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Legal requirements for marriage in Australia

Australia is a fantastic place to marry for all couples, whether local or based overseas, offering the flexibility for marriages to take place practically anywhere, with Marriage Celebrants providing the freedom and creativity for couples to have whatever kind or style of ceremony they envisage. There are minimal legal requirements for marriage in Australia, however the requirements we have need to be adhered to.

Before we cover the legal requirements, it is important to note:

Your marriage can take place from 1 calendar month after the date you meet and lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with your Celebrant.

As of 2022, meetings to lodge your NOIM form with us can take place either in person or via video call – lodging your NOIM has never been so convenient!

marriage requirements Australia

The following covers the legal requirements for marriage in Australia, within a wedding ceremony. When we meet with our couples, we cover this in the most straight forward and easy way possible, by using a system that you can enter your details in to that populates all the required forms.

What is required before the wedding

Before your marriage can take place, your Celebrant must receive your completed NOIM form. If you are based locally, we can either meet in person, where you sign this in our presence with your Celebrant as your witness, or we can meet online via video call: What’s app, Zoom, Facetime etc.

If you are based in rural Queensland or interstate and of you are simply unable to meet at our home office in Indooroopilly as soon as you would like, meetings can take place via video call and we are now permitted to sight your NOIM form during our video call – lodging your pre-marriage paperwork (NOIM form) with us has never been so convenient!

If you are both based overseas, we are not permitted to sight your paperwork via video call, so instead you simply complete the NOIM form via an online link that we send you, and we return your completed NOIM form to you as a printable PDF document, for you to print and take to an authorised person to sign in their presence (usually an Australian Consular Official), with them as your witness, then the form can be returned to us by email.

To verify your identity and the details on this form, we are also required to sight the following identification:

  • Passport, or
  • Birth certificate + drivers licence
  • And, if you have been previously married, we are required to sight evidence that you are no longer married.

For our couples convenience, we are authorised to sight the above identification electronically, so if you aren’t based locally, this can simply be emailed to us.

Before your marriage can take place, you are also required to complete a form called ‘the declaration’ declaring that to your knowledge there is no legal reason that you would not be able to marry each other. This can be completed as close to the date of the marriage as is convenient.

What legal wording must be included in a marriage ceremony in Australia?

A marriage ceremony must include:

– The Celebrant (us) to state our name and that we are an Authorised Celebrant

– The Celebrant must state the following required wording known as the ‘Monitum’

“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 am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.

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

– The following mandatory vows (or an acceptable variation of as defined by the Marriage Act) must be stated by each party to one another:

I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take thee, C.

D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband, or spouse).

And dah dah – we’ve covered it, that is all that actually needs to be said and done for you to be legally married, then you can sign the marriage certificates and pop open the champagne.

legal marriage Australia

Of course you may like to also exchange wedding rings, read your own personalised vows and share a little of your love story, however those are all entirely optional. Which goes to show how much creative freedom you have when working with your Celebrant to plan and design your ceremony.

What is involved with signing marriage paperwork?

2 witnesses are required to officially witness your marriage. They need to be over the age of 18 and of sound mind (e.g. not drunk – the Attorney- Generals rules, not the Celebrants!)

Marriage paperwork Australia

As your Celebrant, on the day we will provide you with the following 3 documents to sign, for our couples convenience we always have these pre-completed with all your information, so on the wedding day, it’s just each of your signatures, followed by your witnesses signatures to be added:

1. Official Certificate of Marriage – To be submitted by your Celebrant to the office of BDM (Births, Deaths and Marriages) in the state where your marriage took place.

2. Official Certificate of Marriage – Identical to the above, this one is the Celebrants copy to keep and archive.

3. Presentation Certificate – This is your keepsake certificate that you will be given to take with you after the ceremony.

We hope this answers all your questions relating to the legal requirements for marriage in Australia, and we would love to make a time to meet, in person or via video call, so we can start planning your special day.

Contact us now and let’s get the ball rolling!

Images by Dreamlife Photography and Nikita Pere