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  • Writer's picturejulie


Surprise Weddings-

A lot of bridal couples don't like the attention that a wedding can bring…they would prefer the spotlight was on someone else. 

But, at the same time, they want their nearest & dearest present.

Bridal couples also find family pressure & expectations play a large role and the ones that are getting married are trying to please everyone BUT themselves.

So what can you do?

You may decide to have an Engagement Party, you both get dressed up and look great in your new outfits and everyone is excited to attend the party and hear about your wedding plans.

The celebrant may be present as a guest or turns up at a designated mutual time.

The bridal couple have the microphone as if they are going to give a speech…BUT, then they announce to all those present, that they have a surprise for their family & friends…'We are getting Married tonight/today’!

The atmosphere then  steps into wedding mode…you might even change into wedding outfits!

You then follow the wedding of your dreams...done your way and no expectations!

One lovely bride emailed me a month ago, before COVID Virus existed, "If I was in a posh restaurant, sitting at a table with my nearest & dearest and a Marriage Celebrant, just coincidentally is sitting on the table beside our table, could we get married there & then?”

Yes, you could!…You would have discussed it prior with venue manager, there maybe a lovely courtyard you could move to; private dining room or if only a very small group ie 6-8 people you could do it at the dining table…imagine the surprise on surrounding close tables.

What if 1 member of the bridal party wanted to surprise the love of their life at a surprise wedding?

This is not considered appropriate as the surprised party member cannot  be assumed to give consent.

The surprised person could be assumed to be put under pressure and as such, that person has not given real consent, as it could be considered given under duress or fraud.

The wedding then can be deemed invalid.

BUT, there are legal formalities you must have organised prior.

You must sign a NOIM - a Notice of Intention to marry 1 month PRIOR to wedding date.

What is a NOIM?

A NOIM is a legal document, which is a Notice of Intention to marry.

This legal document needs to be signed with a authorised marriage celebrant.

You will need to bring the following documents, to show your identity to the celebrant-

  • Drivers license

  • Passports

  • Birth certificates.

The celebrant also needs the following information - most of which is in the above 3 documents.

  • Full names — including change of names if applicable.

  • Address

  • Occupations

  • Parents  full names, including your mothers maiden name.

  • Parents country of birth

  • Divorce or death certificates if relevant.

  • The couple intending to marry must be over 18 years of age.

  • If not a Australian resident, length of time in years & months since they arrived in Australia.

What if I want to marry in less than 30 days?

Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, ie a family member terminal, leaving to go overseas, deployment etc.

In these circumstances you can apply to The West Australian Marriage Registry for a Shortening of Time approval.

The celebrant can provide a letter to accompany your NOIM.

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