Surprise Weddings

Making your marriage legal, you must give notice of one month

Surprise Weddings

Last night on an episode of the Australian television drama ‘The Time of Our Lives’, a surprise wedding ceremony was the climax of the show and series. I love this programme because all plot lines seem plausible and possible and it was so easy to let the characters enter your hearts.

But last night they created a completely fictional story line which simply can not happen in real life.

The plot line saw Luce organise a surprise wedding for his defacto partner Bernadette. He proposed to her in a loving and tender way asking her to be his wife, then and there. She agreed and a lovely ceremony (with a celebrant) happened immediately after his proposal…….it was gorgeous and of course I cried even knowing that it was a completely impossible scenario for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the Notification of Intention to Marry must be lodged 1 full month prior to the date of the marriage. This document must be supported by either your birth certificate or a passport.

Then as close as possible (but prior) to the marriage each party must complete a declaration which states that each believes the other is free to marry. This declaration is Australia’s version of the statement, seen commonly in films (during a marriage ceremony), ‘Does anyone have any objections or know of any reason why —– should not be married to—?’ (or similar).

Finally, to spring a wedding on another could be seen as coercion and that (in this case) the bride was not free to make a determined decision.

Perhaps, if challenged the series developers and writers may argue that the paperwork had been completed in a previous episode when discussions of marriage had surfaced…maybe this happened and I missed the finer detail.

Despite being inaccurate it was a lovely handmade wedding filled with joy, I just hope that this doesn’t set an expectation that it is ok to arrange a wedding without the full support of both parties.

The only surprise that can happen at a wedding is if the guests where not expecting it!

It is possible under extenuating circumstances to shorten the 1 month waiting period and if you are interested to know what these are please contact me, Mary Ord a Sydney based Marriage Celebrant.