Getting Married Legally in Australia

The Legal Process Step by Step

So, you’d like to be legally married in Australia?

Here is the legal process.

You, the couple must:

1. Be a partnership of two people [regardless of gender] aged 18+ (If one of you is 16+ and the other 18+ you can apply for special permission through the court).

2. Both consent to entering into the marriage.

3. Lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with your celebrant (or registry office) at least one month, but no longer than 18 months prior to your ceremony date.

4. Be able to provide ID to your Celebrant showing where and when you were born, as well as photo I.D. – a current passport covers all of these things, otherwise a birth certificate and driver’s license also cover all points (other forms of ID are also accepted).

5. Not already be legally married to each other or to anybody else – this includes marriages that have taken place overseas (any same sex marriages that were legally performed in another country were automatically legally recognised in Australia on the 9th December 2017)

6. Provide proof to your Celebrant of the end of any previous legal marriages by way of divorce, death or nullity certificates.

7. Sign a declaration of no legal impediment to marry stating that there is no legal reason that the two of you can’t be married.

On the day of your ceremony:

* you will provide two witnesses who are aged 18+

* your celebrant will:

1. Introduce themselves and state that they are legally authorised to solemnise marriages according to the law.

2. Recite the Monitum

“Before you are married in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship of which you are now about to enter.”

3. Explain how marriage in Australia is defined:

“Marriage in Australia is the union of two people, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” The two of you will say the legal vows

“I ask all here present to witness, that I, AB, take you, CD, to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/spouse.”


You the couple, your celebrant and your two witnesses will sign up to 3 documents:

1. Commemorative Certificate you keep.

2. Official Marriage Certificate your celebrant keeps one copy and sends a copy to the relevant Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in the State in which the marriage is solemnised for registration.

Once BDM have registered your marriage, you can order an official, registered certificate, this is the document you will use to change your surname on official documents if you have chosen to use your spouses’ surname.

The certificate you receive on the day is commemorative and not accepted at government offices as proof of marriage, so you must apply for a copy of the official marriage certificate from the BDM in the state your marriage took place (fees vary from state to state).

Written By Suzanne Riley, Marriage Celebrant

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