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Warning: another long and boring, but important, post ahead!

I’ve previously posted about how to change your name after you get married. This process involves applying for a marriage certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state in which you were married – if I married you, it’s probably Victoria. This process can be complex, so I wrote some instructions for you!

The certificate I give you on the day of your wedding ceremony is a legal document and cannot be replaced, but it usually cannot be used as proof of your marriage for purposes such as changing your name or applying for a visa (it is proof that your marriage was solemnised, but not proof that your marriage was registered).

For many official purposes you will require a marriage certificate issued by Births, Deaths and Marriages. Think of this certificate as being similar to a birth certificate or death certificate; it shows that an event has been registered by the Victorian Government.

There are two processes that need to occur before you will receive your certificate:

  1. Your marriage has to be registered.
  2. You need to apply for your certificate and it needs to be issued. The certificate can only be issued AFTER a marriage has been registered.

Under usual circumstances, you would apply for your marriage certificate at any point after your wedding by visiting https://www.bdm.vic.gov.au/marriages-and-relationships/get-a-marriage-certificate and following the instructions:

  1. Complete and submit the online application form (5 days processing time) OR complete the paper application form (10 days processing time), and pay the certificate and postage fees.
  2. Submit certified copies of your proof of identity documents in person (quickest!) or by mail.
  3. Receive your certificate in the mail.

Please note your certificate will not be issued until the celebrant has submitted your documents and the marriage has been registered. We are required to submit your documents within 14 days of your wedding, but it can still take a further several weeks for BDM to register your marriage. It can then take a further two weeks for a certificate to be issued and sent out. Even if you go into BDM the day after your wedding with your completed application form, you will not be able to collect your certificate until the documents have been received and your marriage has been registered.

We have an online system in Victoria and if I married you, I can look up when your marriage has been registered. I will let you know when this has been completed, and you can wait to submit your application until then – you should receive your certificate two weeks later.

Some celebrants in Victoria (like me) now apply for the marriage certificate on their couple’s behalf, so you don’t need to worry about any of this – ask your celebrant if they do this for you (it might cost you a bit more) or if you need to do it yourself.

Hopefully all that makes sense, but please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!