Legal Marriages – Australia
The Marriage Act 1961 and the Marriage Regulations set out the requirements for legal marriages in Australia. This legislation states that an authorised marriage celebrant performs a marriage ceremony.
Glenda J Ashleigh, Authorised Marriage Celebrant
I am an authorised, Commonwealth-registered Marriage Celebrant (CMC) and perform legal marriages. My wedding ceremonies ensure that your marriage is valid.
I also observe the requirements of Copyright in ceremonies as well as a range of Fair Trading, and Workplace Health and Safety legislative requirements.
As a member of The Australian Marriage Celebrants Association Inc. I follow this association’s Code of Ethics which supports the Commonwealth Code of Practice for Marriage Celebrants.
The Right Questions and Answers about Legal Marriages
What legal documents do I need before I get married?
Requirements for legal marriages include producing official certificates. You apply for certified copies (issued by the registering authorities) of official certificates. Go to the Resources and Links page for web sites of Australian registering authorities.
Note: All documents must be in English, or have attached to them a certified English translation.
- Main legal identification (ID) document. This is either your Birth Certificate or Passport.
- Another legal identification (ID) document showing your photograph and your date of birth, eg a Driver’s Licence or Proof of Age Card.
- Legal Divorce Certificate/Death Certificate of previous spouse (husband/wife) if previously married.
- Change of Name Documents if name previously changed by legal action.
When is the wedding ceremony booking confirmed?
You confirm your wedding ceremony booking with me when I receive the Notice of Intended Marriage, and you accept the Conditions of Service, and I receive the booking fee of $200. The total quoted price for your ceremony includes this booking fee.
I need your Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month before the ceremony date according to legal marriage requirements, to begin the legal process.
Are you in a hurry? You can apply for a shortening of time once you have lodged the Notice of Intended Marriage with me.
What happens after the wedding ceremony booking is confirmed?
We create the ceremony that is right for you! We communicate by e-mail (unlimited) and phone to craft a wedding ceremony of your choice. Everyone has different ideas about their ceremony and no two ceremonies are the same.
When are the wedding ceremony arrangements finalised?
We meet prior to the ceremony to finalise arrangements. I witness both of your signatures on the Statutory Declarations. These Declarations appear on the back of the Marriage Certificate. Finally, we agree on the ceremony format and arrangements for your ceremony in accordance with the agreed Terms & Conditions of Service.
What legal documents are signed at the wedding ceremony?
The bride, groom, two witnesses and celebrant sign three (3) marriage certificates. These are: the Marriage Register, the Official Marriage Certificate (on the back of which are the previously signed statutory declarations), and the ‘presentation or ceremonial’ Marriage Certificate.
Do we need in Interpreter at the Ceremony?
The law requires an interpreter to translate the ceremony for either the Bride or Groom where either or both do not speak English. The interpreter signs a Statutory Declaration before the ceremony and a Certificate of Translation following the ceremony.
What certificate do we receive at the wedding?
At the wedding, you receive Form 15, the ‘presentation’ or ‘ceremonial’ Marriage Certificate. This certificate shows my full name and marriage celebrant authorisation, Bride’s full name, Groom’s full name, address of the ceremony, and date of the ceremony. The Bride, Groom, two Witnesses, and myself sign it and it is a legal document that is evidence of the marriage.
Note: The ‘presentation or ceremonial’ Marriage Certificate is not an Identification Document (ID) as it does not contain any personal information such as your birth date or other information that identifies you personally. Apply to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry in the State/Territory in which the marriage ceremony took place for a certified copy of the Official Marriage Certificate. This document has all your personal details and is accepted as a legal Identification Document.
When will the marriage be registered?
As your Celebrant, I lodge the completed official documentation with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State/Territory in which you marry. I lodge all documentation no later than the next business day following the ceremony. According to the law, I must lodge all documentation with the Registry within 14 days of the ceremony date. The Registry staff process and register the marriage documentation.
How do I change my surname/family name after marriage?
The law does not require you to change your name when you marry. Your identity is the same as it was before your marriage.
You can use your spouse’s (husband/wife) surname/family name, or any other name. This is lawful, providing you do not set out to defraud or mislead anyone.
Change Name by Repute
You can change your name of repute (reputation). After you marry, inform people that you wish to be known by a different surname/family name. Purchase a certified copy of the Official Marriage Certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State/Territory in which you marry. Institutions and agencies such as banks, insurance companies, etc, usually require you to show this certified copy of the Official Marriage Certificate to support a change of name.
Change Name by Legal Process
Apply to the Births, Deaths and Marriages in the Australian State/Territory in which you were born to change your name by legal process. Either purchase a Certified Copy of your Birth Certificate showing a notation of your new name, or apply for a Change of Name Certificate.
Who do I need to inform after I am married?
You change your legal status when you marry. Consequently, you are no longer a single person. You are now a person in a legally-recognised relationship, that of marriage. The Australian Electoral Commission and The Australian Taxation Office are Commonwealth Government agencies that you must inform about your new legal status as soon as possible after your marriage.