Firstly, let me tell you, there are not many things you HAVE to do to get married in Australia but an endless possibility of things you can do (more later). Marriages in Australia are regulated under the Marriage Act of 1961 (including any amendments) and administered by The Attorney-General’s Department who register all Commonwealth-Registered Marriage Celebrants. While the Marriage Legislation covers, in some areas, ceremonies by Religious Institutions and State & Territory Officers (Registry Offices etc) I will be concentrating on areas relating to Marriage Celebrants.

Rather than reading through all the requirements, a Celebrant should and, in all probability, would go through everything related to a marriage ceremony including all legal requirements in your first meeting or communication. In any event they can guide / advise you through the process.

I know I do!!

Instead of including ALL details and exceptions to requirements below you will find future articles which will expand on less common topics. ***

So, HAVE TOs –

1. You CAN get married if:

You are not in a prohibited relationship (ancestor, descendant, sibling (full/half/step), adoptive relationship)

You are both over 18 (Special Conditions if one of you is over 16 but under 18) ***

You aren’t already married. ***

You both freely consent to be married.

2. NOIM (Notice of Intended Marriage) –

Your NOIM Must be completed and lodged with your Celebrant at least one month and no more than 18 month’s prior to the marriage. Any queries about what is meant by “a month” can be clarified by your celebrant, although to be on the safe side try and avoid waiting until the last minute. ***

You can message me for a link to a website to allow you to complete and submit the NOIM online.

The NOIM will be lodged when it has been signed by both parties to the marriage in the presence of an authorised Celebrant or other authorised authority AND lodged with your Celebrant. ***

Where the signature of one party to the marriage cannot conveniently be obtained for lodgement, the other party may sign and lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage form, but the other party must also sign the form in the presence of an authorised celebrant before the marriage takes place.

The NOIM can be lodged electronically AS LONG AS the original is submitted before the marriage.

Where NEEDED (not just wanted), a Shortening of Time can be applied for by the prescribed authority which, if granted, will allow the NOIM to be lodged less than a month before the marriage date. ***

3. ID Documentation –

Originals must be sighted by your Celebrant before your marriage (if originals are not available on lodgement of the NOIM copies are acceptable for lodgement)

Copy ID documents can be sent electronically AS LONG AS the original is sighted by your Celebrant before the marriage.

Original Birth/Adoption Certificate or Passport PLUS Photo ID (Driving licence, passport, proof of age card, etc) ***

Where relevant for previous marriage: Divorce Decree Absolute or Death Certificate of previous spouse. ***

4. Wedding Ceremony must include the following in this order. There are specific words with some, but limited, scope for change. – ***

Introduction of Celebrant.

The nature of marriage in Australia.

The prescribed vows (Which can be added to). It is after the vows have been spoken that the marriage becomes legal.

Sometime during the ceremony the full names of both parties to the marriage must be stated.

5. Witnesses –

Two people, over the age of 18 are needed to witness the marriage and sign the Marriage Certificates in their capacity as the witnesses to the marriage. These two people can be anyone including family, friends, strangers, wedding vendors (but not the Celebrant), etc.

6. Marriage Certificates – 3 Marriage Certificates to be signed

One for RBDM

One for Celebrant

Presentation certificate for married couple

7. Official Marriage Certificate (needed for proof of marriage and for changing names) – ***

Your Celebrant will lodge all the relevant marriage documents with RBDM (Registry of Birth, Death and Marriages) of the state in which the marriage was solemnised within 14 days of the marriage.

Once RBDM has registered the marriage the Official Marriage Certificate can be applied for. Your Celebrant might be able to help with the application.

References: WWW, Wikipedia, Marriage Act 1961, Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961.