Sometimes couples are confused about the legalities surrounding the certification of marriage. First of all, you don’t have to get a Marriage License in Australia – in its place, we have the Notice of Intended Marriage which is filled in ( “lodged” ), witnessed and held by the celebrant until after the marriage. This is the first thing you have to do in the legal process of getting married. It must be done at least a month before your wedding and not more than 18 months before.
On the Notice the celebrant has to note down the number of your passport or birth certificate and the numbers of final divorce documents. All these must be originals, not even certified copies. After the wedding the Notice of Intended Marriage is sent off to Births, Deaths and Marriages with your official certificate of marriage. This is the certificate that counts when a bride wants to change her name, or use her married name – this is proof of ID. You don’t have to apply to change your name after marriage. You can commence to use a different surname straightaway but to prove your ID ( that you are the same person using more than one name) you will need to apply to get a copy of this Certificate of Marriage sent to BDM for registration.
On the wedding day then you sign 3 legal documents: an elegant, commemorative certificate which you keep ( proof and souvenir of your marriage), the register ( the celebrant’s copy) and an ordinary-looking form, which is your Certificate of Marriage that goes to BDM. BDM processes this and when you apply for it they send you back an official copy – proof of your marital names and ID which you can then present when changing the name on documents at the bank, RTA, passport office etc. To apply for this certificate you can download a form from the BDM website or I have one for you.