When it comes to our understanding of love, weddings and marriage, TV and movies have a LOT to answer for. Like, 1) your wedding will not be unexpectedly interrupted by the person who’s actually right for you when the celebrant asks if anyone would like to speak out against said marriage (WHY would anyone ask this question at a wedding?!); 2) you will probably never be part of a last-minute chase scene where your life-long-platonic-best-friend, your formerly-entirely-emotionally-unavailable-ex-partner, or your sperm donor, races to the airport to declare their undying love for you and stop you chasing your life long dream of living in France/taking that awesome promotion in NYC/volunteering with UNHCR in Mali; and 3) your chances of ending up with the escort/prostitute/stripper/porn star you hired to pretend to be your date at a wedding or party are slim. Very slim.
But for this blog, imma focus on just one little tid-bit of marryin’ business that varies wildly between American TV and life here down-under. Today’s lesson: in Australia, you cannot have a quickie wedding. I hate to be a buzz kill, but there’s no way you can run away to a chapel on a whim, no chance of having a big night out with an ex and accidentally gettin’ hitched, no running away under the cover of night to seal the deal before your disapproving parents can find you and put a stop to it…. and it’s all because of a little document called the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM).
The NOIM is the number 1 thing you need to get the legal ball rolling on your marriage. It’s a legal document that you provide to your celebrant as evidence of (you can probably figure this one out) your intention to get married. It sets out lots of identifying information about the ‘parties’ to the marriage (thats you two) and details of the wedding plans as well (time, date and place). And the key part is…you have to get it to your celebrant no sooner than 18 months before your wedding date and NO LATER THAN ONE MONTH BEFORE YOUR WEDDING if you want your marriage to be legal.
So that means…
- you and your partner have to have decided that you wanted to get married more than a month before your wedding date,
- you have to have chosen your celebrant and agreed to their terms of service more than a month before you can get married, and
- you have to have completed, signed (and have witnessed) the NOIM, and have that NOIM in your celebrant’s hot little hands….you guessed it….1 month before your wedding.
This is the ultimate deadline to keep in mind when planning your day because if the NOIM isn’t done on time, you won’t be getting legally married – the same rules apply whether your wedding is the biggest party of your life, or a ‘registry-office’ style elopement. That’s all there is to it really. There are super limited circumstances where you can request a shortening of time, but such situations are rare and shortening requests have to be formally applied for and granted. Unfortunately the old, “I forgot to book a celebrant” excuse; the, “we just really want to get it over with, y’know” approach; the, “I drank toooooooo many bubbles and I wanna get married toniiiiiiiiiiiiight!” romantic-vibe; or the classic, “but what about Ross and Rachel??”, really won’t cut it.
SO, if you’re getting married and want to book a celebrant and make sure you get your NOIM lodged in time, chat about how to complete the NOIM, discuss shortening of times or the other requirements for a legal marriage, or just talk about Friends and trashy rom-coms a little more – then contact me HERE!