Lindy Cooke Celebrant


What Wedding Legalities Are Involved?

When couples consider their wedding day, it’s likely that most would be thinking of a beautiful celebration, often with family and friends in attendance. The path to this special day may be reasonably short or it may be something that has taken some or many months. Either way, there are some key things to tick off the list in terms of wedding legalities.

This is where I come in! ūüéČ


Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM – Form 13)

Your celebrant will provide you with this document (or you can download it from the Attorney-General’s Department website.) I typically complete this form when I meet each couple, they sign and I then witness their signatures at the time they book with me. If you don’t live in my local area, there are other ways that this document can be signed and witnessed and, if this is the case, I will step you through the options.

The NOIM must be lodged with your celebrant a minimum of 1 month before your wedding day. The 1 month term does not relate to the number of days in a month but, rather, the date in the month. In most circumstances, this is pretty straightforward. For example, if the NOIM is lodged on 15 March, the 1 month period ends on 14 April. This allows a couple to marry at any time on or after 15 April that same year. The NOIM is valid for a period of 18 months following lodgement with an authorised celebrant.

If there is no corresponding date in the following month, the 1 month period finishes at the end of the month following the one in which the NOIM was lodged, allowing you to marry on the 1st day of the month after the following month e.g. if a NOIM is lodged on 29 January, 30 January or 31 January, and it is not a leap year, the first day you would be allowed to marry is 1 March as there are no 29th, 30th or 31st days in February. Similarly, if a NOIM is lodged on 31 August, the first day you would be allowed to marry is 1 October as there is no 31st day in September.

If you do not have sufficient time to give 1 month‚Äôs notice, there are 5 strict reasons why a ‚ÄúShortening of Time‚ÄĚ may be granted by an authorised person. You‚Äôll be able to read further information on this topic by heading over¬†here:


Happily Ever Before & After Brochure (Form 14A)

Your celebrant must provide both Party 1 & Party 2 with copies of this document. It outlines the obligations and consequences of marriage and states the availability of marriage education and counselling. A translated copy of this document in many different foreign languages can be found on the Attorney-General’s Department website.

Your celebrant must also provide you with contacts in the local area for marriage education and counselling.


Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage (DONLIM – Form 14)

Your celebrant will provide you with this document. It must be printed on the reverse of one of your official certificates of marriage and is to be signed by the couple and witnessed by your celebrant as close as possible to your wedding day (usually at a rehearsal or shortly before the ceremony starts if a rehearsal is not possible.)

The declaration states that:

  • The two people being married are not currently married to anyone else. If Party 1 and/or 2 has been previously married, they must provide written legal evidence to their celebrant before their next marriage that their most recent marriage has ended i.e. via death, divorce or nullity.
  • The two people being married are both over the age of 18. If one is over the age of 16 but not yet 18, the couple must provide proof to their celebrant that a judge or magistrate has given approval for the minor to marry.
  • The couple are not in a prohibited relationship which basically means they are not closely related. In Australia, you are not allowed to marry your brother/sister, your mother/daughter/son, your father/daughter/son or your grandparent/granddaughter/grandson. You are allowed to marry your cousin or your uncle/aunt.
  • The two people give consent to the marriage which basically means there is no coercion or subterfuge involved.


Certificates of Marriage (COM – Form 16 & Couples’ Certificate – Form 15)

There are 5 Certificates of Marriage (in NSW and Queensland where I perform weddings). This may vary in other states which do not offer commemorative certificates of marriage. Your celebrant must provide 3 of these to you to be signed by you on your wedding day as well as by two witnesses over the age of 18 and your celebrant.

The first of these is the official certificate of marriage. This is either printed on one side of a piece of paper or it forms part of a book of marriage certificates which authorised celebrants can purchase (called the Red Book.)

The second of these looks exactly like the abovementioned document but it has the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage printed on the reverse.

The third is your couple’s certificate, a ceremonial certificate which your celebrant must leave with you on your wedding day. While the couple’s certificate is a legal document and a record of its number is sent to Births Deaths & Marriages (BDM) by your celebrant after your marriage, it is given to you before your marriage has been registered.

The other 2 certificates can be purchased from BDM after your marriage has been registered. One is called the ‚Äústandard‚ÄĚ certificate of marriage. This is a legal document which provides proof that your marriage has been registered in the state in which it occurred. Purchase of this document is optional but, if one or both parties intend to change their name after marriage, it must be purchased as evidence of your marriage taking place.

The final certificate is called a ‚Äúcommemorative‚ÄĚ certificate of marriage. Purchase of this certificate is optional. These are not legal certificates but are more a symbolic and attractive document to mark your special day. You are able to choose from a variety of designs. Here are the links to take you to the¬†NSW &¬†Qld Births Deaths & Marriages websites where you can view the options.

I can order one or both of these certificates on your behalf if you wish.


Other Legalities

There are countless other legal elements which your celebrant must ensure are covered in terms of completing legal documents accurately and delivering a legal ceremony. Not all of these are relevant for every ceremony. Some key elements include:

  • Saying your legal names in full (first, middle and last) at least once during your wedding ceremony. You or your celebrant, if you prefer, are able to do this.
  • Your celebrant saying the Monitum during your ceremony. This is a statement that says they are authorised by law to marry couples according to law and that marriage is the union of two people, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
  • Party 1 and Party 2 saying the minimum legal vows (4 short lines.) Your celebrant will provide these to you. Personal vows are optional.
  • The couple engaging the services of an interpreter if one or both parties are unable to speak English fluently. This requires the completion of a document called the “Certificate of Faithful Performance by Interpreter”. Your celebrant is required to provide this and ensure the first part is completed prior to the ceremony and the second part is completed after the ceremony.
  • Foreign documents being translated by an accredited translator (members of¬†NAATI are the recommended translators for documents in Australia.)
  • Sighting all relevant documents prior to the marriage i.e.
    • (i) an ORIGINAL birth certificate or ORIGINAL birth extract to prove your date and place of birth OR a passport containing a photo which resembles you;
    • CURRENT photo ID such as a driver licence;
    • evidence of the cessation of Party 1 and Party 2’s most recent marriage (if relevant); and
    • any other documents such as approval for a Shortening of Time, Statutory Declaration etc.
  • The Marriage Act 1961, the Guidelines to the Marriage Act 1961 and the Marriage Regulations 2017 are the source of information when determining legalities. In addition, the Marriage Law & Celebrants Section of the Attorney-General‚Äôs Department can provide support to authorised marriage celebrants.

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As your celebrant, it is my responsibility to guide you every step of the way so that the wedding legalities (completing marriage documents, delivering a legal ceremony and registering your marriage) are fulfilled correctly.



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