To become legally married in Australia, you have to meet a set of requirements, receive marriage education, and then undertake a sequence of steps that involve both paperwork and ceremonial elements.
You and your partner must:
(1) Be over 18 years of age. One partner can be 16-18 years-old but for the marriage to go ahead, there must be permission from the underage person’s parents and by a court order.
(2) Not be related to your partner. Forbidden relationships include ancestors (parents), descendants (children) and siblings (both full and half brothers/sisters). This applies to biological relationships as well as those created through adoption.
(3) Not be currently married. Your marital status must be either, never validly married, widowed or divorced. You cannot be married twice to the same person. The second ceremony must be a commitment ceremony rather than a legal wedding.
(4) Consent to be married. You and your partner must understand and agree to the legal, social and emotional aspects of a marriage contract. It is worth noting that consent can not be given if you are drunk or high on your wedding day.
Compulsory Information & Support
You are legally required to read the government’s latest brochure regarding marriage. You can find the current version here: Happily Ever Before & After.
Your authorised marriage celebrant will also provide you with details on couple’s counselling services in your area to support you throughout your marriage.
Before the Marriage – The NOIM
At least one month (and up to 18 months) before the marriage, you and your partner must fill in a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) and lodge it with your authorised marriage celebrant. This document requires supporting evidence for each party’s date and place of birth, identity (passport or birth certificate + photo ID), and the termination of the last previous marriage (divorce certificate, death certificate or nullity).
Before the Marriage – Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage
As close as possible to the ceremony, you and your partner must sign a Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage to declare you are of marriageable age, not in a prohibited relationship and not married to another person. This document is printed on the reverse side of the official marriage certificate you will sign on your wedding day.
The Wedding Ceremony
The compulsory parts of the wedding ceremony must be completed in the presence of an authorised marriage celebrant, the couple and two witnesses over the age of 18.
The celebrant must say the Monitum:
My name is [Celebrant], and 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.
Both parties must say the compulsory vows:
I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, [full name], take thee, [full name], to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/spouse.
The celebrant, couple and witnesses must sign two copies of the official marriage certificate and one copy of the presentation certificate (Form 15).
All the other components you choose to include in your ceremony are completely up to you. You can be given away, say “I do’s”, exchange rings and include personal vows, readings, stories and songs — whatever expresses the personal touches you want for your wedding day, but none of these things are necessary for a legal wedding.
Your authorized marriage celebrant must lodge your NOIM, Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage, and official marriage certificate with Births, Deaths & Marriages within 14 days of your wedding.
- 18 years or over
- No prohibited relationship
- Not married to another person
- Information brochure
- NOIM (with evidence)
- Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage
- Monitum (authorised marriage celebrant)
- Legal Vows (both parties)
- Signed Certificates (including witnesses)
- Lodged with BDM