Are you an overseas couple planning your dream destination wedding in Australia? How do you ensure that your wedding is legal both in Australia and at home?
If you are planning your destination wedding in Australia, it is important to understand the legal requirements to ensure that your marriage is legal.
The Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department website states that to be legally married in Australia, a man and woman must:
- not be married to someone else
- not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister
- be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between 16 and 18 years old
- understand what marriage means and freely consent to becoming husband and wife
- use specific words during the ceremony
- give written notice of their intention to marry to their authorised celebrant, within the required time frame.
You don't have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to legally marry here.
Important paperwork - Notice of Intended Marriage:
- A completed Notice of Intended Marriage Form must be given to your celebrant at least one month before the wedding. You can give it to your celebrant up to 18 months beforehand.
- Your celebrant or wedding planner can help you complete the form. The notice may be completed and witnessed outside Australia if required.
- Talk to your celebrant if there is less than one month before your wedding. A prescribed authority may approve a shorter notice time in some limited circumstances.
- You will need to give your celebrant evidence of date and place of birth, identity and the end of any previous marriages for each party. Your celebrant may also ask you to complete a statutory declaration to support your evidence.
After you are married:
On the day of your wedding, you will sign three marriage certificates. Each certificate should be signed by you, your celebrant and two witnesses. Your celebrant will give you one of the certificates as a record of your marriage.
Your celebrant must register your marriage with the registry of births, deaths and marriages in the state or territory it took place within 14 days.
The certificate issued by the registry of births, deaths and marriages is required for many official purposes. You should apply for a copy of this certificate from the registry after your wedding through the relevant births, deaths and marriages.
Alternatively, your Celebrant or wedding planner (with your consent) may be able to assist in the application for the certified copy of the marriage certificate.
Planning your legal marriage in Australia:
Australian Dream Weddings specialises in assisting couples from all over the world, dreaming of a romantic, unique and beautiful wedding in Australia.
We can assist you with all of the legal requirements to marry in Australia.
Here are some of our Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need to be an Australian Citizen to marry in Australia?
No. Anyone may be legally married in Australia providing you are both over the age of 18 and not already legally married.
You don't have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to legally marry in Australia.
What legal documents are required to get married in Australia?
Australian Marriage Law states that your celebrant or religious minister must receive the following documents at least one month prior and no more than 18 months prior to your wedding day:
- Original Signed and Witnessed Notice of Intended Marriage Form
- Copies of full birth certificates
- Copies of Passports (if born outside Australia)
- Copies of Divorce Papers (Decree Absolute, if applicable)
- Copy of Death Certificate (if applicable)
- Copies of any change of name by Deed Poll (if applicable)
Which documents will I need to bring with me to Australia?
You will need to bring your original birth certificates, passports, and if applicable your divorce decrees, death certificate and Deed Poll of any change of name.
Can we use legal documents that are in another language?
No, all documents in another language must be accompanied by certified translations in English.
Do we need to be in Australia or have lived in Australia for any amount of time before we can get married?
No. As long as you have lodged your Notice of Intended Marriage form and other required documents with your Celebrant, you may marry the day that you arrive in Australia. Although we recommend arriving a day or two before so that you can relax and meet with your wedding coordinator prior to your big day.
How many witnesses do we need?
Two witnesses who are over the age of 18 are required to be present at your marriage ceremony and sign the marriage certificates. Any person may act as a witness except the celebrant or religious minister.
Can I get married anywhere in Australia?
Yes, outside weddings are very popular in Australia. You may get married on most beaches, gardens and parklands. Australian Dream Weddings will make the required application with Council and pay any required location fees. We will also arrange an authorised wedding celebrant or civil marriage celebrant to perform your wedding ceremony outside of a church or synagogue.
Will my marriage be legal in my home country?
Yes, your marriage will be legally binding and recognised both in Australia and outside Australia. We organise weddings for couples from all over the world and all of these marriages are legal, regardless of where you decide to live after your wedding.
On the wedding day, after the ceremony, both the Bride & Groom sign the Certificate of Marriage which is witnessed by two people who are present, and also by the religious minister / celebrant.
You get to keep this copy of the Certificate of Marriage which is called the ‘Bride’s Copy’. The religious minister / celebrant then registers your marriage with the Registry Office of Births, Deaths & Marriages in the state that you were married, along with an application for the certified copy of the Marriage Certificate. This is the legal document and it will be sent to you by Registered mail approximately eight weeks after your wedding.
Some European countries require an 'Apostille' stamp on the certified copy of the marriage certificate. This is an official stamp from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Once we receive the certified Marriage Certificate, we will send it to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with an application for the Apostille. This usually takes an extra two weeks and an application fee applies.
Please note that some countries government authorities require you to register your marriage in your own country and you will require the certified copy of the Marriage Certificate to do this. You will need to confirm this with your own government authorities which records marriages in your country.
Can we remarry in Australia if we have already been married in another country?
No, you may not be legally married in Australia if you are already married, however you may arrange a Renewal of Vows or Commitment ceremony.
Are same sex marriages recognised in Australia?
Yes, on the 9th December 2017, same sex marriage was legalised in Australia.
Contact Australian Dream Weddings now to plan your legal marriage in Australia.