Avoiding 9 common mistakes on the NOIM form

First, the NOIM form

Ready to marry? Then you’re ready to fill in the first piece of paper to start your Marriage process;
the Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM).

The Australian Marriage Act “requires that a marriage shall not be solemnised unless a notice in writing of the intended marriage is given to the marriage celebrant.” This is done on the prescribed form, the NOIM.

Having been a marriage celebrant on the Queensland Sunshine Coast for more than 12 years, I have assisted newly engaged couples with their marriage forms.
After many hundreds of weddings, and thus hundreds of marriage certificates, I have seen a variety of mistakes that a marriage celebrant has to deal with.

All these can be avoided by asking Kari for access to your very own personal portal that has easy boxes to fill.  I will send you the link, and off we go together to get your paperwork perfect…. long before the wedding.  Once the portal is filled in, you can get back to the fun part of creating your unique wedding.

If you would prefer to full in a paper form, there is a link here (NOIM):

There are 9 common mistakes which occur on a NOIM form.  And they are all innocent errors. Perhaps this page can help.

NOIM form

9 Common Mistakes on the NOIM

The first form a couple wishing to marry must contemplate is called the Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form.

There are several common mistakes that are made on the NOIM. Let’s look at those:

1 Black – the official colour on paper forms

If you’re filling in a paper form, preferably use a black pen. Black is an official colour; easy to read. Use block letters or printing to fill in the form.
Or better still,      download an interactive pdf version.
This form allows you to fill in the fields on the computer, and save it as your own form.  Once saved, you can print it ready to take to your celebrant.

2 Names

In the Surname section, write your current surname. Make sure it is written as per your birth certificate, or previous marriage certificate if you took a married name. Use all hyphens, accents, apostrophes or capitals and lowercase as necessary.
For example :          MacDougal-Das Gupta    or    Mc Tavish    or    De Cruz    or    de la Cueva    or    O’Sullivan

Given Names section, list all your names except your surname; first and all your middle names. Make sure all the names from your birth certificate are listed on the form. Write them in full. Don’t leave any out.

For example :       Patricia Martinella Jane Francesca

Hang on…. there’s one exception … don’t include any names that may have been added as a part of baptism and don’t appear on your birth certificate.

3 Occupation

Write your occupation as a proper noun, the person doing the job, not the job or the department.
Thus use Administrator rather than administration, or Human resource manager rather than human resources

4 Conjugal status

I’m afraid “single” does not cut it in the world of government forms.  You need to be more specific!

There are a few choices in this category. It is important to choose the correct one that reflects your actual legal status.

The most common one is, Never validly married. Don’t forget the little word validly. It is also an important word. I mean, that wedding you had in preschool with your little mate, may have been as real as ever when you were 4 years old, and we don’t wish to discredit the sincerity of that occasion at the time..  But the crucial point here is that it was not valid!!!

Other choices are widower or widow if your previous spouse died. Widow for a woman whose partner died, and Widower for a man whose partner died.

Divorced – is the other option, if you have legally divorced from a previous spouse. You will need to present evidence of the divorce to your celebrant. This needs to be the original divorce decree document, not a photocopy.

Annulment –  if your marriage was dissolved through a legal annulment – a very rare scenario.

5 Birthplace

Check your birth certificate. You may have always believed you were born in “Sydney”, but perhaps your birth certificate lists “Darlinghurst” as your birthplace. You and I know this is kind of the same thing, because – yes Darlinghurst is in Sydney. But official departments in Cambodia, for example, may not know this. If your marriage certificates and forms, closely match your birth certificate, you are less likely to encounter difficulties in the future. Who knows what the future may bring. Let’s not create any potential room for future bureaucratic grief.

6 Parent one’s full current name

Some families have Mother and Father, other families have different scenarios.  The gender non specific nature of the current marriage forms allow for a parent to be a non specific gender.  This approach is inclusive of same-sex parents, parents who do not identify as male or female, and parties who only have one legal parent.

If Parent 1 is your Dad, then:

Even if the family just calls him Bill or Jazza , write your dad’s full legal name, including all his middle names;

For example :           Joshua Blake William Forsham-Smythe

6b Father’s full birth name

Occasionally people have a change of name during their lifetime.  What is Dad’s name on his birth certificate?

7 Parent two’s full current name

If Parent 2 is your Mum, what is her legal name today?

For example :             Maria Antoinette Forsham-Smythe       (This would include a married surname or current name)

7b Parent two’s full birth name

This is usually the name they were born with, a maiden/batchelor name; the FULL maiden name, which means all the names including the surname on their birth certificate, even if the name has changed since they or you were born.
For example :             Maria Antoinette Lisette de Vries

To satisfy the requirement under the Marriage Act 1961 it is up to the parties to list their parents using the names as they know them by. Parties do not need to supply evidence of their parents’ names or countries of birth, but it helps if all your ID matches into the future.  This is why a birth certificate can help with your marriage paperwork.

8 Divorce date

Another common error on NOIM forms is the DATE OF DIVORCE. This is the date the court decrees the divorce to come into effect – “becomes absolute”. It is not the date of application, nor the date of the court hearing.
It is the date near the end of the page.


…….and lastly

9 signing the form

Don’t sign the form yet. Your signatures need to be witnessed by an appropriate witness. Most often it is your celebrant who will witness your signatures.  But there are other options.
Here’s the list of “appropriate” witnesses as listed on the form:


There you go…. it’s all in fine print on the form itself.

Lodgement of the NOIM

This form is lodged with (or given to) the celebrant. It is from this form that most of the information for your marriage certificates is taken. So it is important to get it right. Thus your marriage certificate will also be correct. And you want it to be correct! Your marriage certificate forms part of your ongoing legal identity. So you want it to match your other forms of ID too. If it matches, you are less likely to come across issues with your ID papers in the future.

Once your NOIM form is with your celebrant, you can relax. Your celebrant should take care of all the paperwork from here on. A good celebrant will cross check all that you have filled in to make sure it is legal, and fulfils all that is required for your marriage to also be legal.

When to lodge

The NOIM must be lodged with your celebrant at least one month prior to your wedding.  So if your wedding dates is 25th August, then it must be lodged before the 24th July for example.  The form lasts for 18 months from the signature date.  So you may loge the form any time within these parameters, between one and 18 months prior to your wedding.

A Marriage Celebrant

Choosing a good celebrant is also crucial!

Contact me if you have any questions… even if you don’t book with me.  I am happy to assist where I can.

And know that once the NOIM is lodged, the hardest part is over!!!! From here on the fun can begin. Let me show you how.

Now you just need to find that perfect dress!

wine wedding dressThanks to my colleagues, celebrants Karen Faa and Merlin Coughlan, for their input into this article.
Another story will be about choosing your correct ID documents.