Civil Celebrant

Wedding Celebrations

"Warm, good-natured disposition"

John Whitford is a Commonwealth accredited marriage celebrant.
The exchange of wedding vows is an integral part of a wedding ceremony. It is a very romantic moment and often the perfect place to express your feelings towards your affianced.

John Whitford, whose warm, good-natured disposition is invaluable for stress-free nuptials, creates a ceremony honouring your unique story, personalities, and values.

He incorporates religious and/or spiritual beliefs, if requested, and blends elements from the couple's respective cultures, to ensure a meaningful, memorable event.

Legal requirements

There are certain requirements to a marriage ceremony.

The Attorney General’s Department is responsible for all the regulations that determine the appointment of celebrants, the documentation necessary for a ceremony, the format of a ceremony and the legal requirements of the couple.

See the link for detailed information (

A summary of the legal requirements

Notice of Intended Marriage - NOIM (Download Here)

You will need to make your intent to be married known.

This is called a Notice of Intended Marriage Form (NOIM) and must be completed at least one month before your wedding. It can be completed up to 18 months in advance of the wedding. I would suggest the earlier this can be done the better so as to book a celebrant. Usually a booking fee is required when this is lodged with the celebrant to secure the booking.

The documents you require are: (You have to prove your identity to the celebrant)

  • Photo ID eg: licence or Passport.
  • If born in Australia, you will need your Original Birth Certificate or authorized Extract of Birth from Births, Deaths and Marriages office in your State of Birth.
  • If born overseas, you will need your Birth Certificate or an Overseas Passport or possibly a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration if there are exceptional circumstances why you cannot supply your birth Certificate.
  • If either of you have been previously married a copy of the Decree Absolute or Death Certificate of a previous spouse, whichever is applicable, must be produced. (Contact Family Law Court in your State for copy of Divorce Papers.)

    The declaration (Form 14)

    Prior to your wedding both partners will be required to sign a declaration, under the Marriage Act 1961, stating that you believe there is no legal impediment to the marriage between yourself and your partner. This is a legal document and under Section 11 of the Statutory Declaration Act 1959 it is an offence to make false statements and is punishable by imprisonment for a term of four years.

    Under the Marriage Act 1961 two persons under the age of the eighteen cannot marry. A person of age sixteen or seventeen can marry a person eighteen or over but they must obtain parental consent and approval of a court of law. Persons of sixteen and under cannot marry under any circumstances.


    You are required to have two witnesses who are both over the age of 18 to sign the Marriage Register and the Marriage Certificates.

Change of name after marriage

Many women choose to take their husband's surname after marriage though this is not compulsory.

It is important to realise that the certificate given to you on your wedding day, although it is legal evidence of your marriage is not an identity document and many institutions will not recognise it when you want to change your name.

You will need to apply for a registry-issued marriage certificate available from Births Deaths and Marriages.
It is now possible for the celebrant to apply on your behalf when completing all your document requirements. The cost of the certificate is usually incorporated into the celebrant's fee.

My Role in Your Day

Wishing to be married in this beautiful country?

A Civil Marriage Celebrant is appointed by the Australian Government's Attorney General's Department and is authorised to solemnise marriages anywhere in Australia in accordance with the Marriage Act, 1961.

Responsibilities of the celebrant include:

  • Accept the Notice of Intended Marriage and check for accuracy.
  • Prepare the Certificate of Marriage and Marriage Register.
  • Advise and assist you with the ceremony
  • Conduct the ceremony according to the Marriage Act 1961
  • Completing all the paper work
  • Submitting necessary documents to the Births, Deaths, and Marriages registry
  • Provide Government Relationship Services Information


My fees

Wishing to be married in this beautiful country?

All couples have different requests for their wedding and hence expectations of their celebrant. The celebrant is central to the success of the wedding day.

Most celebrants will have a complimentary first meeting to determine if the relationship is harmonious before signing an agreement to confirm the arrangement between both parties.

At this stage a booking fee (deposit) is necessary to secure the booking times and services of the celebrant. This agreement can include who will bring the table and chairs for the signing and/or the PA system. The balance is usually paid 2 weeks prior to wedding day or at the rehearsal.


Ceremony Structure.

Most ceremonies follow the same basic outline. Essential components are: the legal wording, vows, declaration, signing and witnessing - the other components are optional.

  • PROCESSION (entrance usually to music)
    Parties to the marriage enter.
    The celebrant welcomes family and friends and introduces him/herself.
    Originally the Bride to the Groom by whoever. Often not needed in modern ceremonies.
    The celebrant speaks about the couple’s commitment to each other and what marriage means to the couple.
    Verses or poetry can be used. Rituals can be other elements in the ceremony such as candle lighting/unity candle, sharing the wine, hand-binding, sand ceremony.
    From the Marriage Act and said appropriately by the Celebrant.
    This is a public declaration to everyone that you have come willingly to be married to each other and to which the typical response is "I do" or "I will".
    The legal vows plus any custom written or taken from a number of sources.
    Most couples give rings to each other.
    A short conclusion and acknowledgement of other parties.
    The Celebrant announces the couple as ‘Husband and Wife’ or 'Spouse and Spouse' or  whatever is appropriate.
    The couple and two witnesses (who must be 18 years or older) sign the Marriage Register, Certificate of Marriage and the Marriage Certificate.
    The Celebrant congratulates the couple, presents them with their Marriage Certificate and introduces them in an agreed way.
    The couple and the bridal party leave the ceremony area.

Shortening of time

If the Notice of Intended Marriage time requirement needs to be changed, it is possible under exceptional circumstances. Application must be made to a Court or Registry Official as a prescribed authority.

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