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28 January 2010

You and the Notice of Intended Marriage and The Australian Marriage Act

Hello, and welcome
     As you may (or may not) know, when you want to get married in Australia, you need to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage with your chosen celebrant at least one month and one day before the wedding date. I think it's meant to stop people rushing into marriage. 
      Anyway, I was corresponding with a bride today who wants to marry as soon as possible. By lodging the Notice of Intended Marriage today, being January 28, she can marry on March 1. Here's the strange part though - by lodging the Notice tomorrow, January 29, she can marry on March 1. By lodging on Saturday Jan 30 she can marry on March 1. Or by lodging on Sunday Jan 31, she can marry on March 1! Strange the way this works out I think. Well, that's how the law applies. 
     Just in case Ive confused you completely, here's a very straightforward example of applying the Marriage Act. If you lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant on 1 February 2010, you can marry on 2 March 2010, being one month and one day later. 
     Of course, you may not be wanting to marry so quickly. You would have until 1 August 2011 to hold your wedding (which is eighteen months from lodgement date). 
      So, what happens if you lodge the form with your celebrant and you don't want to get married within eighteen months of lodgement? No problem - you just fill out another form with your celebrant (or a different one if you wish). You will probably need to pay another lodgement fee. 
      Here are a few other things to take note of re lodging your Notice of Intended Marriage: 
  • It's likely that the fee you pay your celebrant for lodgement will be non-refundable if you decide not to go ahead with the booking, for any reason (like cancelling the wedding). If you decide to engage another celebrant instead, the first celebrant must transfer your paperwork (which states the date of lodgement) to your new celebrant. This means that if you change your mind about the celebrant you want for your wedding - which, you as consumer have every right to do - then you won't have to start the 'one month and one day' all over again. You  will, though probably need to pay another lodgement fee to your new celebarnt. 
  • Ideally, your celebrant keeps a stock of blank Notice of Intended Marriage  forms. If not, a free Notice of Intended Marriage form can be downloaded from the Attorney-General's website. Make sure you download all four pages as guiding notes are included. It will probably help your celebrant if you fill in the form (in clear, large block letters) after you download, as the font that Attorney-General's has chosen for filling in the form on line is very small and there's no choice to enlarge it before you print. 
  • When you lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage, you lodge it with your celebrant as lodgement authority. I've noticed over the years that celebrants can imply on their websites that we must send the Notice of Intended Marriage to the Registrar within the one month and one day. This is not correct, and I have spoken with couples who were worried that the Notice may not reach the Registrar's office in time. There's no need for worry here. I assure you that every celebrant keeps the Notice until after the wedding. Only then is it sent to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state or territory in which you had your wedding, along with one of the three certificates you signed at your wedding, for registration. (You  keep one certificate on your wedding day - the elegant one - and your celebrant keeps one for a mandatory six years, or longer) 
     This is not quite the blog post I mentioned I'd publish in my last post, but I couldn't miss the opportunity to show you how the 'one month and one day's notice' regulation in the Australian Marriage Act can be more flexible at this particular time of the year than was probably intended. 
     Here are some lovely photos that show some of the emotions involved in marrying the one you love - the deeply caring focus of the groom as his bride makes her vows, the sense of fulfillment for the newly married couple that comes with the signing (see above), the relaxed and happy bride chatting with her guests. Plus bride with celebrant, sharing champagne to celebrate a marriage off to such a beautiful start(see below).
     Rebecca and Aaron were married in the Rhododendron Gardens in Commonwealth Park on Sunday of the Canberra Day long weekend last year.
     
And that reminds me!

If you want to get married during the Canberra Day holiday weekend this year, you must lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant by Friday of next week, February 5. (Or February 6 if your wedding is to be on Sunday March 7)
     If you’d like to email me about your wedding plans, please click here.  Or phone me any day between 9am and 9pm. I would be delighted to be your celebrant. I also welcome your questions and comments about this blog. 
     Till next time
     Sincerely 
     Michele



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