Australian Law defines marriage as “the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life” from The Marriage Act of 1961. Your marriage may take place on any day, at any time, and any place in Australia, or within Australian territorial waters. At least two people (other than the celebrant) over the age of 18 years, must be present at the marriage ceremony, to act as your witnesses.
“The Notice Of Intended Marriage Form” (form 13) which can be downloaded here, must be filled out, signed, witnessed and then lodged with your celebrant.
- This form must be lodged a minimum of one calendar month before the wedding date. The notice is valid for 18 months
- The notice requires proof of birth i.e. If you were born in Australia you must produce a birth certificate or your Australian passport. If you were born overseas, either a birth certificate or an overseas passport
- If either party has been married before, evidence of how the marriage ended will be required i.e. either a Decree Absolute in the case of divorce, or if the previous partner has died, a death certificate
- If either party has changed their name by deed poll, the official ‘Change of Name’ document must be produced
- All documents need to be in English, or have an official translation of the document into English, attached
- To ensure there is no last minute panic, it is a good idea to locate all documents needed, as soon as possible
- All documents must be original or extracts. Certified copies and photocopies are NOT acceptable
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, just prior to the marriage.
During the ceremony, the authorised celebrant must say to the parties, in the presence of the witnesses, the words, “My name is Celebrant’s name, and I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages in Australia, according to Australian law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence, and in the presence of these witnesses, I am bound to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to the law in Australia is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.
The ceremony must take place in the presence of an Authorised Celebrant. All authorised celebrants will have a registration number, are listed on the Attorney General’s website www.ag.gov.au/celebrantsand follow the ‘Code of Practice for Marriage Celebrants‘.
The following vows must be exchanged during the ceremony:
- I ask everybody here present to witness that I, partner’s name, take you, partner’s name, to be my lawfully wedded wife/husband/spouse. And I ask everybody here present to witness that I, partner’s name, take you, partner’s name, to be my lawfully wedded wife/husband/spouse.
- The full names of both parties 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.
- Both parties, the celebrant and the two witnesses must all sign each of the three marriage certificates with the same names used on the Notice of Intended Marriage form.
PROOF OF MARRIAGE
At the end of the wedding ceremony, the couple is presented with a ‘Certificate of Marriage’. This is conclusive evidence that the marriage has taken place. It is an important document and should be kept in a safe place with other official documents. However, this certificate does not provide conclusive evidence of the identity of the couple. In some situations, you may be asked to produce a registered copy of your marriage certificate, which may be obtained from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State or Territory in which you were married. If you fill in the application and give it to your celebrant, it can be lodged together with the other paperwork.