Legal Requirements

All of my ceremonies comply with the Australian legal standards which are set out by the Attorney Generals Department.

When marrying in Australia, there are certain requirements you must fulfill which are explained below.

Getting married in Australia

To be legally married in Australia, a person must:

  • not be married to someone else
  • not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister
  • be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between 16 and 18 years old
  • understand what marriage means and freely consent to marrying
  • use specific words during the ceremony
  • give written notice of their intention to marry to their authorised celebrant, within the required time frame.

I will help you understand these requirements.

You don’t have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to legally marry here. You can find marriage visa information on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website, if you hope to live in Australia after your marriage.

Marriage equality

On 9 December 2017, the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 will commence. The Act changes the definition of marriage and provides for marriage equality in Australia. The right to marry in Australia will no longer be determined by sex or gender.

Important paperwork – Notice of Intended Marriage

  • A new Notice of Intended Marriage form, which couples can start to use on 9 December 2017, is available on the Marriage stationery and forms page.
  • A completed Notice of Intended Marriage form must be given to your celebrant at least one month before the wedding. You can give it to your celebrant up to 18 months beforehand.
  • Your celebrant can help you complete the form. The notice may be completed and witnessed outside Australia if required.
  • Talk to your celebrant if there is less than one month before your wedding. A prescribed authority may approve a shorter notice time in some limited circumstances.
  • You will need to give your celebrant evidence of date and place of birth, identity and the end of any previous marriages for each party. Your celebrant may also ask you to complete a statutory declaration to support your evidence.

Documents you will need if you are coming from overseas

  • If you are born overseas you will need an Overseas passport or a birth certificate translated in English (an Australian passport is not acceptable).
  • If you have been married before you will need decree absolute (final divorce papers) or a death certificate In English.
  • All of these papers must be bought with you on your arrival to Australia for sighting by me. Please note that you cannot be married in Australia unless you have these original papers with you.
  • You must complete a ‘Notice of Intended Marriage’ which you can download from here or obtain from the Australian High Commission, Embassy or the Australian Foreign Affairs Department in your country. The back of the Form will tell you who can witness the form for you. You need to get the form witnessed at the Australian Embassy or Consulate in your country or by a Notary Public. This form must then be lodged with me no later than one calendar month and one day prior to the wedding by email/fax. I will arrange all of the Legal Paper work necessary for you to be married here.
  • You will be given a presentation marriage certificate on your wedding day. You will need to obtain a stamped registered copy of your full legal marriage certificate from the registry office before leaving Australia. I can give you the necessary papers to do this.
  • If you are from a European or Asian Country, you do need to have an Apostle Stamp on your certificate making your marriage legal in your country. Please check if this is necessary with your own Consulate before leaving the country. Again I can assist you with details on how to obtain this. This stamp can not be obtained in your country. This is necessary in making your marriage legal anywhere in the world. This must be done before you leave Australia.

After you are married

On the day of your wedding, you will sign three marriage certificates. Each certificate should be signed by you, your celebrant and two witnesses. Your celebrant will give you one of the certificates as a record of your marriage.

Your celebrant must register your marriage with the registry of births, deaths and marriages in the state or territory it took place within 14 days.

The certificate issued by the registry of births, deaths and marriages is required for many official purposes. You should apply for a copy of this certificate from the registry after your wedding through the relevant births, deaths and marriages.

Registered relationships

Some state and territory governments provide for people to register their relationship. You can find out more information from state and territory registries of births, deaths and marriages.

Getting married overseas

The Smartraveller website has detailed information about getting married overseas.

If you intend to marry overseas, please note that marriage celebrants authorised in Australia can only perform legal marriages within Australia.

An overseas marriage cannot be registered in Australia, and the foreign marriage certificate will be evidence the marriage has occurred. Ensure you keep this certificate as it may not be easy to replace if lost and it provides the only evidence of the overseas marriage.

Please note that it may not be possible to rely on a marriage certificate issued overseas for some purposes in Australia. A party to a marriage which takes place overseas may not be able to rely on an overseas marriage certificate to have an Australian driver’s licence or an Australian passport issued in their married name.

An overseas marriage will generally be recognised in Australia if it:

  • was a valid marriage in the overseas country
  • would have been recognised as valid under Australian law if the marriage had taken place in Australia.

Change of name

To apply for a formal change of name in Australia, visit your state or territory’s births, deaths and marriages registry.