What Makes Your Marriage Legal?

There are a number of papers that need to be completed in order to ensure the recognition and registration of your marriage. The Marriage Act 1961 also requires that certain passages and vows be spoken.

Notice of Intended Marriage

The first paper you need to complete is the Notice of Intended Marriage. Your celebrant may provide you with a copy or you can download one from the Attorney General’s Department. The form must be completed and lodged with a celebrant at least one calendar month prior to the wedding, and no earlier than 18 months before the wedding date.

Proof of Identity and Marital Status

If you were born in Australia, you must provide the celebrant with an original Birth Certificate or Extract of Birth. If you were born outside Australia, birth certificates or passports are acceptable.

An Australian Passport is now acceptable.

If you have been divorced, or your previous partner died, you need proof of the dissolution of the marriage, or a copy of the death certificate. This is most important. You cannot be married unless this proof is provided to the Celebrant before your wedding day. Bigamy is a crime in Australia.`

Tourists visiting Australia

may get married here, and frequently do, because of the high standard of secular ceremonies in this country.

The Celebrant does not need to see a certificate of residence.

The Declaration

Prior to the ceremony, usually at the rehearsal, you will need to complete a declaration stating that there are no impediments to your marriage.

Section 46 of the Marriage Act (Monitum) and Vows

During the ceremony, the Marriage Act makes provision for the celebrant to say the words of the Section 46 of the Marriage Act, which is required by this law. The second part of the law involves the vows, and the words ‘I call upon the persons here present to witness that I (bride or groom full name) take you (same) to be my lawful wedded wife/husband’ must be said by the bride and groom

An Australian Passport is not acceptable.


You are required to have two witnesses who are both over the age of 18 present to sign the Marriage Register and Certificates.

Signing of the Certificates

This is done at the time of your ceremony.


, you and your partner should:
* Decide what kind of a wedding ceremony you want – formal, informal, casual, or traditional
* Set the date, time and venue
* Decide what kind of setting you want to marry in
* Find a Celebrant you feel comfortable with and who doesn’t try to impose his/her tastes on you
* Invest a little time planning with your Celebrant what you want to say in your ceremony, to each other and to your guests.