PLANNING FOR AND CONDUCTING WEDDINGS
A practical guide for licences ministers prepared by the SQC Ministerial Department.
b. Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Marriage Celebrants (All Ministers and Celebrants are required to be familiar with this Document):
1. PRE-MARRIAGE MENTORING
This should be arranged at 6-12 months prior (some ministers ask for longer) to the wedding to give the chance to meet at least 6 times without time pressure before the wedding day.
It can be a good idea at the first meeting to use this as an opportunity meet the couple, and to outline the requirements and expectations of the preparation for marriage, in case the couple decide that this is not for them. (eg. that we will do some Bible study, sharing together about marriage, open and honest discussion about their relationship, and in the case of believers, that abstinence is part of God’s plan for their marriage preparation).
Some of the first questions to ask of a couple are:
1. Have either of the parties been married before? If yes, what is the status of that previous marriage? (Dissolution/ Divorce must be finalised PRIOR to commencing arrangements for a new marriage.
2. Other keys e.g. Marriageable age/ are the parties related etc are covered in the Notice of Intention to Marry Form – see item 2 below.
At this stage it can be helpful to share with the couple an outline of proposed meetings together to help them successfully plan the lead up to their wedding day.
Make arrangements to continue with Pre-marriage mentoring. Excellent Guidelines are found at https://family.adventist.org/preparing-couples-for-marriage/. This should be a time of discovery and a great opportunity for the couple to form a good strong relationship with the minister.
PREPARE•ENRICH RELATIONSHIP ASSESSMENT TOOL (www.prepare-enrich.com.au)
Prepare Enrich (PE) is a useful tool that may form part of preparing a couple for marriage (as well as being an excellent tool for marriage enrichment). PE Facilitator Training is arranged for the SQC Ministerial from time to time at a reduced rate.
2. NOTICE OF INTENDED MARRIAGE (NOIM) – FORM 13
(Please note that a new NOIM Form 13 has been issued effective 1 July 2014 and must be used from 1 Jan 2015. This can be downloaded below)
Form 13 PDF New Notice of intended marriage [PDF 130KB]
Form 13 DOCX NEW Notice of intended marriage [DOCX 446KB]
The NOIM (Form 13) must be received at least one month before the wedding day. Note: Recent changes effective 01/01/15 allow for Australian passports to be used as evidence of identity and place of birth. Be aware that Australian Passports do not show parentage, so the QLD BDM recommend that you still request to sight a full birth certificate which shows parentage. If either the groom or bride are not able to produce a birth certificate, then you can then accept an Australian Passport if they are born in Australia.
For parties/ couples who cannot produce an Australian passport, a birth certificate must be sighted.
On receipt of the NOIM (Form 13) it is a legal requirement that you present the couple with a copy of the Document outlining the obligations and consequences of marriage and stating the availability of marriage education and counselling (Form 14A – Also known as the Happily Ever After Brochure).
(Please note that a new Form 14A has been issued effective 1 July 2014 and must be used from 1 Jan 2015. This can be downloaded below)
3. MEET WITH THE COUPLE TO PLAN THE WEDDING DAY
(Best if at LEAST one month before the wedding. This is a good time to have the couple complete the Statutory Declaration of ‘No Legal Impediment to Marriage’ – Form 14)
Considerations in Planning for the Wedding Day can be downloaded here. It is often helpful to give the couple a copy of a sample program, and to work through the details with them. A sample program can be found here.
It is also usually helpful to share examples of Traditional, Religious and Personalised Wedding Vows for them to make decisions about their vows.
At this meeting, it is a good time to:
- Have the couple sign the FORM 14 Statutory Declarations.
(Please note that a new Form 14 has been issued effective 1 July 2014 and must be used from 1 Jan 2015. This can be downloaded below)
b. As the Registered Minister/ Celebrant, complete and sign these.
Applying for a Wedding Certificate at the time of Lodgement
Important Lodgement Details
4. THE WEDDING DAY
As the Registered Minister/ Celebrant, you will need to bring with you to the wedding 3 important Documents (apart from your wedding sermon notes!):
A. FORM 15 The decorative “Certificate of Marriage” which is useful for display and some proofs of marriage (some banks and other organisations do not recognise Form 15 and require an Official Certificate from the government – see further down.
Please note that Form 15 cannot be downloaded, as it must be purchased/ obtained from Conference Office in hard copy. It has a registered number in Black ink on the Reverse and each certificate used must also be registered in the document “RECORD USE OF FORM 15 MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES” available for download below:
FORM 15 RECORD PDF RECORD USE OF FORM 15 MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES
The completed Form 15 is to be given to the couple following the Solemnisation of the marriage.
B. FORM 16, also known as the official “Certificate of Marriage”.
A new Form 16 has been issued effective 1 July 2014 and must be used from 1 Jan 2015. Hard copies are supplied by the Ministerial Department at the Conference Office or can be ordered from the relevant Department of BDM in your State. The new form can be downloaded below.
C. MARRIAGE REGISTER – According to the Guidelines (see top of this document) the Marriage Register serves as the “2nd Official Certificate of the Marriage”, also recognised as the Authorised Minister/ Celebrant’s copy of the marriage certificate. The particulars in the marriage register must be exactly the same as the particulars on the official “certificate of marriage – Form 16”. Please note in signing the Marriage Register, you are required to sign with your
“Name”, “Address”, “Minister of Religion” and your “Q Number”
The BDM is able to ask for this copy at any time. Failure to produce it is an offence and fines apply.
Either the Minister has his own, or the church where the wedding will take place has its own, or the Minister’s Church’s Marriage Register. For weddings away from the minister’s home church, the minister may opt to use the local church in the area’s register but clearly this would need to be arranged prior. It is highly recommended that the minister Record which Marriage Register he has used for each wedding.
These are the three documents that the couple signs during the signing. The marriage register is a hard-cover book which is also useful for keeping the other documents (Forms 15 & 16) in during the ceremony to avoid them being blown away in the wind. Marriage Registers can be ordered from the Ministerial Department at the Conference Office or from CanPrint at canprint.org.au or phone 02 6295 4422.
It is also wise to make it a habit of bringing an attractive pen for use during the photos in case the couple have failed to provide their own. This is a common oversight by couples which is easily saved by the Minister being prepared!
5. FOLLOWING THE WEDDING
There are 4 things to follow through on following the wedding:
A. Ensure that you have given the couple their FORM 15 – Decorative Certificate of Marriage.
B. Send the Relevant Documents to BDM in the SAME STATE as the marriage was solemnised (you have one month to do this):
- NOTICE OF INTENDED MARRIAGE – FORM 13/ (NOIM)
- CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE (FORM 16)
- STATUTORY DECLARATION of No Legal Impediment to Marriage (FORM 14)
The address for the BDM in Queensland is
The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
PO Box 15188
CITY EAST QLD 4002
Other offices can be found here
C. If you did not apply for their certificate at the time of lodging the official documents, remind the couple that they can apply to the government for an official extract of their marriage certificate. Certificates take 10 business days – or 2 business days for urgent applications – and cost around $37 for certified copy or extract, around $50 for Commemorative Certificate). Share the following link with the couple – Online application for Wedding Certificate
D. If the couple have requested an announcement in the RECORD (SDA Church magazine in Australia), ensure you send this notification as soon as you can as it can take a couple of months for the announcement to appear in print. It is advisable to send the announcement or register it online in at or before the time of the wedding to speed things up (you may need to ask the couple for a photo to send with the RECORD announcement).
Check in with the couple to say hi after the honeymoon is over! Maintain contact with them as appropriate.