Your wedding will be a day to remember for the rest of your life, so make it a wonderful occasion!
It sounds simple – just say your vows and sign some forms, then you are married and can celebrate the beginning of a life together. The legal requirements on the day can take just a few minutes.
Only in the movies is a wedding as simple as this! The legalities for your wedding actually start at least a month (and no more than 18 months) before the big day. One month is the minimum notice you are legally required to give before you can get married. And it all starts with the Notice of Intended Marriage, known as the NOIM (Form 13).
Weddings are automatically R18+
Weddings are R-rated in Australia. Not for the guests who can be any age, but for the couple intending to marry. Marriage in Australia is illegal if you are under the age of 18, unless there are special circumstances legally approved by a judge or magistrate.
Once you are 18 you are legally an adult and you can download your NOIM from the registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, or contact your chosen marriage celebrant and they will provide one for you to sign when they meet you person.
Signing the NOIM has certain requirements and documentation is needed for proof of identity.
BEFORE signing the NOIM
As well as booking a date for your wedding, you both need to get together the documents you will need. These must be sighted and verified by the celebrant or other official witness (such as a Justice of the Peace), at the time of the signing of the NOIM.
What you both need:
- Your birth certificates.
- Your official papers – If one or other of you has been married before you will need to show divorce papers or nullity order, or death certificate.
- Your passports, drivers licence, or photo ID card for proof of age.
- Name and date of birth of any children from any previous marriage.
- Your parents’ full names and birthplaces.
SIGNING the NOIM
You must both be present with the celebrant or official witness so once you have the paperwork requirements, you can make an appointment at least one month (and no longer than 18 months) before the planned wedding date, to meet the celebrant and complete the signing.
AFTER signing the NOIM
Once you have signed the NOIM you can use the one-month waiting period to complete the arrangements for your wedding and countdown to the date.
Set up your Gift Card Registry
Contact Gift Card Registry to set up your online registry before the big day and let your guests know you would prefer them to contribute to the registry, rather than buy a gift. They will appreciate the idea of gift-giving the easy way! With a prepaid gift card you can buy just what you want to start your married life. Visit the website at giftcardregistry.com.au to find out more, or phone 1300 354 632.
On your wedding day
Your wedding can be as elaborate or as simple as you like! The legal requirements are minimal, and are usually included as part of your own personalised ceremony. Here’s what is legally required, everything else is up to you!
Who is legally required to be present?
- You and your partner
- The authorised celebrant
- Two witnesses aged over 18.
What legally needs to be said?
There are many and varied versions of the ceremony, but the key legal components are:
- The registered marriage celebrant introduces themselves and states their authority to perform the ceremony.
- The celebrant reminds everyone of the ‘solemn and binding nature of the marriage relationship’.
- The couple say their vows to each other. You can write the vows yourselves, but they should include wording along the lines of:
I call upon the people here present to witness that I, [full name] take you, [full name] to be my legally wedded husband/wife/spouse from this time onward.
- The marriage celebrant then declares the couple to be married.
What legally needs to be signed?
Signing of the legal paperwork must be completed by the celebrant, the married couple and the two witnesses. The forms may be downloaded and printed from the Attorney General’s website, with the exception of Form 15, the Certificate of Marriage. The forms are:
- Form 14: DECLARATION OF NO LEGAL IMPEDIMENT TO MARRIAGE. Each party must declare before the authorised celebrant as to their conjugal status and belief that there is no legal impediment to the marriage.
- Form 15: OFFICIAL CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE. Given to the couple. This certificate can only be provided by an authorised celebrant.
- Form 16: OFFICIAL CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE. This certificate must be lodged by the celebrant at the Births, Deaths and Marriages registry within 14 days.
What is the legal status after the ceremony?
Congratulations, you are officially married and have nationwide legal recognition of your status as a married couple. Enjoy your future together!
Attorney General’s Department. Getting married.