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 LEAST 6 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 something of a checklist to help them successfully plan the lead up to their wedding day. A sample checklist is found here.
If the couple decide/ is able to proceed, make arrangements to continue with Pre-marriage mentoring. This should be a time of discovery and a great opportunity for the couple to form a good strong relationship with the minister.
2. PREPARING COUPLES FOR MARRIAGE
Excellent Guidelines are found at
2a. 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.
3. 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 Notice of intended marriage [PDF 124KB]
Form 13 DOC Notice of intended marriage [DOC 121KB]
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)
4. MEET WITH THE COUPLE TO DISCUSS THE WEDDING DAY
(Best if at least one month before the wedding)
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.
5. APPLYING FOR A WEDDING CERTIFICATE at the time of Lodgement (NEW INFORMATION AS AT DEC 2016)
Important Lodgement Details
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 is the only Form which has not been changed in the recent changes. It cannot be downloaded, as it must be obtained in hard copy from the Conference Office. 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.
Form 16 PDF Official certificate of marriage [PDF 96KB]
Form 16 DOC Official certificate of marriage [DOC 55KB]
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 are 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!
7. 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 DECLARATIONS (FORM 14)
It is also advised as an extra safeguard that you first take a colour photocopy or a high-resolution photo of them both (all pages/ sides) before doing so. This records the red registration number on the bottom left corner of Form 16. These copies will serve as an additional copy should the originals be lost in the mail.
The Envelope: Please note you may need an extra wide document envelope as the Government-Issued FORM 16 is usually wider a standard envelope width. These are available from the Conference Office or can be purchased at your local Newsagent or Post Office.
The address for the BDM in Queensland is
The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
PO Box 15188
CITY EAST QLD 4002
C. The couple can themselves 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). Feel free to share this application form web page with the couple.
D. If the couple have requested an announcement in the RECORD (SDA Church magazine in Australia), notify them 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.
Check in with the couple to say hi after the honeymoon is over! Maintain contact with them as appropriate.