Legalities


 Legal Requirements for Getting Married in Australia

Signing the Marriage Register

Marriage has been proposed and now the fun begins!

Planning a wedding can be an exciting time, however before you dive in, here are some important legal requirements that you should be aware of before you making your love legal.

The first step is to check that you are legally able to be married in Australia.

Read the points below to check that you and your partner are all hunky dory and ready to go.

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Before the Ceremony

You must:

  • be a man and a woman
  • not be married to anyone else
  • not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister
  • be eighteen years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between sixteen and eighteen years old
  • both understand what marriage means and freely consent to the union
  • complete the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form and lodge it with your celebrant at least one calendar month before the wedding.  You can do this up to eighteen months before your ceremony.
  • provide your celebrant with evidence of your date and place of birth, and prove that your re who you say you are with photo identity (a passport does all of these things, otherwise a full birth certificate + a driver’s licence does the trick)  You will also need to prove the ending of any previous marriages for each party showing your original divorce or death certificate.

During the Ceremony

  • The ceremony must take place in the presence of an Authorised Celebrant. All authorised celebrants will have a registration number and are listed on the Attorney General’s wesite www.ag.gov.au/celebrants.
  • You both must sign a declaration stating that you believe there is no legal impediment to your marriage. This must be done with your celebrant, within the two weeks prior to the marriage.
  • In accordance with the Marriage Act 1961, the celebrant must say the following words:

Civil Celebrant:

“My name is [celebrant’s full name] and I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law”

“Before you are joined in marriage in my presence, and in the presence of these witnesses, I must remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship that you are about to enter.”

“Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

  • There are also certain words that must to be said by you.

Legal Wording for Vows:

“I call upon the people here present to witness that I,[full name], take you, [full name] to be my legally wedded wife/husband.”

  • The full names of the bride and groom must be mentioned somewhere in the ceremony (for purposes of identification of the parties). This is usually done in the vows, or in the introduction.
  • You must have 2 witnesses who appear over the age of 18
  • You, your witnesses and your celebrant will sign three marriage certificates:
    • 1st – is sent to Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state the ceremony is held to be registered
    • 2nd – is kept by the celebrant
    • 3rd – is the fancy one that is kept by you

After the Ceremony

If you would like to change your name:

  • You can simply assume your partner’s name without doing anything OR
  • You can officially change your name on your passport, driver’s licence, at the bank, etc… using your marriage certificate.  However, the pretty certificate that you receive on your wedding day, whilst still a legal document and proves that you are married, is not enough to change your name with government bodies.  You will need to apply for a copy of your ‘official’ marriage certificate, stamped and issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (in the state where your marriage took place) then you take that certificate into all the places where you’d like your name changed.