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Just a simple signing ceremony

By Published On: July 1, 2020Categories: All About Weddings

I hear it all the time:

  • “We just want a simple signing ceremony.”
  • “We want a paperwork-only ceremony.”
  • “We just want to sign the documents.”
  • “We just want to do the paperwork.”
  • “We only want the marriage registration.”

Legals Only ceremonies are my specialty, but there’s a bit more to them than simply signing the documents or registering the marriage.

Before the ceremony

Meeting to complete the Notice of Intended Marriage

There are plenty of people who don’t know you have to give one month’s notice to get married in Australia. That’s to be expected if you’ve never been married before. I certainly didn’t know before I became a celebrant. So first of all, before the simple signing ceremony, you’ll need to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with your chosen authorised celebrant.

What you’ll need to bring to the meeting

Because I’m a control freak, my preference is to fill out the NOIM for the couples I work with. So I’ll ask you both to come and meet with me. You’ll need to bring:

  • evidence of your date and place of birth (either a passport or a birth certificate)
  • evidence of your identity (any kind of government-issued photo ID – passports are fine)
  • evidence of the termination of any previous marriages if relevant (divorce or death certificates).

Plus I’ll also ask you to bring the booking fee of 50% of the ceremony fee (cash or credit card) to secure the booking.

What we discuss at the meeting

Once we’re all together I’ll talk you through the legalities of getting married, show you the (brief) ceremony script, and make sure it’s enough for you. I’ll also show you the contents of the Ceremony Information Booklet I’ll email you after our meeting. It contains important information, most of which I’m legally required to give you, such as:

Deciding on a date and venue for the marriage

Next we’ll decide together (if you haven’t already) when and where the (brief) marriage ceremony will take place in at least one month. I usually perform this marriages at Malvern Public Gardens in Malvern, or if it’s raining, at Sugo Italian Restaurant in Malvern. I can come to other venues for a small travel fee.

Completing the booking and the NOIM

Finally I’ll ask you for the documents I’ve asked you to bring along.

Once we have those details I’ll take you through my online booking system, asking you to complete your contact information, sign my celebrancy service agreement, and pay your booking fee (the final amount will be due two weeks before the ceremony).

While you’re working through that, I’ll be working on your NOIM based on the information in the documents you’ve given me. I’ll also need to ask you some questions to complete items that aren’t contained in your identity documents.

After the NOIM is filled in I’ll ask you to read it carefully and let me know if there are any errors. Finally, you’ll need to sign the NOIM – I’ll point where. Then I witness your signatures, fill in the date, and you’re good to go. You can get married!

Checking the paperwork

A week before the wedding I’ll send you electronic copies of the documents we’re going to sign on the day:

  • the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage (DONLIM)
  • the Official Certificate of Marriage
  • the Form 15 Certificate of Marriage.

This is so you can make sure I haven’t made any mistakes typing them up from my handwritten NOIM. I’ll also ask you to provide me with the full legal names of your two official witnesses. This is so I can print them on the marriage certificates – I don’t like other people’s handwriting 🙂

On the wedding day

On the day of the wedding I’ll meet you and your two witnesses at the venue we’ve agreed on.

Signing the Declaration

I’ll ask you to sign the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage. Basically I’ll ask you to confirm you’re not married to someone else, you’re not siblings, and you’re over 18, then I’ll point where to sign.

The ceremony

Then the brief ceremony:

  • I’ll introduce myself as the authorised celebrant
  • I’ll recite the Monitum, that gives my authority to marry you and the definition of marriage in Australia
  • You’ll both repeat after me to say your legal vows
  • And that’s it, you’re married! You can kiss if you want, but it’s not required.

Signing the marriage certificates

We’ll sign three marriage certificates:

  • the Official Certificate of Marriage – one for me to send to Births, Deaths and Marriages to register your marriage
  • the Official Certificate of Marriage – one for me to keep
  • the Form 15 Certificate of Marriage – this is the one you get to take home with you.

The end!

I’ll give you the one you get to keep and take the other two with me. We’ll take a celebrant selfie for my socials, and then I’ll say goodbye!

The whole thing usually takes 10-15 minutes; my record is six minutes 🙂

So as you can see, there’s a little more to the process than just signing the documents. You can call it a simple signing ceremony if you want, as long as you’re aware there’s a few words to say.

If you want to get married in a Legals Only ceremony, contact me today!

My other ceremonies

In case you’re interested in the difference between a Legals Only Ceremony and my other ceremony options, it’s all set out below:

marriage ceremony comparison

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