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Marriage Certificates

September 19, 2018

 

On your wedding day, there are multiple marriage certificates involved and it can be very confusing to know what’s what! Let’s start by saying your marriage is legal and binding at the end of the ceremony, so no worries there.

 

Secondly, let’s look at the different certificates involved in marriage and break down what they are, when they’re used and what they’re for.

 

On the day of your ceremony, there’ll be three certificates that you sign:

  • Official Certificate of Marriage (on the back of your declaration of no legal impediment)

  • Official Certificate of Marriage

  • Presentation Marriage Certificate

 

Separately, available from the Department of Births Deaths and Marriages in the state you were married in are also:

  • Commemorative Marriage Certificate

  • Standard Marriage Certificate

 

Yikes! That’s a lot of marriage certificates! So let’s figure out what they’re all for.

 

Official Certificate of Marriage (on the back of your declaration of no legal impediment)

This is the certificate (it looks like a form) that is sent off by your celebrant to the Department of Births Deaths and Marriages to register your marriage with the government. Your celebrant will prepare this and bring it on your wedding day.

 

Official Certificate of Marriage (the other one you sign that looks the same as the one above)

This is the certificate that is kept by your celebrant in their marriage register to document the marriages that they’ve performed. Your celebrant will also prepare this and bring it on your wedding day.

 

Presentation Marriage Certificate

This is the certificate with the Australian logo at the top (an in my opinion, actually looks like a certificate!) and the one that you get to keep. This document is conclusive evidence of marriage that was solemnised on your wedding day, however it is not conclusive evidence of the identity of either of the parties to the marriage. Your celebrant will prepare this and bring it on your wedding day as well.

 

Commemorative Marriage Certificate

These are the certificates with all sorts of different designs (potentially with the state logo on it) available for purchase from the Department of Births Deaths and Marriages in the state you were married. These are not official documents and cannot be used to prove your identity, and you don’t need one unless you want one.

 

Standard Marriage Certificate

This is the certificate that can be used for official purposes such as proof of change of name, applying to government agencies or banks etc. It looks more like a form than a certificate (I liken it to the way your birth certificate looks), and it is available to purchase from the Department of Births Deaths and Marriages in the state you were married. Because the Presentation Marriage Certificate (provided to you on your wedding day) does not provide conclusive evidence of your identity, this is the certificate you need to change your name, if you are looking to do that.

 

The last two certificates need to be applied for and purchased from the Department of Births Deaths and Marriages in the state you were married. For Queensland marriages, use this address otherwise a quick Google should get you there: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/births-deaths-marriages-and-divorces/birth-death-and-marriage-certificates/marriage-certificates/fill-in-a-marriage-certificate-application-form/

 

Note that the marriage will be registered whether you choose to get either of these last two certificates or not.

 

If you do have any questions about the legalities or certificates used on your wedding day, please get in touch with me or the Department of Births Deaths and Marriages in your state.

 

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