Planning An Aussie Wedding From Afar

Are you dreaming of a wedding down-under? Fancy marrying on the beaches of Bondi, or within the lush tropical forests of Queensland? Whatever your vision, you may be wondering ‘What do I need to do to marry in Australia?’

Photo Lee Calleja

WHO CAN MARRY IN AUSTRALIA?

No matter if you’re an Australian citizen living overseas or a non-Aussie, the process is still the same. Anyone can marry on Aussie soil, and many non-Aussies do. The only real restrictions are you:

  • can’t be married to someone else
  • must not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister
  • must be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between 16 and 18 years old
  • understand what marriage means and freely consent to marrying
  • both use specific words during the ceremony
  • must give written notice of their intention to marry to their authorised celebrant, within the required time frame
Photo: Figtree Photography

WHAT’S A CELEBrANT, AND WHAT DO THEY DO?

In Australia, a Celebrant is a suitably qualified and registered person who solemnises marriages under the Marriage Act 1961 and Marriage Regulations 2017.

They conduct the legal elements of your ceremony, and some (like myself) work with you to write and deliver something very unique and specific to your likes and vision for your wedding. Celebrants can be described as a party-starter, a story-teller, a calming influence, and, quite often, by the time you’re married, they can feel like a friend.

Marriage celebrants must also submit all the signed legal marriage paperwork to the registry of births, deaths and marriages in the state or territory in which the marriage took place within fourteen days of the marriage.

Once they have done this, you can then get your Marriage Certificate from that BDM. Your Celebrant can give you advice on this.

YAY! You CAN GET MARRIED IN AUSTRALIA. WHAT NOW?

You’ll need to decide where and when you’d like to marry. There are Celebrants in nearly all cities and some towns in Australia, and many of us travel. Australia is a big country, and it’s not unusual for me to jump in my car on the weekend for a round trip of three or four hours.

If you’re not 100% sure of specific places, you may want to talk to an Australian wedding planner, use Instagram for inspo, or have a chat to me as I can offer suggestions for places which may fit your vision.

You’ll also need to organise your Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM). This needs to be submitted to your Celebrant in Australia at least one month before your ceremony date.

Photo Andrew Jarvine

WHAT’S A NOIM AND WHERE CAN I GET ONE?

To marry in Australia, you need to submit a document called the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with your Celebrant at least one month, but no more than 18 months, before you marry. This document is basically stating that you intend to marry, and once it’s submitted with you Celebrant, they will keep hold of this until after the wedding. They’ll send this, along with the paperwork which will be signed on your wedding day, to the Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State or Territory where you marry.

So, chances are, you will be filling this out before you travel over to Australia for your wedding.

You can find a NOIM and guidance here

WHO CAN WITNESS THE NOIM?

  • If a party signs the Notice outside Australia, it needs to be signed by 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 the Consular Fees Act 1955.

OKAY, I’VE GOT IT SIGNED. WHAT DO I DO WITH THE NOIM?

When I work with a couple from afar, I ask them to scan me a copy of the NOIM once it’s signed by a qualified witness. Then they have the option of either

a) posting the original NOIM to me

b) handing me the original NOIM when they’re in Australia

I will also need to see a form of ID – as you’re travelling, passports are perfect. If you’ve been married before, I will need to see evidence that this marriage is no longer valid. I can advise on this.

Photo Love Lenscapes

EXCELLENT! PAPERWORK IS ALL IN ORDER. ANYTHING ELSE YOU NEED FROM ME?

All Celebrants work differently. When I work with a couple overseas, I usually suggest a Skype so we can discuss what kind of ceremony you’re looking for. This also gives you a chance to see if I’m the right Celebrant for you. Usually I’ll meet via Skype before you do the NOIM, but some couples will already have this prepared. It’s up to you – I’m flexible and can work with you in the way that works best for you.

If you go for my Full Works package, I’ll then work with you to write a ceremony which really resonates and feels right. I’ve worked in the UK as a Celebrant for a number of years, and understand how weddings there can feel when led by a registrar. In Australia we have a lot more flexibility than registrars though we do all the legal side of things like they do.

Australian weddings can feel very different from those in other countries, and a Celebrant like myself or one of my colleagues at the Celebrant Society can talk you through the hundreds of options to get a top notch ceremony for you and your guests.

THIS ALL SOUNDS GOOD. HOW DO I CONTACT YOU TO CHAt FURTHER?

I’d love to talk to you about all of the above, or anything else wedding-y. Please don’t hesitate to contact me on +61 478041227 or at roxy@roxyrocks.com

Ideas to Revolutionise Your Wedding Reading

Ideas to Revolutionise Your Wedding Reading

Wedding readings.  Boy oh boy, readings can be hard work for both the reader and the audience.  I think we’ve all been there.    Friend/Brother/Sister/Auntie/Uncle/etc come up to a reading, and they stumble through the words, making it very uncomfortable for them and everyone else.

So, in the hope of saving both readers and guests from an uncomfortable situation, here are seven ideas which may help you in your search for an appropriate reading.

Get Them To Choose

Ask your readers to choose the reading themselves, and to keep it a surprise from everyone. People really rise to this challenge, and I’ve worked with many readers who have come up with surprising and amazing ideas – poems or extracts which are very unusual and personal.

Say a Song

Choose the words to a favourite or meaningful song. It’s a great moment when people ‘click’ that they recognise the words. It usually takes a few lines, and always evokes a smile.

Don’t Google ‘Readings’

When using the internet to search for readings, rather than typing in ‘wedding readings’ – which will result in an overwhelming abundance of readings type in words which are more specific as to your interest eg: ‘poem dog love’, ‘lyrics love travel’ or ‘funny poem dance couple’.

Love Notes

Share the content of a letter. It could be a love letter between the bride and groom, or the parents/grandparents of one of the party.  I conducted a ceremony where a letter written by the groom to the British Home Office was read by the best man requesting them to process his visa application so he could be with his bride-to-be. I think a little creative licence was used in the re-reading of the letter, but it had many guests in (good) tears.

Be Resourceful

Be resourceful. I conducted a wedding where the couple had come from the same town but had both moved away as adults and met via internet dating.  They had never met when living in the same town but Sarah’s mother, who had passed away some years prior, had taught Jack.  Jack’s reader, Adam, started ‘I know that Sarah’s Mum would have loved Jack.  In fact let’s hear what she has to say about him …’ It transpired that Adam had asked Jack’s parents whether they still had any of his school reports, which they did.  One of the reports had been written by Sarah’s mother, and Adam read out her synopsis of Jack’s behaviour and aptitude in her class.

Kid You Not

If you have children, ask them to collectively deliver a reading. I had a couple marry who between them had seven children aged from 2 to 16 years.  The children wrote their own poem to read, two lines each, with the older children supporting the younger.  As it was held in the family home, even the dog came up on the stage.

Truly Original

If you have chosen creative readers who enjoy writing, you could ask if they would write or say something bespoke for you.  I’ve had readers deliver a poem, a passage, or some wise-words about marriage, written especially for the couple… it’s almost like a gift they can give to you for you to keep thereafter.

Flash Mob Styley 1

If you want to get some other guests involved with the wedding reading, why not do a flash mob style one. The way to do this is to print off the reading you want to do, and hand them out discretely to all the guests when you arrive.

On the paper will be a reading broken down into groups. For example, the lead reader will read the first paragraph. On the second paragraph, everyone who has known the bride or groom all their life will stand up and read this paragraph. On the third paragraph, everyone who has known them for 20+ years will join in. Fourth, everyone who has known them for 10+ years will join in. Fifth, everyone else will join in.

Flash Mob Styley 2

In this version, the reader says the first line of their ‘reading’ which is, in fact, a song. They will then sing the second line. The third line one guest will join in. Fourth line another guest. And so on. I did this with a couple and there were eight singers, with myself included. I sure ain’t no Pavarotti but it truly was delivered with gusto and was a great surprise for the couple who were both musical theater lovers.

You can read about this here.

Sing a Song

If you have friends or family who are musically blessed, you might want to take advantage of their talents. I did a wedding where a friend of the bride and groom performed ‘You’re the One That I Want’ from Grease, slowed down, a cappella, in a room with incredible acoustics.  It was barely recognisable, but so very beautiful and moving.  Not a dry eye in the house…

I got chills

They’re multiplying

And I’m losing control

‘Cause the power you’re supplying

It’s electrifying

Happy planning.

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roxy@roxyrocks.com