Legal Requirements

What role does a Marriage Celebrant perform?

Planning a wedding can be very complex. Who is responsible for doing the various things required can be very unclear. As your Marriage Celebrant, my role under Australian Law is to:

  • Help you to complete the legal checks and pre-marital paperwork
  • Make you aware of relationship education – (A brochure will be given to you if you have not already received this).
  • Research, plan and write your wedding ceremony
  • Perform your wedding ceremony
  • Prepare and present your marriage certificate
  • Register your marriage at the Births, Deaths & Marriages office within the state your marriage took place.

I cannot do the following:

  • Assist with immigration matters
  • Obtain documents/court orders
  • Help with booking venues or photographers etc.

When and Where can we marry?

You can get married whenever and wherever you would like. The Marriage Act 1961 states:

A marriage occurring in Australia may be solemnised on any day, at any time, and at any place.

This means that you can get married anywhere in Australia, including in the air over Australia or out at Sea (within Australian waters).

You can get married whenever and wherever you would like. The Marriage Act 1961 states:

A marriage occurring in Australia may be solemnised on any day, at any time, and at any place.

This means that you can get married anywhere in Australia, including in the air over Australia or out at Sea (within Australian waters).

How quickly can we marry?

By law, you must give me at least one month’s notice before you can get married. This is done by completing a ‘Notice of Intended Marriage’ (NOIM) form, which I will prepare for you. All you need do is sign.

We can complete and sign the ‘Notice of intended Marriage’ form up to 18 months prior to your wedding date, but no earlier.

If you would like to give me the information for your NOIM prior to your next appointment, please complete the NOIM Form.

In very exceptional circumstances, such as illness, you can apply for a shortening of time to allow you to marry sooner. However, the decision is made by a prescribed legal authority on a case by case basis. Please inform me immediately if you feel you have a special case. I am able to provide you with the details of your nearest prescribed authority and the application form.

What information do you need to provide?

I will ask you to provide me with the following information to complete your ‘Notice of Intended Marriage’ form:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Occupation
  • Marital Status
  • Date and place of birth
  • Details of your parents
  • Details of any previous marriage.

What documents do you need to provide?

The Marriage Act 1962 states that you must show evidence of your date and place of birth, and your identity, when we sign the Notice of Intended Marriage.

 

Passport

The easiest way is to show me your passport. If you are an Australian citizen, you can show me your Australian passport and if you are not an Australian you can show me your overseas passport.

Australian expired passports up to two years out of date remain acceptable.

 

Birth Certificate

If you do not have a passport or it is more than two years out of date, you can show me your birth certificate. If you are unable to find your birth certificate you can apply to Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state in which you were born. I can help you with this process. Photocopies and scans cannot be accepted.

If you have an overseas birth certificate that is not in English, it will need to be translated by a NAATI accredited translator. I can assist you with this.

Photo Identification

If you are providing a birth certificate instead of a passport, you will also need to show photo identification, such as your Driver’s Licence or Proof of Age Card.

Married Before?

If you are divorced, you will need to show the original copy of your most recent final divorce certificate. This may be a PDF emailed to you and not an actual piece of paper.

If you have been widowed, you must show me the official death certificate of your spouse.

If either document is not in English, it will need to be translated. Again, I can provide assistance around this.

You cannot still be legally married to a person; this includes marriages that have taken place overseas. (Any same sex marriage legally performed in another country prior to 9th December 2017 is now legally recognised in Australia).

You will need to sign a Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage before your wedding day. This is to confirm that there are no legal reasons that the two of you cannot get married. I advise that this form is completed at your Wedding Rehearsal. This also gives you a feel of what signing the Marriage Register will be like on the actual day. I will prepare this form on your behalf and have it ready for you to sign. If you are not having a wedding rehearsal we will get the document signed by appointment before your wedding day.

Are there any age and residency requirements?

You must be a partnership of two people (regardless of gender). At least one of you must be aged 18 or over. If one of you is between 16 and 18 you can apply for legal permission to be married through the court. You will also need parental consent. Under no circumstance can two people under the age of 18 marry.

There is no residency requirement to marry in Australia, so if you live overseas and want to come on holiday and get married, you can. Ensure you check and adhere to the Australian entry requirements.

Witnesses

You MUST provide two witnesses who are aged 18 or over and willing to sign the legal documentation immediately after the ceremony.

Legal Wording at Ceremony

At your ceremony I will:

  1. Introduce myself and state that I am legally authorised to solemnise marriages according to the law.
  2. Recite the Monitum:

“I am legally registered to solemnise marriages according to the law. Before you are joined married in my presence and in the presence of everyone here, I am to remind you of the serious and permanent nature of the relationship of which you are now about to enter”.

  1. Explain how marriage in Australia is defined:

“Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.

  1. The two of you MUST use your full name at some point in the ceremony and say the legal vows before I can pronounce you married:

“I ask everyone here to witness, that I, (Your full Name), take you, (Full Name of Partner) to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/spouse”.

From a legal prospective that is all that needs to be said in a wedding ceremony.

Does Australia have legal same sex marriages?

Yes. Marriage Equality became law in Australia on 9th December 2017.

Marriage Certificates

On your wedding day the two of you, your chosen witnesses and your Celebrant will sign three documents. One document is for you, the other for the Celebrant and the last one is sent to Births, Deaths & Marriages for registration.

I will issue you with an official Marriage Certificate which is the legal evidence of the fact your marriage took place. It is a shortened version which shows your basic details i.e. name, wedding date & location, your witnesses and my details.

This certificate is not accepted at government offices as proof of marriage. To change your name or for other official reasons such as visa applications, you must apply for a copy of the official certificate from Births, Deaths & Marriages in the state your marriage ceremony took place (fees vary from state to state). This is also a process I can assist you to complete.

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