the presence of a qualified witness. Your fiancé will need an official ‘Prospective Marriage Visa Letter’ which must be lodged at the Australian Embassy/Australian High Commission in their country of residence. I provide this official letter. This letter is required before a ‘Prospective Marriage Visa’ will be issued to your fiancé. For more information, please feel free to contact me, or alternatively, contact an Australian Immigration Agent, or see the Australian Immigration Web site. A wedding does not guarantee Citizenship.

Do We?
Do we need to have a rehearsal?
In most cases, it is not essential. However, you are entitled to have a rehearsal if you desire one. It is recommended that you have a rehearsal if your wedding ceremony is quite detailed and/or includes rituals and involves the participation of other people.

We Want?
We want to get married in Australia – will it be a legal wedding there and in our own country?
If you marry in Australia, there is no legal requirement that you stay in Australia. You can marry in Australia whilst you are on holidays providing your Notice of Intended Marriage has been lodged one month and one day prior to you wedding day. You should check with the government of your own country what they require so that your marriage is officially recognised by them. Some countries may require a ‘Registered Copy’ of your marriage certificate issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Others may require that you have an apostille attached to your certificate before they will accept it as an authentic document. The Smart Traveller web site has more information on Apostilles and Authentification.

Extra Charges?
Are there any extra charges?
All fees and charges will be stated on my invoice.

What If?
What if we need to postpone our ceremony?
Your ceremony may be postponed providing that it does not exceed the 18 month period stipulated on the Notice of Intended Marriage (form 13). However, you may need to check with me (and your venue/other suppliers) about my availability when you set a new date for your ceremony.

We have children – can we include them in our marriage ceremony?
Whether you have children together or from a former relationship, it is wisdom to acknowledge their role and place in your changing relationship. You are encouraged to consider including them in the ceremony. Talk to me for some ideas on how to best achieve this.

More Questions?