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Getting Married

Before a marriage ceremony can be solemnised, the bride and groom must decide where the marriage will take place and whether the ceremony will be a religious or civil event. Both forms of ceremony performed by an authorised marriage celebrant are recognised as legal marriages under Australian law.

A Notice of Intended Marriage must be completed and lodged with the celebrant who is performing the ceremony at least one calendar month, but no more than 18 months, before the preferred date of marriage. The Notice of Intended Marriage form is available from the proposed celebrant. 

The marriageable age in Australia is 18 years for both men and women. Persons who wish to be married and are under 18 years of age should contact the Registry or their celebrant for further information regarding the legal requirements. 

The bride and groom must show the proposed celebrant documentary proof that they are 18 years old or older. That evidence must be a birth certificate or passport. The celebrant may also need to see a driver’s licence or other identification to support the information given on the Notice of Intended Marriage form.

If either person has been married before, that person must show the celebrant proof that they are free to remarry. That proof is usually a Certificate of Divorce or a death certificate.

All documents not in English require translation into English by an accredited translator (NAATI accredited).

Same-sex marriage

On 15 November 2017 the results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey indicated support for the introduction of legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry in Australia.

The current requirements, as set out in the Marriage Act 1961, remain in place until new legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Australia is passed by the Commonwealth.

The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and all other marriage celebrants are unable to accept a Notice of Intended Marriage Form from same-sex couples in anticipation of new marriage laws.

Further information can be found on the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department website.

Last updated: 17-Nov-2017

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