Graham Lambert
(Authorised Marriage Celebrant)
Economical Professional Ceremonies

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To get married in Australia, a couple have to
1. lodge a notice of intended marriage (in time - generally with one month before the wedding)
2. provide evidence of self, and marital status
3. provide evidence of age, or approval to get get married if under 18years.
4. declare there is no legal impediment to getting married
5. provide evidence of formal change of name if this has been done through a deed poll or official name change through the BDM.


As from 09 December 2017 any couple may get married according to law in Australia. Both parties must provide evidence that they are who they say they are (ID) and that they are free to marry (no legal impediment to get married). That is they must be of marriageable age, and not be married on the date they get married. These regulations have been around for ever and you will find more details on this page above.

The information that the Attorney Generalís Department that regulates marriages and marriage celebrants has issued a bulletin. This is a fact sheet for Marriage Celebrants ( and some will want to not conduct same sex marriages and this explains how they have to register to be able to act according to their religious beliefs).

Several of the forms have to change slightly to accommodate the new arrangements but these have already been developed. The main one is the Notice of Intended Marriage form and this has been updated on my website as of 09/12/2017 for you to complete the new Notice of Intended marriage form and lodge it with me.

The Certificate of Marriage forms have changed as well but this is a mere formality as it is I the celebrant that has to be concerned with this. The proformas have already been given to us to use with all weddings from now on.

So contact me now to get to have an obligation free meeting to discuss your wedding arrangements.

Need a Birth, Death or Marriage certificate from Western Australia Births Deaths and Marriages section? This can be used to request a marriage certificate after you are married in Western Australia. If you like, you can give the completed form to me (your celebrant) before the wedding - I will submit it with the other documents and this will possibly help speed up delivery of the certificate.

Notice of Intended Marriage (the NIM)
You need to complete a 'Notice of Intended Marriage' form (supplied by me) at least one month and one day and not more than eighteen months prior to your wedding. Download the "
Notice of Intention To Marry " here. This normally occurs at the first meeting, but it may be scanned and emailed to me after you have completed it correctly (that is had it all witnessed by people authorised to do witness these signatures). The NIM is valid only from when I receive it (that is the date I get it or have received it as a document by email).

If Graham can't witness your signature/s? If you are unable to have me witness your signatures , there is a list of people on page 4 who are authorised to do this, so you can get a person with that title to witness your signatures. Then scan and email it off to me. Then post it to me by registered mail please. Remember to keep a copy of pages 3 and 4.

Note: Commissioners of Declaration are no longer recognised or registered in Western Australia.

Note: it may not be possible for both the bride and groom to sign the NIM together before it is lodged. So if you are running out of time, one party may complete the NIM as much as possible, get it properly witnessed then to Graham as soon as possible. The other party can then sign when we meet up later. This may apply if one or both parties are apart from each other such as - armed forces personnel, fly in / fly out workers, spouse / fiancťe visa applicants, and so on.

Note also - there is no such thing as marriage licence in Australia. You simply need to lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage form with me at least one month and one day before you get married.

Evidence about Self and Marital Status - The original (not photocopy) documents I need to sight prior to the marriage must be

Marital Situation Born In Australia
Never Validly Married Original Birth Certificate or valid Passport, Change of Name Certificate (if appropriate)
Divorced Original Birth certificate and Photo ID or valid Passport AND
Certificate of Divorce / Decree Absolute, Change of Name Certificate (if appropriate)
Widow / Widower/Partner passed away Original Birth certificate or valid Passport AND
Death Certificate (of previous spouse) , Change of Name Certificate (if appropriate)

I need to sight these documents prior to the wedding. IT IS PREFERABLE if you can have them at the first meeting that we have so it is all taken care of, but if you can't I can see them anytime between when the NIM is lodged and the wedding. I also ask couples if they could give me a photocopy as well that I keep until after the wedding is registered.

Trouble Providing Official Documents: If you cannot provide (and believe you cannot obtain) the documents listed above talk to Graham about the possibility of a Statutory Declaration to declare that you can't get the birth certificate and this may suffice eg if you had to flee you birth country, records have been destroyed, you are in protection, etc.

Divorce Certificates: Caution. If you are waiting for a decree absolute (divorce) from the Family Court in your state, do not rely upon it to be posted to you by set dates. The Certificate of Divorce must be used at least the day after it was issued. It cannot be used on the day it was issued, for the wedding ceremony. It must be at least one day old. Note, I believe that these Divorce Certificates are issued at no charge by the Family Court in Western Australia. The very friendly staff at the WA Family Court are very helpful and can provide these with reasonably short notice if you need the certificate.

If you have been married more than once previously, I only need to sight evidence of how the last marriage ended.

Interpreters: Interpreters are required at weddings where one or more Bride/Groom does not speak or understand the English language well at all. The aim of the ceremony is for the Bride and Groom to understand all the words included, in context. An interpreter is person can be a friend or family member, does not have to be an official interpreter. The interpreter must speak English and the other language spoken in the ceremony very well. The interpreter is to interpret from English into the other language, and from the other language into English. The interpreter will be asked to sign a statutory declaration to say that he/she faithfully translated the ceremony.

Changed Your Name? If you have changed your name by deed poll or officially through the Department of Births Deaths and Marriages, but not just through a (previous marriage), then I need to sight this official document as well.

If any of the documents are in a foreign language
- official translations into English may be required. Currently in Australia the only persons who can do this are those registered with the National Accreditation Authority for Translators. Tel: 1300 557 470, email them at   or check out their website at .

Statutory Declaration: You need to complete a Declaration, which I will have typed out, in my presence prior to your wedding, declaring there is no legal impediment to your marriage with your partner / fiancee. I organise this for you, so don't worry about this - it is part of the legal bits that I do. (This is generally signed at the rehearsal)

Witnesses: At your ceremony, there must be two official witnesses who have attained the age of eighteen years and can understand the ceremony wording. The full names of your witnesses need to be furnished to me prior to your ceremony for inclusion on the official Certificate of Marriage which is forwarded by me to the Register-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages to register your marriage. Witnesses may be family members or friends. Interpreters may be witnesses also.

Short Sweet Wedding

If you are considering having a wedding at the Marriage Registry - the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Perth, and generally at a courthouse in the country - RECONSIDER.  Have a look at this proposal. I provide a professional celebrant service but at a time and location of your choosing. To see some free venues in nice places in Perth Metro area see Venues

Age Requirements

In Australia a person who is over 16 years may marry another person over 18 years, but the person under 18 years must
1. get parental permission, AND
2. get permission from a court
before the marriage may be approved and go ahead. Only one of the couple may be under 18 years of age - absolutely!

Changing Your Name

Some women (mostly) who marry choose to change their surname to their husband's surname. This is done as a matter of custom and not of law.

A formal Change of Name conducted at the Registry is not required if you wish to take your husband's name. A standard Marriage Certificate  that Graham gives to you on the day is usually not sufficient evidence to have personal documentation, such as your driver's licence and passport changed to your married surname.

All presentation marriage certificates (the one presented to you on the day) issued since September 1, 2005 are issued by the Attorney General's Department (via the person authorised to marry people) and it has a registration number on it. This registration number can be tracked back to the person who issued the Certificate through the Attorney General's Department. These 'new' certificates are LEGAL documents and are increasingly used to prove that a marriage took place on the day and place on the certificate. However this certificate DOES NOT HAVE the registration number of the marriage on it. So you will probably need to apply for a Registered copy of the Marriage certificate from the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages after the wedding.

Some women however do wish to formally change their name. It's simply a matter of choice. If you decide to change your surname to your husband's name the Government Departments and the Passport Office need to view your official registered copy of the  Marriage Certificate issued by the Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages. Generally the Certificate of Marriage that Celebrants issued (before September 1, 2005) is not adequate (as it has no registration Number on it).

There is no legal requirement for you to change your surname officially if you wish to:
assume your partnerís surname following marriage
combine your surnames with your partner (with or without a hyphen)
return to your maiden name
resume a former married surname
return to a previous legal name which has been formally registered

You do not need to register a formal change of name if the change falls within one of the above categories. Your marriage certificate is sufficient proof of your change of name and there may be occasions in which you will also need to produce your birth certificate and documents showing your (previous) formal change of name as verification. (2006)

A Booking Fee must be paid to book me as a celebrant, and that confirms the date and time of the  Civil Marriage and the completion (if possible) of the Notice of Intended Marriage, with the balance to be paid no later than two weeks prior to the wedding ceremony. The fee is non refundable if the marriage does not take place.

For scale of fee guidelines see The Civil Ceremony which has these outlined.

Can't wait one month and one day to get married?

Shortening of notice time (info from the Attorney General's office).

Section 42 of the Act provides that, prior to a marriage taking place a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) must be given by the couple and received by the authorised celebrant solemnizing the marriage.  That notice must be given not earlier than 18 months before the date of the marriage and not later than one month before the date of the marriage.  In other words, the authorised celebrant must receive the NOIM at least one month, and no more than 18 months, before the wedding date.

Situations arise from time to time when a couple will approach a celebrant seeking to be married with less than a month available to give the required notice.  In many cases there will be a legitimate reason for this and so it is provided for in the Marriage Act 1961 and the Marriage Regulations 1963.

Prescribed authorities (usually staff of the Local Courts or Registry officials) can shorten the required period of notice if they are satisfied that circumstances prescribed in the regulations are met.

There are the five categories of circumstances set out in the regulations.  These are:

  • Employment related or other travel commitments,
  • Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations,
  • Medical reasons,
  • Legal proceedings,
  • Error in giving notice.

The reason for seeking a shortening of time for notice must fall within one of the categories before an application can be considered.  There is no capacity to grant shortening of time outside these circumstances.  Shortening of time is not automatic.  When making a decision the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) or prescribed authority will weigh up the information provided in support of the application and may seek additional information as outlined in the regulations.

If in doubt, ring Births Deaths and Marriages today (right now) on 9264 1555, and discuss it with them today. Poste Haste!!

Only a prescribed authority has the power to shorten this time and he or she must be satisfied that the particular circumstances justify doing so. Generally this is the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.  I, as an Authorised Marriage Celebrant, can assist you in applying to have a shortening of time for the Notice of Intended Marriage. Shortening of time is not commonly or lightly granted, and must be supported by appropriate evidence or reasons. For example, if one party to the marriage has a member of the family become seriously or terminally ill a doctor's note may be sufficient to request this reduction in wait time.

If you have simply forgotten or were unaware of the need for the Notice of Intended Marriage this is not generally a good enough reason to be able to apply for reduction in time to marry.



If you get married here in Perth and need an Apostille for when you return home outside of Australia, you may need an Apostille (or some other form of authentification eg for China, Vietnam or many Middle East countries) that you were married here in Australia. You will then need to obtain an official certificate from the Births Deaths and Marriages (I can assist with this for you when I marry you and send the forms in for registration of the marriage). Once you have this then you can get your apostille from


Other Arrangements - words of advice

1. Start time for the ceremony - This is agreed to at the first meeting or the first confirmation of services.

There is a common call that I hear at weddings that it is traditional for brides to be late. I ask that the bride and groom arrange for their guests to be at the ceremony location about 30 minutes before the agreed start time. This has a many benefits - the guests are there when the ceremony starts (few latecomers who get lost or have trouble parking can be there for the start) AND the Bride can be there at the wedding ceremony at our agreed start time, but be fashionably late for all the guests. So I ask all my couples to put on their invites something like "Please be at the ceremony location by" on the date of the wedding. This does not say the start time may be 30 minutes later. In this manner the start time everyone is happy.

The reason for this is that I may have another wedding after yours (and I allow plenty of time between these). I discuss this with you on the first meeting as well.

2. Photographers - I conduct many weddings where people choose well meaning family or friends. If they are to take photo's at your wedding they need to realise that these are the only shots you can get, and they need to last a lifetime. Many a time I have been requested by the Bride and Groom after the wedding to have my photo/s that I take at the end as theirs turned out with shadows , too dark, not formal enough. Many photographers are available for short periods of time and you can negotiate the service. Remember PHOTO's LAST A LIFETIME.

My suggestion - use a professional photographer - at least for the ceremony and immediately (may be one or two hours) after for family and Group photo's. At least this way you will be assured of good quality photos even if the others are not so crash hot.

Obtaining Birth, Death or marriage Certificates from some countries other than Australia

New Zealand England and Wales Canada Birth Death and Marriage certificates  Birth Certificates


If you wish to email me with an enquiry please do so. I will get back to you as soon as I can.

This the Farmer who wanted a Wife. Signing is his wife! 2011. Married by Graham.

If you find any errors in the website please let me know as well.
Graham Lambert, Authorised Marriage Celebrant