Lindy Cooke Celebrant

More wedding FAQs answered

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Having been an authorised Marriage Celebrant since 2013, I’ve found there are a number of questions which regularly come up in conversation with couples in relation to marriage in Australia. “More wedding FAQs answered” addresses five more commonly asked questions:


Q1:  I don’t have a copy of my final divorce order. How can I obtain one?

A:  The Courts (Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court) have, since February 2010, produced divorce orders in an electronic format including an electronic seal and signature. These orders include a certification that the divorce order took effect on the date indicated. A celebrant is entitled to rely on these orders as evidence of a person’s Australian divorce.

If your divorce was finalised after 12.2.10 and you were a party to the proceedings, you can obtain your divorce record from the Commonwealth Courts Portal at no cost. Here’s the link:

If your divorce was finalised prior to 13.2.10 or you were not a party to the divorce, you should complete the online form. A nominal fee applies ($30 as at November 2017).


Q2:  Do I have to change my surname to my husband’s surname after our marriage?

A:  No. While most brides choose to change their surname to their husband’s surname after marriage, you can continue to use the name you have been known by and not make any change at all. This could be, for example, because your current name has a special family significance to you, or you may be well known by it in a professional capacity e.g. as a lawyer, doctor etc. or you may wish to keep the same name as your children from a previous marriage. It really is personal choice. In fact, your husband also has the choice to take your surname after marriage if he wishes!


Q3:  How soon can I change my name after my marriage?

A:  You will need to order a standard Certificate of Marriage after your celebrant has arranged for your marriage to be registered in order to prove you are legally married in Australia. Once in your possession, you will be able to change your name at most institutions e.g. the bank, when applying for a new driver licence or passport etc. I can order a standard (and optional commemorative) certificate on your behalf when I register your marriage in NSW for the same fee that Births Deaths & Marriages would charge you if you did it yourself. In NSW, the fee that BDM charge is $56 for a standard certificate and $25 for a commemorative certificate. Here’s the link to show you the options currently available:

If I arrange this for you, it will save you completing a form and having 3 sets of your ID witnessed by a JP before you lodge your application. Each State BDM has their own procedures in place so please discuss this with me if I am marrying you outside NSW. Of course, you can change your name on social media and, potentially, in places such as retail stores etc. as soon after your marriage as you like.


Q4:  Since lodging our Notice of Intended Marriage, we have moved out of the area. Do we need to lodge a new NOIM with another celebrant?

No. Your NOIM is valid for up to 18 months after it was first lodged with your celebrant. In these circumstances, just ask your original celebrant to transfer your NOIM to your new celebrant. They can do this either by hand delivering it, sending it via registered mail, or they may be able to transfer it electronically. (In NSW, celebrants who are registered with LifeLink NSW are able to do this online.) Your new celebrant will need to view your documents to confirm the information on the NOIM is correct and can then start on the fun part which is finding out about your love story and designing a beautiful ceremony for you.

Note:  If you plan to marry with more than 1 month’s notice, you can choose to start from scratch and complete a new NOIM with your new celebrant. This will then be valid for 18 months from the date it was signed.


Q5:  My partner and I are a bit shy about public speaking. Do we have to say vows during our wedding?

A:  You are only required to say your “legal” vows so that your Celebrant, your two witnesses and anyone else present can hear them. These are 4 short phrases which, usually, you would repeat line by line after your Celebrant (although you could read them out if you prefer.) The actual wording (note:  some slight variations are possible) is:

(1) “I call upon the people here present, (2) to witness that I (insert full name), (3) take thee (insert full name), (4) to be my lawful wedded husband/wife.

It is a requirement that your name must be said in full at least once during the ceremony so, unless it has been said elsewhere, this is usually the place where it is included.

Most couples also choose to add their personal vows after their legal vows but this is entirely optional. Your personal vows don’t need to be a particular length or follow any particular pattern. I’m happy to help you with this part if you would like me to and I also provide sample vows for inspiration in the resource folder I lend to each couple. I always say, though, as long as you write “from the heart”, your vows will be perfect! If you choose to say personal vows, I will provide these to you printed on a vow card which becomes a beautiful memento of your special day.

~     ~     ~


Note:  Periodically, I will write further on the topic of “More Wedding FAQs”. If you have a specific question which has not been answered, please feel free to contact me. Here’s the link which details how to get in touch with me:



Lindy Cooke Marriage Celebrant Logo 2018


045 ~ 30/11/2017

© Lindy Cooke Celebrant

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