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What are the legal requirements for getting married in Australia?

Here is a quick snapshot of all the things we need to do to get you legally married in Australia:


  • The couple must complete the Notice of Intended Marriage Form and lodge it with your chosen celebrant no later than one (1) clear month (and no more than 18 months) before the wedding date.

  • The celebrant must sight documents for proof of identity (Australian or overseas Passport or Driver's Licence or Government issued Proof of Identity/Age Card) and date/place of birth (Australian or overseas Passport or original Birth Certificate, or in certain cases, a Statutory Declaration where it is impractical to supply one - eg. Asylum Seekers/Refugees).

  • If married previously, proof of termination of previous marriage - Divorce (Court issued Divorce Order for divorces after Aug 2005, or The Decree Nisi or Decree Absolute for divorces prior to Aug 2005) or Annulment (Declaration of Nullity), or Death (Death Certificate).

  • The couple must each sign the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage with their celebrant as close to, but always before the ceremony.


For a ceremony to be legal, we need to include the following:

  • The Celebrant must introduce themselves (eg: My name is Kimberley Oakhill and I am an authorised civil marriage celebrant).

  • The couple’s full names must be said by the Celebrant or the couple at any time prior or including the Legal Vows, at least once.

  • The Monitum must be said by the Celebrant:

“I am duly authorized by law to solemnize 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 Legal Vows must be said by the couple:

“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Joe Bloggs, take you, Cherry Blossum, to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/spouse. (First names can be used if full names have already been said, and a nickname can be added to the first name, if desired. I can also supply variations to this wording which is still legal);

  • Two witnesses 18 years of age or over must be present at the ceremony and must be able to see and hear the above legal requirements throughout the ceremony.

  • Signatures on the following documents:

  1. Official Certificate of Marriage (Celebrant will send to Births Deaths and Marriages after the wedding);

  2. The Couples Certificate (for you to keep); and

  3. The Marriage Register (A second copy of the Official Certificate of Marriage which the Celebrant to keep).


  • The Celebrant must register your wedding within 14 days of the ceremony taking place. (I do this electronically within 24 hours of your wedding).

  • The couple can apply for the official Marriage Certificate from Births Deaths and Marriages to enable a change of name.

For further information on the whole process, see Attorney General's Department here

Legal requirements for a marriage ceremony in Australia
Image by Barefoot and Bearded

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