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Legal Requirements

Marriage has legal requirements and therefore legal consequences that need your careful consideration and attention. Legal Requirements MUST be adhered to.

The following points need to be considered for a legal ceremony:

  • You must both be over the age of 18 years . If one party is between 16 and 18 years old, you are required to obtain: parents’ consent on the required form and a court order under Section 12 of the Marriage Act.
  • You must provide a signed Notice of Intent to Marriage one month and one day prior to the ceremony. This is valid for 18 months You must have your signatures witnessed on the Notice of Intended Marriage in the presence of:
  1. an Australian Diplomatic Officer
  2. A Marriage Celebrant
  3. an Australian Consular Official
  4. a Justice of the Peace
  5. a barrister or a solicitor
  6. a Qualified Medical Practitioner
  7. a member of the Australian State or Federal Police Force
  • You must evidence age by producing Birth Certificates or a passports. All certificates MUST be original. Photo-copied or certified copies are not acceptable. All documents need to be in English or have an official translation of the document into English. If you require documents to be translated then visit
  • If there has been a previous marriage(s) you must evidence your divorce papers (Decree Absolute) or, if applicable, Death Certificate of a former spouse.
  • If either party have changed their name, the official ‘change of name’ document must be produced.
  • At your wedding, you must have two witnesses both 18 years or older. These names need to be provided prior to your ceremony
  • You both agree freely to the marriage
  • You must sign a document stating that you know of no reason why you cannot marry each other (that you are not related by blood or adoption, already married or under 18 years)
  • That both the bride and groom and witnesses (2) must be able to speak and understand English otherwise an official interpreter must be present
  • That three compulsory components must be included in the ceremony. The celebrant’s authority, the declaration of intention and your vows
  • That the Marriage Register must be signed and witnessed

 Shortening of time

It may be possible to request a shortening of time, if you are unable to wait 1 month and 1 day to marry. You will need to meet with me to fill in a Notice of Intended Marriage form (NOIM). You can then apply to a prescribed authority for approval. (Your local court or Registry Officials) They are the only ones who can shorten the required period provided they are satisfied that the circumstances prescribed in the regulations are met. These circumstances are:

  • Employment related or other travel commitments.
  • Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations.
  • Medical reasons.
  • Legal proceedings.
  • Error in giving notice.

It is up to the prescribed authority to approve the application, and is not an automatic process.


If you are overseas, then your signatures need to be witnessed by an Australian Consulate Officer or an Australian Diplomatic Officer. Visit for their locations.

Marrying in Australia is a simple process and you do not need

  • To be a citizen of Australia
  • To remain in Australia once you have married
  • To reside in Australia before your marriage
  • To pay Government fees (except for obtaining the registered, stamped copy of your marriage certificate approx $25AUS)
  • To arrange the details in person it can be done via email, phone and fax
  • To have a licence or medical certificates
  • To make your wedding plans public

Who can I have as my witnesses?

Anyone you like providing they are over the age of 18 years. They may be from overseas.

Do I have to be given away?

No this is a personal choice and is not a requirement.

What name does the bride sign on the day of the Wedding?

Her maiden name on all documentation.

What name should the bride us when booking travel/ honeymoon reservations?

Her maiden name as this is her legal name until after the Wedding day, once the Marriage has been registered with Births Deaths and Marriages.

I have some visitors coming from overseas and would prefer to be married whilst they are here. Is this possible?

As long as I am free on the required date we could perform the ceremony but if it is before the legal requirement of 1 month and 1 day, you would not be legally married until we repeat the process after the required time period. Your legal wedding date would be the later ceremony and this would be recorded on all documentation

Can I play music during the ceremony?

Yes, you can play music as part of the ceremony as it does not infringe on any copyrights. If you would like to play music before or after the ceremony you would need to check that it does not infringe on any copyright laws.

Your choice of music is a very personal choice and would need to be provided by yourself along with the audio.

Can we have drinks before the ceremony?

No drinking during or before the ceremony. Drinks may be served whilst you are signing the documents, although permission should be sought from relevant Councils, if at a public venue.

Do you need to be an Australian Citizen to marry in Australia?

No. Anyone may marry in Australia providing you are both over the age of 18 and not legally married. If one or both of you is between 16 and 18, additional requirements must be met.

How much ‘Notice’ must be given to be married in Australia?

At least 1 calendar month. (In exceptional circumstances the Registrar may approve a shortening of time for the ‘Notice’)

Do we need to be in Australia a certain time before we can marry?

No. You can marry the day that you arrive from overseas if you wish. However, by law I must receive the Notice of Intended Marriage form from you at least 1 month and 1 day before the wedding. To be on the safe side, send it early.

Will the marriage be recognised in my own country?

Yes. You should confirm this with your own government agency which records marriages in your country.

Can I marry anywhere in Australia?

Yes. An Authorised Civil Marriage Celebrant is permitted to perform a wedding ceremony anywhere in Australia, that includes some of our beautiful remote islands, rainforests, aeroplanes, boats, hot air balloons etc. Please be aware that if the Celebrant has to travel interstate etc., the intended bride and groom must pay for the travel costs and in some instances the accommodation.

Where is an Australian Embassy?

For Australian Embassies, Consulates and Missions around the world click here

Can we re-marry in Australia after being married in another country?

No. The only type of ceremony you would be able to have would be either a Renewal Ceremony or a Commitment Ceremony.

Can two people of the same sex marry?

YES. Same sex marriages are now legally recognised in Australia.

How many witnesses do we need and can they be related to us?

You need two witnesses present at your Marriage Ceremony who are over the age of 18. Any person can act as a witness, even your parents. The Celebrant, however, cannot act as a witness.

Can I use photo copies and certified copies of my legal documents?

No. All documents must be originals

Can we use legal paperwork that is in another language?

No. Before you can submit it, your paperwork will need to be translated into the English language by a recognised/registered translator.

How do I find a translator in Australia?

If you require a translator or interpreter within Australia, please visit NAATI website

Click Here to email to request more information

or to contact Penny Hartelt 0417 327 195

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