Legal Requirements for Weddings
Legal Requirements Before You Get Married
To get married in Australia you need to lodge your Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with me no earlier than 18 months and no later than 1 month before the big day. I will also need to sight the following original documents for both parties:
- Birth Certificates (preferable) &/or Passports
- Drivers Licenses
- Should either party have been married previously I will also need to sight the original documentation showing how the marriage ended.
Upon lodgement of your NOIM I will provide you with a brochure called ‘Happily Ever Before and After’ which talks about pre-marriage counselling and other legal matters concerning marriage in Australia.
Prior to, but as close as possible to the actual wedding we also need to complete the ‘Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage’ (which is found on the reverse side of one of the Marriage Certificates we sign following the actual marriage ceremony).
Legal Requirements On Your Wedding Day
First, you will need two (2) people over the age of 18 years to witness your marriage, they can be friends, family or the guy who makes your coffee in the morning. I will need their full legal names and to know that they understand English. After they’ve witnessed your marriage ceremony your witnesses will be required to sign the marriage certificates.
Secondly, whilst it’s minimal, there is legal wording that I must say during the ceremony and in the presence of your witnesses to ensure your marriage is valid. I must identify myself using my legal name, and then explain the current legal nature of the Marriage Relationship in Australia (Monitum) which goes like this:
- “I am duly authorised by law to solemnise 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 a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
After the Monitum, there’s some legal wording that you will need to say to each other:
- “I call upon the people here present to witness that I (insert full legal name) take you, (insert full legal name) to be my lawful wedded wife / husband / spouse”
My couples tend to do this before saying their personal vows to each other (….. I mean ‘read’ their vows to each other. Seriously, it’s very rare for anyone to memorise or say ‘off the cuff’ vows so stop worrying!).
Other than that, the content of the ceremony is completely up to us. That’s when you need an amazing celebrant to make it fun and memorable!
Once the legal wording has been uttered, you are legally married! We then simply need to sign the three (yes 3) Marriage Certificates – you get the pretty one, I keep the one in the big red book and the third one we send to BDM so they can register your marriage.
Legal Requirements After Your Wedding Ceremony
Following the wedding ceremony I must send your paperwork to Births, Deaths & Marriages (BDM) within 14 days so they can register your marriage.
Should you wish to change your name you will need to apply to Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) for an official Marriage Certificate, the current cost in Queensland is approx. $50 and you should receive it 4-6 weeks after submitting the application. Until then you will need to continue using your maiden name (very important when making travel plans for the honeymoon!).