Legal Information for an Australian wedding.

Montville celebrantIt is a real joy to finally be able to officiate at the wedding of any loving adult couple in Australia.

As a registered marriage celebrant in Australia I am able to conduct your wedding ceremony anywhere in Australia, including its off-shore territories.  I also manage the legal aspects of your marriage quickly and efficiently, but there are some things you need to know. A couple from anywhere in the world can marry in Australia provided they meet the criteria to be married in Australia.

1. You must both be over the age of 18 years, or, if one is younger you must have a court order giving consent.

2. You must not be related as siblings (including adopted siblings), direct descendants or ancestors.

3. You must not be already married – occasionally a couple ‘elopes’ to, say Bali, gets married and then wants a wedding here in Australia with family and friends present.  I can do a “Celebration of Marriage” ceremony but not a wedding ceremony in such an instance.

4. You must complete the form: “Notice of Intended Marriage” or (NOIM) between 1 and 18 months prior to your wedding. You may download a copy here.  It can be completed when we meet, or you can complete it, have your signature witnessed as prescribed on the form, and mail it to me. The time may be shortened in very specific, extenuating circumstances by application to a prescribed authority. Please note, a marriage celebrant is not able to authorise a shortening of time, but can assist you with the process.

If you are a distance away and time is short (eg say, just 5 to 6 weeks out) I can accept a scanned copy of the completed & signed NOIM by email with the original then sent by post or brought with you. 

3. Your celebrant must sight the following documents prior to your wedding day:

  • Evidence of date and place of birth: an birth certificate or a passport.
  • if your name is different from that on your birth certificate I must see your change of name documents – or the document trail to demonstrate how you came to the name you are using – this may mean a series of marriage and death/divorce certificates).
  • If previously married,
    • and divorced: a decree absolute or Certificate of Divorce is required. If divorced in Australia, this is obtained from the Family Court of Australia;
    • and widowed: a death certificate must be presented.
  • Photograph ID documents such as a driver’s licence or Proof of Age card.  Note:If you use your Passport as evidence of Date & Place of birth, this also covers the Photo ID requirement.

If any of the above documents are in a language other than English they must be translated by a NATI certified translator.

If I have not sighted all required documentation, prior to the wedding day, the wedding ceremony CANNOT proceed.  It is the couple’s responsibility to provide the necessary documentation.  Occasionally I am asked to ‘pretend’ I have seen the required documents – Quite simply, I cannot do that.

5. In the 2 weeks prior to your wedding date you must each complete a declaration stating that you are free to marry.  This is usually done at your rehearsal.

Liz and David sign their Marriage Certificates. Photo by Lionheart Photography

Liz and David sign their Marriage Certificates. Photo by Lionheart Photography

6. You will need two witnesses over the age of 18 years at your wedding ceremony.

7. Your ceremony concludes with you and your two witnesses signing three documents:

  • The Marriage Register
  • Your Official Marriage Certificate
  • Your Couple’s Certificate.

Your couple’s certificate will be presented to you as the finale to your ceremony.

My fees generally include the BDM Fee for your Official Marriage Certificate.  I complete and send your application to BDM when I register your marriage. This is the only document necessary to record a change of name through marriage with various organisations.

Change of name: There is no requirement for either party to change their name after marriage.  In Australia either party can assume the name of their spouse or one or both may use joint names without a legal change of name being required.

Information courtesy of Montville Marriage Celebrant, Maleny Marriage Celebrant, Flaxton Marriage Celebrant