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I love a surprise wedding!!  I am really good at keeping a secret and it can be lots of fun surprising your guests BUT there is one rule, it is actually illegal in Australia to surprise each other with a wedding, you must both agree to it before the day.

Surprise weddings can be fun and I more than happy to help you plan this very special event and to keep it a big secret.  I do suggest a couple of things though:

♥ You need to let two people into the secret, these are your witnesses, it is always good to let them know so they are prepared.

♥ I need to know that it is a surprise and if I am arriving part way through the event, let me know how to get in so as not to ruin the surprise.

We still need to follow all of the regular guidelines:

♥ You need to complete your Notice of Intent to Marry at least a month prior.

♥ You need to complete your Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage before the day.

♥ You need to have paid your full fees to me.

You may be asking "Why can't I surprise my partner with a wedding?"


In Australia, both the bride AND groom must be willing and able to marry. If I become aware that either the bride or the groom are planning to surprise their partner with a wedding ceremony, I would be unable to marry them as it could be considered, under S23B(1)(d)(i) of The Marriage Act, 1961, that the consent of the second party was not real as it may have been obtained under duress. If I'm asked to perform a wedding in such circumstances, I must advise the person enquiring that they will be unable to do so. I must also advise the Attorney-General’s Department of the approach as well as Births Deaths and Marriages in the relevant State or Territory in case marriage documents are subsequently submitted by another celebrant who may not be aware of the full circumstances.

For this reason, most couples provide me with a minimum of one month’s notice by signing, together, a Notice of Intent to Marriage (NOIM). A NOIM may be activated by one party but only if the other party is not able to sign the document at the same time, in which case it must be signed by the second party, in the presence of the celebrant or prescribed authority, before the marriage takes place. This could occur, for instance, if one party is in one State or country while the other is in another State or country and, as such, it is not possible to sign the NOIM together. Being busy with work or family commitments etc. is not a valid reason for both parties not to sign the NOIM together.

You can find more information here (just scroll down to page 103) in the Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961.

Contact me if you have any further questions

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