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Legal Requirements for Marriage

The Attorney-General's Department states that The ceremony should enhance the dignity of the occasion, meet all legal requirements and accommodate the reasonable requests and expectations of the couple marrying. As your authorised marriage celebrant, I am required by the Marriage Act to ensure that all legal requirements are met.

These include:
  • Making sure that the Notice of Intended Marriage is properly completed and witnessed by an appropriate person (which includes marriage celebrants)

  • Making sure that the wedding date is at least a full month after the day that you give me the Notice of Intended Marriage, but not more than 18 months after you give it to me. NB the act of giving the Notice to your celebrant lodges it - and your celebrant then retains the Notice until after the marriage has been solemnised.

  • Making sure that the proper identification documents and documents that prove how any previous marriage ended are shown to me and that they are original documents as issued by an appropriate government authority (JP certified copies are not acceptable).

  • Making sure that you give me official English translations for any documents in another language.

  • Making sure that you make vows to each other in the form required by The Marriage Act.
  • Making sure that two adult witnesses are present for the whole ceremony.
  • Satisfying myself that both of you and both of your witnesses understand the language in which the ceremony is conducted and, if that is in doubt, making sure that an appropriate interpreter is present.
  • Making sure that both of you give real consent to the marriage both in the process leading up to the ceremony and in the ceremony itself. It is not legal in Australia for one party to the marriage (that is, either the bride or the groom) to surprise the other one with a wedding). 

Real consent includes, but is not limited to:

  • Both the bride and groom giving accurate information on the Notice of Intended Marriage. NB errors can be corrected after the Notice is signed, witnessed and lodged, but only in front of your celebrant and both you and the celebrant must initial the corrections.
  • Both the bride and the groom consenting to marrying each other
  • Both the bride and the groom understanding the implications of a marriage solemnised in Australia.
  • Both bride and groom understanding the ceremony itself and the explanations about the documents you are signing, including the declarations before the ceremony and the certificates afterwards.
Therefore:
  • You must not be affected by drugs or alcohol. If I believe that you are affected by either it is against the law for me to continue with the wedding.
  • You must be able to understand what is being said or shown to you. If I am not confident that you understand English sufficiently to fully understand what is being said and the documents you have to sign I must insist that an interpreter is present.
  • If you say or do anything that suggests that your consent is not real it is against the law for me to continue with the wedding.