The Legal Bits: legal requirements to get married in Australia
How do we do this? The legal requirements for marriage in Australia.
Spoiler alert* boring yet compulsory
I will take care of all the legal paperwork from the beginning to the end. Not all celebrants take care of all the paperwork for you, but I like your wedding to be a breeze so you can breathe out and soak it all up. Here’s a summary of what I will do for you and the things you need to do for me. You get the easy bits.
I will confirm you are free to get married under the law in Australia
Make sure we give one month notice of your marriage. This is with a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form I will give you. We can complete it over coffee so I can witness it. I will include the necessary paperwork and words in your wedding ceremony (after discussing how you would like to include them) so you are legally wed.
I will lodge all the paperwork with the Registry of Birth Deaths and Marriages (BDM) the first working day after your wedding (but no later than 14 days of your marriage) and get your official marriage certificate for you. The certificate you get at the ceremony is ceremonial only and not suitable for name changing. BDM will register your marriage once I lodge the paperwork. I like to take care of your official marriage certificate to be sure it’s correct, and you aren’t trudging around applying it for yourselves. This service is complimentary (however there will be a small charge by BDM).
Once I send it to you, you can change your names and keep it for proof you are legally married. Exciting times
Provide me with the identification I need to see prior to marriage and sign five documents, two before your wedding and three during your wedding or immediately after.
Arrive on the day, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, ready to get married.
Easy peasy. I promise to make it as simple as possible. It works beautifully if we can meet for a chat, coffee or after-work beer.
KEEN TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE LEGALS?
Grab a cuppa and have a read below
So, how do I get married legally in Australia?
· You must be of marriageable age – that's over 18 (or ONE party may be 16 with consent from a judge and parent/guardian)
You must not be immediately related or in a prohibited relationship
You must not be already married
You must both be consenting and willing to marry
You must provide one-month notice to me with the both of you signing the Notice of Intended Marriage
Stay calm, I'll guide you through this.
How do we give our one-month notice?
Once you have booked me, I will give you a password to log into the client area and you can print out a copy of the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form. The one-month notice period starts once we meet. I check your ID and your details are true and correct, we sign together (with me as the witness) and voila, it’s done.
This form is valid for 18 months before the wedding. Once you have lodged the NOIM with me I hang onto everything until it’s time to submit all the paperwork. Just prior to your marriage, I will get you to sign a Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage.
What I.D documents do we need to provide when signing our notice?
I need to verify the following and will need original documents to support:
Your identity and proof of birth: current or expired passport. No passport? No problem. Please bring your original birth certificate and photo identification (e.g drivers licence)
Evidence of any prior marriages ending (if applicable). A decree absolute or death certificate
Proof of name change (if applicable): marriage certificate from a previous marriage. A BDM issued change of name certificate. A deed poll certificate
Depending on your circumstances, I may need to see more identification
We're eloping and don't live near you, are we able to email our notice and I.D documents?
Yes, you can email scanned copies of your I.D documents and your NOIM to me to begin the process within the legally required time. But I MUST sight the original documents at a later date before the marriage takes place.
You can also have your signatures on the NOIM witnessed by another authorised person other than me. There is a list of qualified people at the bottom of the form.
I would much rather do this with you on person the first time we meet. If we cannot meet for some reason you will need to take this step.
Can we get married sooner than one month?
In extenuating circumstances, there are several scenarios where a shortening of notice is possible such as:
Employment or travel commitments
Pre-booked wedding or celebration arrangements
Celebrant error in giving notice
How do we shorten the one-month notice period?
Complete an Application to Shorten Period of Notice of Intent to Marry. Then lodge it with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages along with supporting documents. I cannot solemnise your wedding until the Registry approves your application.
The BDM will apply a fee for this application.
Can I organise a marriage with you from overseas?
Yes, no worries. You can print off a NOIM form from this website and a list of who can witness and sign it with you. This is often consulate staff or a notary public. You can then scan the NOIM form to me, along with scans of your passports and you can consider it lodged. I’ll need to witness your passports in person before the wedding or when you arrive in Australia. You’ll need to bring the original NOIM document for me. Some couples choose to send this document to me via registered post so it’s not forgotten. No Notice: No Wedding- so this is a good plan.
What is the legal talk during the ceremony?
There are a couple of things we need to say to get you hitched. We can discuss how you would like to incorporate these two elements into your ceremony.
The Monitum (celebrant) (ME)
“I am duly authorised by law to solemnise 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 Vows (couple) (YOU)
“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take thee, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded (wife/husband/partner in marriage/spouse)."
We must use your full names in the vows or somewhere else in your ceremony.
So, in summary, you will sign five documents
Notice of Intention to Marry
Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage - (before the ceremony and as close to the ceremony as possible)
Certificate of Marriage - one copy I send to BDM with all the other necessary documents within 14 days of your marriage
Official Certificate of marriage - one copy I keep for my records
Certificate of marriage - your copy - it is important to understand this certificate is a ceremonial only. I will be your applicant and get your legal marriage certificate.
Your official certificate of marriage must be witnessed by two people. It doesn’t matter who they are, as long as they are over 18. We can include this part in the ceremony or at another stage after the wedding.
I’m taking my partner’s name? What name do I sign on the marriage certificates? How do I change my name after the ceremony?
Now for the exciting part.
You will sign your marriage certificates with your current name and usual signature.
To change your name to your spouse’s surname or to hyphenate your surnames, you will need to first get your official certificate of marriage from BDM.
I will lodge the marriage documents to BDM who will then register your marriage. As part of my service, I will take care of obtaining your official marriage certificate and send it to you.
All you need to do then is get copies certified and take them to the relevant authorities to and start changing your name and update your passport. Ooh exciting.
It all sounds a little daunting. Stay calm. I’m here to help and I will take care of it.