Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

Marriage forms

CoCA thanks celebrants for the 81 responses below and others sent to us as a part of our industry wide survey.

CoCA presented this submission to the Marriage Law and Celebrant Section on 1st December 2014 as the result of your feedback:  2014 Marriage Forms CoCA Submission


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  • Comment Link Diane Lester Monday, 03 November 2014 10:14

    I am puzzled by the fact that we have new forms originating from Canberra but here in Victoria if we are using the Online portal to also submit Marriage details it is still in the old format. When will the two departments speak to one another??


  • Comment Link Marion Way Monday, 03 November 2014 10:14

    NOIM: Is a shambles. Clarification on wording of children of previous marriage to include children of marrying couple. The current wording is ambigious
    DECLARATION: this is also duplicating work on the new form and did this form really need to be changed and have a name change as well?
    TRANSFERRING OF DATA: why won't the typed data transfer onto the printed documents?


  • Comment Link Cheryl Webber Friday, 31 October 2014 16:58

    1. Not happy about money wasted by not being able to use up current materials. It's not as if they have changed dramatically.
    2. I agree with all comments about the redesign of the NOIM which makes lots of space for ID verification and still expects Parent names, Court details, etc, to fit in a single line.
    3. Seems clear that no-one has tried to complete the NOIM as a type of edit procedure.

  • Comment Link Maisie Austin Tuesday, 21 October 2014 15:48

    I do not like the new forms as I prefer to type information on the forms rather than handprint. It saves time and is much easier to read by all parties, including the Registrar of Births Deaths & Marriages, as not everyone has great handwriting, and is also more professional. A celebrant may also prepare the (previous Form 14) Declaration from the information on the Notice of Intended Marriage form, which is then confirmed and endorsed by the parties.


  • Comment Link Ange T Kenos Saturday, 18 October 2014 20:29

    This is ridiculous - the AG are the ones who manage the Marriage Act NOT BDMs. The latter have NO jurisdiction under law to reject a ceremony performed under Canberra's instructions. I am stunned and amazed that a BDM can intimidate a Celebrant in that manner and I wonder if COCA will raise a formal complaint on behalf of ALL of us.


  • Comment Link Rona Goold Wednesday, 15 October 2014 07:49

    The Act requires only that the celebrant be satisfied as to the identity of the parties to the marriage:
    75 Chaplain to be satisfied of parties’ identity .................................. Page 53
    42 (8) (a) Notice to be given and declaration made ............................... Page 41/42 and have no reason to believe the information given "contains a false statement or an error or is defective"
    42 (8) (b) Notice to be given and declaration made ............................... Page 42
    Therefore the specific question required by law would be:
    Is the celebrant satisfied as to the identity of the parties? Yes /No
    Then a place for noting specific ID is really For Celebrant Use Only". This would encourage best practice of sighting photo ID or if not available several other forms of ID, but does not need to take as much room for specific examples. Rather allow the celebrant to a heading Bride/ Groom ID form (eg Drivers Lc) Number.
    Also agree with last celebrant re: Space for Transfer/ or Shortening of Time. Given the Date the Notice Received is a legal requirement a second Signature Box beside the "Date Received" would be useful for Transfers/ shortening but also be helpful for best practice.
    All forms must be available in editable pdf and word formats, not only to go paperless, but to ensure the registration of marriage has minimal errors - editable and typed documents are essential especially for our BDM scans documents into system.

    Thanks for chance to give feedback. I take my role very seriously and hope the Department can use all our comments for a good outcome for all.


  • Comment Link Lee van Dyken-Schabe Monday, 13 October 2014 08:40

    It would be helpful if there was a designated box/area wherein details of Transfer of the NOIM could be entered. So far, no two celebrants transfer in the same manner.


  • Comment Link Margaret Price Sunday, 12 October 2014 21:47

    In relation to using an Australian Passport to establish marrying couples' date and place of birth, I followed this amendment with a marriage I solemnised 3 weeks ago and got nothing but 'grief' from the Births, Deaths and Marriages dept in Adelaide. On the day before the ceremony, I received an email from my Celebrant Assocation stating that it was not advisable to use a passport as primary document when filling out the NOIM and not to accept a passport or I would run the risk of having my work returned to me and the marriage being invalid. I had contacted the AG dept to clarify this amendment prior to accepting the passport within the required time frame and was told that it would be fine as I was completing the NOIM after 1st July, which I duly accepted. After receiving the email from Cel Assn of SA, I rang Births Deaths and Marriages in Adelaide and was told that I was not allowed to accept a passport under any circumstances as primary documents unless the person was born overseas. When I mentioned that her view was totally different to the understanding I was told from AG's dept, she said she would check with her superior. On returning to my call, I was told that if the passport was my main form of ID, then I would have to refill the form using the birth certificate. I said the reason I used a passport was that the bride had a very nasty break up of her previous relationship and her personal documents were all destroyed, except her passport which I said was fine to use. I was then informed by the officer at BDM that in that case, the marriage would have to be postponed until she could acquire a copy from them. Of course on the wedding eve, that put me into complete panic mode, with so many emotions running through my head, 'what would the bride and groom say if I rang them and said the wedding couldn't happen, not to mention the financial loss they could suffer from cancelled venue, reception and advising the guests, many of which travelled some distance to be at the wedding'. Anyway, I then, in a state of stress and anxiety, rang the AG's dept in Canberra again and related my tale to the officer in that dept and she said that the information given to me from BDM was totally incorrect and that accepting a passport would be fine. I said about how they said that the marriage may be invalid if I continued without a birth certificate and she replied that the wedding would not be invalid, and that if I had any problems, to contact her straight away and she would handle the situation from her office. The wedding went off without another hitch, and the bride and groom were very happy. Monday morning, I forwarded the paperwork to BDM. The following week I received a letter from BDM stating all of the sections of the act, (prior to the amendments) and stating that I had not followed the correct legal procedure and that in future this must be followed etc. so I called the officer who wrote the letter and she said, (quite rudely), 'look! the wedding has been registered, but you haven't followed the legal requirements and if this happens again we will have to take it further'. I seriously couldn't be bothered with arguing with her any more, so I just emailed the AG dept with the scenario and left it in their hands. So, I do hope that no other celebrants have to go through this nightmare before BDM get their understanding to match the AG's dept. I cannot understand how 2 Government Depts can have such totally different understandings of the Amendments to the Marriage Act.


  • Comment Link Cathryn Julius Saturday, 11 October 2014 15:24

    My main concern is with the NOIM. The titles "Bride" and "Bridegroom" on the middle right hand side of page 4 are way above the content they are the titles for. That looks very odd.
    Second concern with the NOIM is the boxes for those who want to hand write information are way too small. I have met many celebrants in my OPD trainer role in 2014 who cannot fit the information in those boxes.
    Also all forms except the Declaration of No Legal Impediment can be downloaded and content can be edited, the Declaration can only be purchased from CanPrint. These means they must all be handwritten. If a mistake is made it must be handwritten again from scratch. Previously we have been able to use templates. This looks more professional, and if a small mistake is made, it can be amended and reprinted. This is a backwards step, and quite archaic. Can these be made available in the same format as the NOIM, as an editable PDF?


  • Comment Link Linda thomas Wednesday, 08 October 2014 10:40

    The new marriage forms need more room for writing the bride and groom names as well as the parents - the boxes are tiny!!
    I'm still very nervous using just an Australian passport for id. I always ask for birth certificates but had a couple recently who had done their homework and would only provide passport.


  • Comment Link Pamela Fynan Tuesday, 07 October 2014 15:15

    Why don't we keep the old forms? they worked didn't they? all they have to do is add a box for Australian Passports. "You don't fix it if it ain't broken" is my view on the subject.


  • Comment Link Gwen Stevenson Tuesday, 07 October 2014 12:33

    Forms - on the NOIM, the box for Place of marriage needs to be a lot bigger. If they make the space for Date notice Received by Celebrant smaller, they will have more room for this. The Rites used space is not big enough either to fit in Civil Rites According to Marriage Act of 1961. Needs more room for writing this properly.
    On the Declaration of no Impediment to Marriage, I feel they should have left it as it was. There is now not nearly enough room to write some addresses neatly and properly - if they are lengthy.


  • Comment Link michelina alexiou Tuesday, 07 October 2014 09:17

    i often have couples with very long names and i have foun that the long names do not fit in the fields on the NOIM.


  • Comment Link Lea Waszkinel Monday, 06 October 2014 17:22

    I am reiterating the importance of providing space on the NOIM to record details of children born to the bride and groom prior to their marriage. Having children before a couple marry is common these days and the new NOIM should reflect this.


  • Comment Link Felicity Jenke Monday, 06 October 2014 16:19

    Fathers name in full box needs to be bigger (9)

    Notice received needs to be a small box
    Place marriage solemnised needs to be a bigger box

    Court location needs to be a bigger box (especially if needing two locations)


  • Comment Link Diane Simmonds Monday, 06 October 2014 14:12

    A great many bridal couples today already have children when they marry. There should be a place on the forms to put the names and birthdates of these children. The present forms allow for the children of former marriages to be recorded, but not 'illigetimate' children, a term I believe should be dispensed with in this day and age. Also, some mothers were unmarried mothers when they came into their present relationship and have children from a former relationship, but not a marriage. The same should go for these children. ALL children should be treated by our government as equal. To ignore 'illegitimate' children is shameful in today's world.


  • Comment Link Amy Armstrong Sunday, 05 October 2014 22:15

    I usually handwrite my NOIMs but for the most recent I filled it in on the computer. I might have missed something, but I could only fill in one line for the Usual Address for the Bride and Groom. This meant that the information was far too wide for the box provided and I couldn't start a new line (as an address should, anyway). When I printed the information was not visible, so I filled in these sections by hand after I had printed.


  • Comment Link Carolyn Vaughan Sunday, 05 October 2014 21:02

    Form is badly published no room for writing
    Feedback was provided previously but the commonwealth did'nt listen


  • Comment Link Velda Hunter Sunday, 05 October 2014 09:40

    Having used the Notice of Intended Marriage several times, and handwriting in full I would appreciate:
    1. Adjustment of all column widths, box sizes and page printing areas as all are too narrow or too small to accommodate long names, addresses, countries of birth etc. There is too much wasted space.
    2. Elimination of the selections for current drivers licence, proof of age care, identification card etc as these are not required to be produced under the Marriage Act, and are superfluous and confusing for marrying couples. As we anticipate changes to legislation to allow an Australian Passport as proof of date and place of birth this can be left.
    3. As few celebrants would have access to A3 printing, all of the marrying couples' details should be printable on two A4 pages (double sided) so that alterations cannot be made once the documents are signed.
    4. The document 'referred to in subsection 42(5A)' needs to be reformatted to more efficiently utilise printing space. It should be confined to two A4 sheets thus enabling double sided printing on one page. It is a nonsense that there are six orphaned lines on a third page. The information is an improvement.


  • Comment Link Jane Silich Sunday, 05 October 2014 01:03

    I know that you need to make more room in the small box you have to write the place of wedding on the notice form on page 2.Also on the form 16 there needs to have Groom and bride stated where they are to sign. Its makes it easy when they are signing.


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