MARRIAGE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
The source for all definitive information on getting married in Australia is the Federal Attorney-General of Australia (Families and Marriage section) along with the Marriage Act (able to be downloaded). However, very simply, here are some questions and answers that you might ask of your celebrant.
Question: Are you a registered celebrant?
Answer: All registered celebrants are listed state by state, territory by territory, at https://www.ag.gov.au/. Not only is every valid and registered celebrant listed on this site, but registration denotes that your celebrant has undergone training as a marriage celebrant and has maintained her professional skills in yearly professional development. Celebrants may travel the country and any registered celebrant can perform marriages outside of their state or territory of registration.
Question: Who can marry in Australia?
Answer: Any person over the age of eighteen, with no legal impediments, in possession of photo ID such as a passport, driver’s license or photo ID card, and/or a birth certificate may be married in Australia. While the Darwin Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages prefers a birth certificate indicating parental details, a passport and driver’s license is sufficient to fill in a Notice of Intent to Marry (NoIM). Additional original documentation is required for proof of divorce, annulment or death of a previous partner. All original documents must be sighted by your celebrant prior to any marriage ceremony and it is up to each person to supply that information in a timely way.
You do not have to be a citizen to marry in Australia. As long as there is sufficient documentation, the process to begin registered for marriage can begin.
A NoIM is the first of five signed documents and indicates your intention to marry. It must be filled in at least thirty days prior to your date of marriage. You can ask for further information by email or phone from your chosen celebrant or, in some special circumstances, apply for a shortening of time (conditions are further described on https://www.ag.gov.au/). The Notice is filled in with your celebrant present and she will sign it as your witness.
Question: So what’s the first step?
Answer: The first step is to ring your chosen celebrant and talk to her on the phone. Usually a first meeting a ‘meet and greet’ is organised either in her home office or at a neutral setting of mutual choice. The second step, often completed during this first meeting, is the filling in of the Notice of Intent to Marry with subsequent meetings collaboratively planned with your celebrant.
Question: How much will it cost me to get married?
Answer: Each celebrant charges her own fees. While fees do vary from celebrant to celebrant, you will encounter celebrants charging from $500 up to $800, depending on their skill levels, expertise and a variety of other factors. Talk to your celebrant. While all celebrants must, by law, conform to legal guidelines and the Marriage Act, there are a variety of other elements of a ceremony. NT Celebrants offer individual, unique, hand-crafted ceremonies with the client’s wishes and needs at the forefront.
It’s important to note that while you can fill in the NoIM at the Registry Office in Darwin CBD, civil celebrants and the Registry office work under slightly different conditions and fee structures – and these are not interchangeable. While a Notice may be transferred from the Registry office, all fees are non-refundable and you will need to engage with your celebrant and pay her fees.