How soon after my Wedding Ceremony, will it be registered and how soon after can I get my Certificate of Registration?

I will mention the legal requirements later in the answer, but will firstly say that as I submit registrations online, the registration of marriage at the NSW BDM, usually takes place on the next business day. If the wedding takes place in the morning on a business day, there is the slim possibility of same day registration.

The Certificate of Registration, or Standard Marriage Certificate’ is available immediately following that registration.

There are currently only two exception:

  1. ‘same sex marriages (SSM)’, as these marriages are presently registered via paper submission only, so it can take a little longer. NSW BDM is working on the I.T. issue and will hopefully have it resolved soon sometime soon. If the certificate is urgent, let me know as I may be able to hand deliver to the NSW BDM head office at Chippendale, to expedite.
  2. Interstate marriages. The marriage must be registered in the state in which the ceremony occurs, and manual paper registration may be required.

If I, as your Celebrant, order the NSW Certificate for you, I find that it usually gets delivered to me within 2-5 working days by Registered Post but that is of course subject to NSW BDM processing time and Australia Post, delivery periods (had one take about 7 days).

You can of course apply for the certificate yourself, directly to the NSW-BDM and you will note that NSW BDM does apply a fee to issue the certificate so if you want me to get it for you, that same fee will apply, as well as of course a small handling fee of $19 but I will then, usually, hand deliver it to you.

If it is urgently required, I can arrange to pick it up from Parramatta but an additional handling fee may apply – just ask me.

Now, back to the first part of the question about how soon will the marriage be registered?

The Marriage Act, and its Guidelines for Celebrants are quite clear that the documents arising from the Wedding Ceremony must be submitted for registration within 14 days of the marriage. Here is an extract from the Guidelines:


Subsection 50(4) of Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) requires the authorised celebrant to forward the Form 16 official certificate of marriage and the NOIM (together with supporting documents) to the BDM in the State or Territory in which the marriage was solemnised within 14 days of the marriage being solemnised. Some states and territories allow these documents to be lodged online. Authorised celebrants should make enquiries with the relevant BDM about the availability of this option. Contact details for the BDMs can be found in Part 13 of these Guidelines.

Other necessary supporting documents that should also be sent to the relevant BDMs with the Form 16 certificate of marriage will depend on the circumstances of the marriage. Such documents may include any official translations of documents, copies of parental consents or court orders for an underage marriage, statutory declarations or the certificate of faithful performance by the interpreter (formerly called the Form 24). Note that BDMs have different practices as to what supporting documents are required. For example, WA BDM will usually receive any parental consents or court orders for an underage marriage, Certificates of Interpreter or statutory declarations but not other documents.

Marriages are then registered in the State or Territory in which they are solemnised, in accordance with the law of that State or Territory. Copies of, and extracts from, entries in the register of marriages can be obtained from the registering authority in the State or Territory in which the marriage is registered. Note that WA BDM does not issue extracts from the register of marriages.

It is the responsibility of the authorised celebrant, not the parties to the marriage, to forward the documents to the BDM to register the marriage. Under no circumstances should the documents be given to any other person, including either or both of the parties to the marriage, to carry out this obligation. The obligation belongs to the authorised celebrant only.

Serious consequences may arise for the authorised celebrant and the couple if the authorised celebrant does not forward the documents to the BDM to register the marriage within the required time. Disciplinary measures, in the form of a caution, being required to undertake professional development, suspension or deregistration, could be taken against a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant who does not comply with their obligation to register a marriage. A minister of religion of a recognised denomination could be removed from the register of ministers of religion for failing to comply with this obligation. (ref:Section 33 of the Marriage Act)


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