A Brief Look at the Legals - Paperwork
Before getting married myself, I had no idea what was involved when it came to the legal aspects of getting married, and it all seemed very daunting in the midst of picking a venue, caterer and considering countless other small details.
If you're recently engaged, looking for a celebrant, or just curious about the legal elements of marriage, this article aims to alleviate some stress, and shed some light on the general process; namely, the paperwork required to make it all official.
There are also specific inclusions within a wedding ceremony's wording required for the marriage to meet legal requirements. However, for the sake of simplicity, these will be covered in a separate post.
Before the Wedding
Notice of Intended Marriage
Two documents require completion before a wedding can take place; the first being the 'Notice of Intended Marriage'.
Often referred to as a 'NOIM', the purpose of this form is to register your intent as a couple, to marry. The timing of this document is important to note, as you must lodge it with your celebrant (along with proof of place and date of birth), at least one month, and no longer than 18 months before your wedding date.
It is essential to complete the NOIM with care, and ideally with assistance from your celebrant, as its information will likely be used by your celebrant to populate future wedding documents.
Form 14 - Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage
The second form requiring completion before a wedding ceremony is the 'Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage'. Couples typically sign this document at their wedding rehearsal, as timing wise it should be completed as close to the ceremony as possible.
The Declaration's purpose is to confirm that circumstances have not changed since completing the 'NOIM' and that both wedding parties are still free to marry.
At the Wedding
Form 15 - Certificate of Marriage (Ceremonial Certificate)
The Ceremonial Certificate requires signing by both wedding parties, two witnesses, and the celebrant at the end of the marriage ceremony.
Celebrants must present this certificate to couples at the conclusion of their ceremony. It is not a document of identity, however, is proof that a couple is married and that their legal status has now changed.
Form 16 - Official Certificate of Marriage
The Official Certificate of Marriage also requires signing by both wedding parties, two witnesses, and the celebrant at the end of the marriage ceremony.
There are two copies of this document. The celebrant as keeps one as part of their red marriage register, while the other is send to Births, Deaths and Marriages. This certificate provides the BDM with accurate details of the wedding, with the appropriate signatures to prove that the ceremony took place.
After the Wedding
After any wedding ceremony, celebrants have fourteen days to forward the NOIM, Declaration, and Official Certificate of Marriage to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Office of the state that they solemnised the marriage.
Throughout my training to become a celebrant, my mentor stated several times that "marriage paperwork is not complex, but it is pedantic". I recommend to all couples that I work with that we get the NOIM out of the way as soon as possible. This way we can take our time and will mean less stress as the big day approaches.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions I would love to hear from you.