One month’s notice

So you’ve said YES and you are sporting a beautiful engagement ring, you’ve had a think about when you would like to get married, but now what? where do you start?

Well, some couples like to book the venue first and work from there. Which isn’t a bad idea if you have a popular place in mind, as they can get booked up, sometimes a year or two in advance. There are small boutique wedding venues, or the large wedding venues catering for 100’s of guests, so depending on your plans may depend on the priority of your list of things to do. Others work around their wedding photographer’s availability, but either way, you can’t get married without a Authorised Marriage Celebrant, and if you are wanting to get married asap, it’s definitely the Celebrant that you need first.

Why? Well, it’s a legal requirement to give at least one months’ notice, and this starts from when your Celebrant checks, signs and accepts the NOIM.

So what’s a NOIM?
It’s a legal document which stands for Notice of Intended Marriage. You are basically giving notice of your plans to marry and is the first step towards your forth coming nuptials.
The document asks you to list your personal details and also the names and places of birth of your parents. You then ask a ‘authorised person’ to check the NOIM and your ID and they sign to say you are declaring ‘this is you’. Your Celebrant can do this, or you can ask one of the few other people listed on the NOIM.
The next part of the NOIM is where your chosen Wedding Celebrant then checks your ID documentation (if not already done so previously) and checks evidence that you are free to marry, if you have stated that you have been married before. The Celebrant then signs and accepts the NOIM and your notice starts from that date.

So why the one months’ notice?
Well I suppose you could call it a ‘cooling off period’. It helps with giving ‘real consent’ and prevents those crazy ‘off the cuff’ moments of ‘lets go and get married right now’! I actually had a couple walk into my Marriage Office on valentines day last year, asking exactly that! They were serious too and were quite disappointed when I said sorry, not today!
There are some circumstances where you can give a shortening of time, but you have to provide official evidence of why the notice period cannot be given, such as legal or medical official documentation supporting your application.

Here’s a few things about the NOIM that you will need to know:
It is a criminal offence for a person to give the Notice to an authorised celebrant or to sign it if that person knows the Notice contains a false statement or an error or is defective (section 104, Marriage Act).
You must give the completed and signed notice to an authorised celebrant at least one month, and not more than 18 months, before your proposed marriage, unless a prescribed authority has agreed to shorten the notice period (section 42 of the Act).

This Notice must be signed in the presence of an authorised witness. Persons who are authorised to witness the Notice are:

if a party signs the Notice in Australia—an authorised celebrant, a justice of the peace, a barrister or solicitor, a medical practitioner, or a member of the Australian Federal Police or the police force of a State or Territory.

if a party signs the Notice outside Australia—an Australian Consular Officer, an Australian Diplomatic Officer, a notary public, an employee of the Commonwealth authorised under paragraph 3(c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955, or an employee of the Australian Trade Commission authorised under paragraph 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955.
Note: For the definitions of Australian Consular Officer and Australian Diplomatic Officer, see section 2 of the Consular Fees Act 1955.

As well as the Notice, before the marriage can take place both parties must provide to the authorised celebrant (section 42 of the Act):

evidence of the parties’ date and place of birth, such as a birth certificate, official extract from a birth register or an Australian or overseas passport, and
if a party is divorced or a party’s last spouse died, evidence of divorce or death of that spouse.

Before the marriage can take place, the authorised celebrant must also be satisfied that you are one of the people named in the Notice.
Photographic evidence of identity such as a passport, a driver licence, proof of age card or an official identity card will assist the authorised celebrant to meet this requirement.

There are other circumstances where you will need to speak to your Celebrant and provide further information, some of these include:

  • If you have changed your name, you will need to show evidence of this
  • If you are under 18 years of age, you will need court approval to marry
  • If you cannot speak or understand the English language you will need to connect with
    a NAATI certifiied translator.

Take care when completing the NOIM

All of the information that you type or write on the Notice of Intended Marriage document is transferred to the government portal and lodged with Births Deaths and Marriages. You are signing the NOIM to declare your details are correct and true. If an error is found once lodged, there is a fee to correct this and a bit of a rigmarole to get it sorted! So it pays to double check everything. Typing your NOIM is the preferred option, so that the information can be clearly checked and uploaded correctly.

Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage
One last document that needs to be signed just before the marriage can take place. This can happen the week before you get married or minutes before you get married. But it has to be signed before your marriage can take place. It’s asking you one last time to give your consent;

  1. neither of us is married to another person; and
  2. neither of us is in a prohibited relationship; (eg: not about to marry your sister!)
  3. both of us are of marriageable age or, where one of us is under 18 years, that person has obtained the court’s consent to marry under the order specified above; and
  4. there is no other circumstance that would be a legal impediment to the marriage.

Well, we like to be sure!

As the marrying couple need to meet all of the criteria above, organising a surprise wedding for your partner, or for friends or family cannot happen. Both parties of the marrying couple have to sign to give consent, all the paperwork needs to be checked and witnessed and as it’s a collection of evidence they have to be very much included in the process for the Celebrant to authorise the marriage to go ahead.

So with all this in mind, concentrate on completing the Notice of Intended Marriage, and then you can get on with all the celebratory elements of your wedding day, after you’ve done the important stuff…. Like giving notice for your actual marriage to be legal!

The Rise of Registry Style Weddings: A Smart and Affordable Option
May 3, 2023