How to Get Married in Australia
There are many stories about how to get married! Some stories, however, are misleading or just not true. There are different rules and regulations regarding marriage in countries around the world, and it can be very confusing.
As an experienced, authorised Commonwealth-registered Marriage Celebrant I hear many stories and ‘myths’ about how to get married in Australia.
What does an Australian Authorised Marriage Celebrant do?
The rules and regulations for civil or secular wedding ceremonies are the same in all Australian States and Territories. Further, I conduct these wedding ceremonies at any location, at any time, and on any day of the year.
See Marriage Celebrant definition for more information about what a Marriage Celebrant does.
Get the Right Information for How to Get Married in Australia
Here are some Getting Married QA (questions and answers) in Australia that people often ask me.
Who can marry in Australia?
Two people from anywhere in the world may marry in Australia, providing that they meet the legal requirements for marriage.
What are the residency requirements to get married?
There are no residency requirements to marry in Australia. You and your partner can marry on the day you arrive in Australia. If you wish to remain in Australia, ie be a resident, following your marriage, then you must have the relevant visa.
Do we get a Marriage Certificate?
You receive a ‘ceremonial/presentation’ marriage certificate on the day you marry. This is a legal document that is proof of your marriage. However, it is not an ID or personal identification document.
Can we marry a second time in Australia?
If you marry legally in another country you are already married! You cannot marry again in Australia. Choose a Renewal of Vows, Affirmation or Commitment ceremony so that your Australian family and friends can celebrate with you. Although these ceremonies have no legal status, they are great occasions for celebrations!
Can we only marry either at a religious venue or at the Registry Office?
You have a much wider choice! As an authorised Commonwealth-registered Marriage Celebrant, I conduct wedding ceremonies anywhere in Australia and on any day and at any time that is mutually convenient.
Do we attend pre-marriage counselling before we marry?
Your choice. You choose whether or not to participate in any relationship education programs or in counselling prior to your marriage. Relationship education is available in Australia, through both government and non-government agencies. As an authorised Commonwealth-registered Marriage Celebrant, however, I provide you with information regarding relationship education agencies.
Do we have to say certain words?
The only words that the law requires both parties to the marriage to say in a civil or secular ceremony are as follows:
“I, (name of Bride/Groom/Spouse) call upon all persons here present to witness that I take you, (name of Bride/Groom/Spouse) to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/spouse.”
There are some acceptable minor variations to this wording. For example, “call upon” to “ask”; “persons” to “people”; “thee” to “you”.
Do we use our full names in all parts of the marriage ceremony?
You choose whether or not to use only your given names when you make your lawful marriage vows. For example, for a person whose full name is ‘Marion Aly Rose Wickham’, the given names are ‘Marion Aly Rose‘. You may even add a nickname, eg ‘Marion Aly Rose (Max).‘
Where the surname or family name eg ‘Wickham‘ does not appear in the lawful marriage vows, it is mandatory that it appears somewhere else in the ceremony. This is done early in the ceremony and establishes the legal, personal identity of the individuals who make the contract of marriage.
Do we need wedding rings?
There is no requirement to exchange anything, however this is something to think about. You choose whether or not to give or exchange rings, or any other tokens at the wedding ceremony.
Who gives who away?
There is no requirement to give anyone away. It is a personal choice for either of the parties to have someone give them away, accompany or present them at the wedding ceremony.
Do we need a marriage licence?
There is no licence to marry in Australia. You must however, lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage with me as your authorised Celebrant at least one month before the intended date of the wedding ceremony. Are you in a hurry? I assist you with the process for a ‘shortening of time.’ Just ask me about this application. A prescribed authority can shorten this one-month waiting time period under certain circumstances.