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Legal requirements and procedure for a wedding / marriage in Australia

Signing Marriage Register and the three Certificates

(This is not legal advice)

The usual Legal Routine in brief (includes Same Sex marriages)
1. The couple sign and give the Notice of Intended Marriage to the celebrant. (with proofs of birth, divorce or death where necessary)
2. At the rehearsal (a few days before) the couple sign the Declarations that they are eligble to marry. This is on the back of the main marriage certificate prepared by the celebrant
3. The wedding takes place.
4. At the actual wedding (just after the ceremony), the couple, the celebrant, and the two witnesses sign three marriage certificates - one certificate of marriage is for the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marrriages, a second certificate is kept by the celebrant in his/her Register Book) and a third certificate (the decorative one) is given to the couple.
5. The celebrant registers the marriage with the Government Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state where the marriage took place — within 14 days.

The Notice of Intended Marriage
The Notice of Intended Marriage form must be completed and lodged with a celebrant at least one calendar month prior to the wedding. It cannot be lodged before 18 months of the wedding date.

One party can sign.
If a party to an intended marriage cannot conveniently sign this notice at the time, the other party may sign the notice and give it to the celebrant. It is important to note that the Notice must be given by both parties, even if only one can originally sign it. However in this case, the party who has not signed the Notice must sign it, in the presence of the celebrant, before the marriage is solemnised.

Proof of Birth- Australia
Both parties must produce Proof of Birth, usually a Passport, Birth Certificate or Extract of Birth (Driver's licenses are not acceptable). Statutory Declarations are only acceptable in really unusual circumstances e.g. when there is a "No Record" of birth.

For persons born outside Australia
Birth Certificates or Passports are acceptable. Statutory Declarations are only acceptable in rare circumstances. Download 2005 Statutory Declaration Form in .pdf
Persons who may Witness Commonwealth Statutory Declarations are listed on the back of the Statutory Declaration Form.

Divorce and Death
Proof of the Dissolution of a Previous Marriage (i.e.divorce) (where applicable).
This usually takes the form of a Decree Absolute of Divorce, or Certificate of Divorce (the latest ones) or equivalent - or a full Death Certificate of the widowed party's former spouse.

How old one must be to be married?
Both parties must be 18 years. (very rare exceptions.)
What are the rare exceptions?
If one party is between 16 and 18 years a Judge or Magistrate (with the Parents Consent - exceptions), can issue a Court Order permitting the Marriage. It is rarely given.

Does a celebrant have to see proof of residence?
No. Tourists visiting Australia may get married here, and frequently do, because of the high standard of secular ceremonies in this country.

For information re Immigration
E.g applying for entry into Australia under the prospective marriage (fiancé) plan
or the Partner plan. See

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For further advice ring Yvonne on 1300 446 786 or email