Natasha Kollosche - Civil Celebrant - Gold Coast Australia

Legal Requirements

Marriage Equality For All

On 7 December 2017, the Australian Parliament passed the Marriage Amendment Act 2017 to change the definition of marriage and provide for marriage equality in Australia. The right to marry in Australia is no longer determined by sex or gender. The information on this website has been updated to reflect the changes to the Marriage Act.

To marry in Australia you need to provide the following documents

What is the ‘Notice Of Intended Marriage’ Form?

The Notice of Intended Marriage (also known as the "NOIM") is an official Australian Government Form which must be completed and signed by both parties intending to marry. The document must be signed in front of an authorised witness (see below). The completed and signed NOIM must be forwarded to the celebrant at least one calendar month prior to your wedding day.

You can download the latest NOIM (valid for use after 9 December 2017) by clicking here.

If you live locally or will be visiting the Gold Coast more than a month prior to your wedding, each of the persons intending to marry can complete their sections and sign on page 4 in front of me (the celebrant). I will act as your authorised witness.

If you live elsewhere in Australia or it is difficult for us to meet, this form can be signed by each of the persons intending to marry, with your signatures witnessed by one of the following:

  • A Commissioner for Declarations
  • An Australian Justice of the Peace
  • An Australian Barrister or Solicitor
  • An Australian legally qualified medical practitioner (with MBBS qual)
  • A member of the Australian Federal or State/Territory Police

If living outside Australia, this form can be signed by each of the parties intending to marry and must be witnessed by one of the following:

  • An Australian Diplomatic Officer
  • An Australian Consular Officer
  • Employee of the Commonwealth authorised under Paragraph 3 (c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955
  • A Notary Public

When do we need to show you the legal documents?

As soon as possible. I ask couples to email me copies of all the necessary identification documentation along with the signed NOIM for me to check. Then once I give you the go ahead, you can mail the original NOIM form to me by express post. Couples need to bring original documents (such as birth certificates and divorce certificates) to the Gold Coast to show me at our pre- ceremony meeting. Couples coming from overseas are advised to email copies of all the documents (including the NOIM) and bring the originals with you to be viewed prior to your ceremony (the pre-ceremony meeting is a good time to do this). You can give me the original NOIM during this meeting too.

Please note: If the original paperwork is not sighted by me or in order then I am (under Australian Law) unable to officiate your marriage. If this were to occur I would change your ceremony to a "Commitment Ceremony" which is a wonderful celebration but does not have any legal standing.

What age can we legally be married?

At least one of you must be over 18. If one person is under 18, they must be over 16 and seek special approval from the Courts. Contact the Attorney General's Office in Canberra on (02) 6234 4800 for further information.

Is it possible to get married sooner than the required one month notification?

There is a provision for a Shortening of Time. You will need to be able to provide proof that there are legitimate reasons for the shortening. Contact the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your capital city for more information.

What if one of the parties to be married cannot sign the NOIM?

If a party to an intended marriage cannot conveniently sign this notice at the time, the other party may sign the notice and give it to me. However in this case, the party who has not signed the notice must sign it, in my presence, before the marriage is solemnised. At least one of the parties to be married must sign the NOIM more than one month prior to the ceremony.

How long will it take to register our marriage?

Once you are married, as the Authorised Celebrant I will lodge the paperwork with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) in Brisbane within 7 days of the ceremony. BDM estimates a waiting period of approximately 2 -3 weeks after they have received the paperwork for completed registration (although you are legally married from the moment you speak your wedding vows). You can pay a priority fee for fast registration and issuing of the Official Certificate of Marriage.

What if my documents are in a language other than English?

If any of the documentation (such as birth certificates and divorce certificates) are in a language other than English, it will be your responsibility to ensure they are officially translated and authorised by a person who is a legally recognised translator as accredited through NAATI National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters. A translator can be found in the Yellow Pages or by contacting the Australian or English Embassy in your country of residence.

I cannot find my Birth Certificate. Will my Passport be sufficient?

Yes however producing a passport only can lead to mistakes on the official paperwork and these can be difficult to resolve after the marriage has taken place. So, if you were born in Australia I would recommend you obtain an original birth certificate by contacting the Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state you were born in. This can be done by mail and take up to 4 weeks to obtain so don't leave it until too late.

Will a Birth Extract be sufficient?

Yes, however there may be times in the future you will need your full birth certificate (especially if you decide to change your name after you are married or are applying for a visa) so again, if time permits I recommend you obtain a copy of your original birth certificate.

I emigrated to Australia when I was young and no longer have a Passport or Birth Certificate from my country of birth. What should I do?

An Australian Passport is sufficient proof - if you do not have this then a Statutory Declaration will need to be prepared by me (there is an extra fee for this) and you will need to provide me with the original of your Australian Citizenship Certificate and other identity documentation such as a drivers licence.

Do we need to provide originals of documents on our wedding day?

Only if you have not already shown them to your celebrant prior to that.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do we have to have a Marriage Celebrant?

For the marriage to be legally recognised under the Marriage Act 1961, a Celebrant or Minister registered by the Australian Attorney General’s Office must officiate your ceremony.

What is your ceremony style?

My personally written sample ceremonies range from traditional to casual and relaxed so there is something for everyone. My aim is to get to know you both as well as I can and formulate the ceremony based on that. To do this I will provide you with a questionnaire that asks various questions about the two of you. It is optional to complete the questionnaire however it helps me a great deal to give you the best possible service. I then take the selections you have chosen from my samples (or other words provided by you) and blend that with the information I have learned about you so that your ceremony is unique to the two of you and is one that is enjoyable and memorable for you and your guests. Please note that this type of ceremony takes time and effort to create so you need to consider this when comparing different celebrants and pricing.

Will there be any religious aspects in our ceremony?

By definition, a Civil Ceremony is non-religious so there are no regligious references made unless they are specifically requested by you. I have on occasion had couples ask me to incorporate some religious aspects into their ceremony - this has included Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist rituals - samples will be provided on request or you can tell me what you would like and I will do my best to accommodate you.

What do you charge for your services?

I do not have a one off fee - hence the reason I ask for as much information as possible on the Inquiry Form of this website. My fees are based on a number of factors including the equipment I may need to provide and any travel costs that may be associated as well as the day you are married. For instance, if you have quite a few guests I may need to include setup and usage of my PA system/Music player so everyone can hear the ceremony and music can be played. If you decide to organise a ceremony without the assistance of a wedding planner then I may also need to provide a Registry table, tablecloth and 2 chairs for the signing of the certificates.

Are you able to organise a photographer and flowers on our behalf?

No. The Attorney General of Australia has strict guidelines set out for registered Civil Marriage Celebrants which includes that a celebrant is forbidden to organise any aspects of a wedding due to a possible conflict of interest. This especially relates to a celebrant offering his or her services as a wedding planner. I can however give you a list of suppliers for you to contact...these are also listed under the "Resources" page of this website.

How do we organise a permit for the beach/park?

You can either have a Wedding Planner organise your permits or contact Gold Coast City Council and organise this yourself. Pricing and application forms are available on the GCCC website

How many witnesses do we need on the day? Are there any restrictions to who our witnesses can be?

You will require one witness for each of you (the Celebrant cannot act as a witness however a photographer can). The witnesses must be over 18 years of age and must speak and understand the English language.

Can we meet with you prior to our wedding day?

I think it is important for us to meet up prior to your big day so that we get to know each other face to face and that the legal aspects of the Marriage Certificates are completed.

We have a friend who is training to be a Marriage Celebrant. Can he/she officiate our service?

A trainee celebrant or other persons can play a role in the ceremony however there are strict guidelines regarding the role the Authorised Celebrant must still play so please contact me for further information on this.

Will we be given a wedding certificate on the day and can we use this for legal purposes?

You will be provided with a beautiful "Presentation Certificate" for you to keep. This cannot be used as proof of the marriage for legal reasons such as change of name or visa applications. For this reason, I will provide you with information on applying for your Official Certificate of Marriage from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Does my surname change automatically to that of my spouse?

No. Many people choose to keep their maiden name these days so if you wish to take on your spouse's surname, you will need to change that yourself with all the places your name is registered (such as Medicare, banks, drivers license, insurance companies, superannuation etc). You will require a copy of your "Official Certificate of Marriage". This is obtained by mailing an application form and identification (plus a fee of $46.50) to the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Brisbane, Queensland after your wedding.

Will our wedding be accepted worldwide?

Yes. If you live overseas, some foreign countries require a copy of your Official Certificate of Marriage and in some countries this may need to be stamped with an Apostille Seal from the Department of Foreign Affairs. I can provide information on how to organise this if necessary.

Can we write our own ceremony and can we involve friends and family?

Absolutely. There are a few words required to be said by law but the rest is up to you. There are plenty of opportunities to involve others in the ceremony - I can provide advice on this. I highly encourage you to be as creative as you can and I am here to offer you my help and support to do this.

Do we have to exchange wedding rings?

No. This is optional. There are many symbols and rituals you may choose to incorporate into your ceremony.

Can I be given away by a person who is not a member of my family?

Yes. There is no legal obligation here, merely symbolic.

How long will our ceremony take?

Allow between 20 - 35 minutes. Registry style weddings are usually 10 minutes plus the signing of legal paperwork.

What name do I sign my marriage certificates in?

You must use the name on your birth certificate unless you have legally changed your name or through a previous marriage. You should use the name by which you are known on your supporting documentation (such as your drivers licence, passport etc).

When I book my flight for our honeymoon, can I use my married name?

This will depend on when you take your honeymoon. When you get married, your identification documents (such as passport and drivers licence) will still be in your maiden name (as you cannot change your name until your marriage is registered) so if you are planning to travel overseas soon after your wedding day you should use the name you are known by on your current identification documents.

I am divorced however I wish to have my maiden name on the marriage certificates. Can I do this?

It is advisable to use the name that you are currently known as otherwise you may run into complications after the wedding if you wish to change your name to that of your spouse's surname. There is the option for you to change your name back to your maiden name before the ceremony but this may take some effort given you need to change all supporting documentation. Contact the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your Capital City for further information.

I want to surprise my fiance with our wedding. Can I do this?

No, this is not allowed under Australian law. Each partner is obliged legally to sign the "Notice of Intent to Marry" form at least one month and a day before the ceremony. Even though there is stipulation that one party to be married can sign the NOIM closer to the wedding date, the celebrant must establish that this person is aware they are to be married.

We were married two years ago but none of our family and friends are aware of this. We would prefer that our guests think our upcoming Vow Renewal Ceremony is our wedding ceremony. Is that a problem?

It is not only illegal to be married more than once (without being divorced first), it is also illegal to pretend to be get married when you are already legally married. The Marriage Act 1961 is very clear on this and states…”persons who are already legally married to each other shall not, in Australia…go through a form of ceremony with each other” and “a person who is authorised by this Act to solemnise marriages will not purport to solemnize a marriage…between persons who inform first-mentioned person that they are already legally married to each other…”

Where can we find information about Pre-Marriage Relationship Services?

The Australian Government offers information through the following websites Dept of Family, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Family Relationships Online. Pre-Marriage Education Programs are available in all States and Territories of Australia through Relationships Australia.