Most life-changing moments are ruined by paperwork and the Government Department that registers these life moments is aptly named - Births, Deaths and Marriages - yep, for babies, funerals and weddings.

If you're planning on tying the knot, then irrespective of where you decide to marry in Australia, you will need to complete and lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NoIM) and have it witnessed in front of a Justice of the Peace (or similar - there's a list - ask me).

Along with the Noim you need to supply evidence that you are who you say you are, so a birth certificate from the country of your birth is sufficient (and if you've been married before a Divorce or Death certificate will be required). There's a heap of rules so if you're not sure, ring me and I'll clarify what paperwork you'll need to supply. A recent change to legislation says that you need to supply originals of the paperwork that confirm your place and date of birth so start digging around. If you can't find your paperwork, you may need to apply for a new one - if that's not possible, again, give me a call and I'll let you know your options.

When you've completed the paperwork it needs to be lodged with a Celebrant one month prior to your wedding. So if your wedding is 09 November 2013, then the latest you can lodge your paperwork (or, in other words, give it to me) is 09 October 2013. There's only a few ways to reduce this one month waiting time and I can help you with this if necessary.

The I'll need to check your identities, so when we catch up, I'll ask to see proof that you're the people mentioned in the NoIM ... so bring your driver's licences or passports (you get them straight back).

WHERE CAN I GET MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?

If you were born in Australia, go to the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) website from the State/Territory you were born and apply for your birth certificate. Costs may vary and it usually takes about six weeks for the certificates to be posted to you, although if you need it faster, there will be an additional fee.

SOME COMMON QUESTIONS

I've been married before - what about divorce papers?
You'll need to approach the Family Court of the State/Court your Divorce became final.

I'm a widow/widower, what do I need to provide?
You will need to supply the death certificate of your former partner. The same rules apply as for getting a birth certificate but this will be the State where your former spouse died. See the list of Births Deaths Marriages in each State.

I've been married a couple of times before, what do I need to provide?
You will need to supply the death certificate of your former partner (or divorce papers) of your last marriage only - not all of them. See the list of Births Deaths Marriages in each State.

I can't find my birth certificate. Will my Aussie passport do?
Nope. It won't. You'll need to apply for a new birth certificate from the BDM of the State or Territory where you were born. Hey, sorry, I didn't make the rule.... See the list of Births Deaths Marriages in each State.

I was born overseas?
You can supply either your overseas birth certificate or the passport from your country of birth (it's okay if it has expired, but if it's been cancelled, then that's not acceptable). Even if you're an Australian Citizen, you'll still have to supply either of these documents because an Aussie passport or your citizenship papers aren't acceptable.

If you supply your birth certificate from your country of birth, it must be officially transcribed if it's not understandable to us purely English speakers (most are though).