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Use of names in wedding ceremonies - and what to sign?

This comes up quite frequently when I meet with couples. There are a lot of things to go through with your celebrant when discussing your wedding plans - legalities, vows, music, inclusions, attendants - all sorts of things.

One thing that I ensure to tell the couple's I meet with very early on, is that your full name must be used once at some part in the ceremony. There are a few people who don't like this, as they don't like the middle name they have been given. Unfortunately, it is a legality under the Marriage Act of 1961. If you do not want to say your own full names, then your celebrant can say it on your behalf. That is completely fine.

In your vows, it is also a legal requirement that your correct christian/first name be used. For example, if your name is Samantha, then you must be called Samantha in the vows - not Sam when stating the minimum legal vows. At any other time, then the name Sam can be used without any problem.

When it comes to signing your marriage certificate and register, it is important that you listen to your celebrant. The celebrant shows you the couple to the marriage, and your two witnesses who are over the age of 18 where to sign - there are 3 documents to sign on the day. All signatures are to be the same as the documentation that you have signed with your celebrant to date, namely the Notice of Intended Marriage and Declaration of No Legal Impediment.

Often following a wedding, one of the couple will change their surname. Should this be the case, you still need to sign in your name to that point in time on the required documentation as instructed by your celebrant.

It may sound like a lot, but everything flows very well on the day with the care and guidance of your marriage celebrant.

If you are in the process of planning your wedding and looking for a celebrant, make sure to get in contact with me. Always happy to give advice, options and of course chat!

Happy planning!

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