What does a marriage celebrant do?
An Authorised Marriage Celebrant is able to solemnise your marriage (make it legally recognised). A Commonwealth-registered (authorised) marriage celebrant may solemnise marriages anywhere in Australia including outside the State or Territory in which they reside. Most Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants solemnise civil ceremonies. Authorised marriage celebrants are able to guide you through the legal requirements under the Marriage Act 1961 for you to legally marry in Australia.
Celebrants also write your ceremony, help with ceremony ideas, give advice on what works in a ceremony, attend a rehearsal, performs the ceremony and registers your marriage with the Registrar of the relevant state / Territory Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Celebrants do ongoing professional development each year and are bound by a code of practice.
What documents and identification do i need to provide the celebrant?
• Evidence of date and place of birth eg. original birth certificate or birth extract, passport
• Photographic evidence of identity eg. Driver licence, passport, proof of age card
• Evidence of the end of any previous marriage/s eg. divorce certificate, death certificate
It is ideal that I sight this evidence at the time of lodging the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with me (the celebrant).
The original documents must be sighted by the celebrant. Scanned or faxed copies are able to be accepted at the time of NOIM lodgement (for the purpose of meeting the lodgement time frame), though originals must be provided prior to the ceremony.
In some exceptional cases a Statutory Declaration may be acceptable. You can discuss this with me if you can not provide the above.
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 an accredited translator. See for information on translation.
How much notice must be given to be married in Australia?
Section 42 of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) requires the parties to an intended marriage to give the authorised celebrant at least one month’s written notice prior to the solemnisation of the marriage. This notice is known as the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM).
The NOIM must be given to the authorised celebrant no earlier than 18 months and no later than one month before the date of the marriage.
A notice expires after 18 months, and a marriage may not be solemnised if the NOIM was received more than 18 months before the date of the proposed marriage.
What if I want to get married within the next month?
You can apply to a prescribed authority for a ‘shortening of time’. If approved your celebrant can be given authorisation to solemnise your marriage despite not meeting the require one month lodgement.
A list of prescribed authorities is published on the Attorney-General’s Department website.
What circumstance will the prescribed authority consider a shortening of time?
These are limited to:
• employment related or other travel commitments
• wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
• medical reasons
• legal proceedings, or
• an error in giving notice.
Do you need to be an Australian citizen to marry in Australia?
No. You can marry in Australia providing you are both over the age of 18 and not legally married. The age of 18 is the 'marriageable age' in Australia. If one of you is over 16 but under 18 years old, and the other is over 18 years old, the person under 18 needs court permission and parental consent. IN some cases the court may order that parental consent is not required. If you are both under 18 you cannot marry.
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 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.
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 willing person can act as a witness, even your parents or the photographer. The witnesses will need to sign documentation which forms part of the legal requirements of a valid marriage.
The Celebrant cannot act as a witness.
How do the changes to the Marriage Act affect same sex couples?
On 9 December 2017, the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 commenced. The Act changed the definition of marriage to provide for marriage equality in Australia. The right to marry in Australia is no longer determined by sex or gender. Further information is available on the Attorney Generals Marriage equality in Australia page.