Getting Married in Australia: Marriage Certificates and Legal Documentation

There are a lot of things to organise when planning a wedding and one of the most important and sometimes forgotten is that of your marriage certificate.

To guarantee you know what you need to do to ensure your marriage is legally recognised we’re detailing the not so fun side of how to get married in Australia below.

bride and groom holding hands after getting married in australia

In Australia it is the responsibility of the states to regulate the registration of marriages. Every state and territory will have its own marriage registry and will require you to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage form. This form has to then be lodged with the wedding celebrants or minister who will be performing the marriage. The Notice of Intended Marriage form has to be lodged at least one month before your wedding date and no earlier than 18 months in advance.

The Notice of Intended Marriage form can be downloaded online or provided to you by the minister or celebrant who will be performing your marriage. Your marriage celebrant can assist you in filling out this form if you are unsure.

bride and groom signing marriage certificate

In submitting your form your marriage celebrant will also need evidence of your date and place of birth, identity and that any previous marriages have legally ended. Your celebrant may ask you to complete a statutory declaration to support the evidence you have provided.

Your wedding can only legally be performed by an authorised marriage celebrant. There are three types of celebrants available in Australia.

–          Commonwealth registered marriage celebrants (perform religious and civil ceremonies)

–          Ministers of Religion

–      State Officials who perform civil ceremonies. This includes some staff at births, deaths and registries and some regional courts.

groom signing wedding certificate at ceremony for marriage registry

During your wedding ceremony you and your fiancé will sign three marriage certificates. Each marriage certificate will need to be signed by you, your celebrant and two witnesses. The role of your two witnesses is usually filled by members of your bridal party most commonly the Maid of Honour and Best Man. Your celebrant will provide you with one of the three certificates as a record of your marriage.

Following your wedding it is the responsibility of your celebrant to register your marriage with the registry of births, deaths and marriages in the state or territory where the wedding took place within fourteen days.

The registry of births, deaths and marriages will then issue you with a certificate which you must request a copy of. This certificate can be used for a range of official purposes including legally changing your name after getting married in Australia.


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