Legal Requirements

As an Authorised Marriage Celebrant, appointed by the Australian Attorney General’s Department. I conduct wedding ceremonies anywhere in Australia; including its offshore territories, in accordance with the Marriage Act, 1961.

Who can marry?

Any adult who is not already married, regardless of nationality, may be legally married in Australia provided they meet certain criteria:

  1. Both parties over the age of 18 years, or, if one is younger, you must have a court order giving consent.
  2. Cannot be related as siblings (including half-brother & half-sister or adopted siblings), direct descendants or ancestors.
  3. Complete the form: Notice of Intended Marriage (NIM) between 1 and 18 months prior to your wedding.

Your Notice of Intended Marriage, or ‘NIM’

This document must be completed at least one month, and not more than 18 months, before your proposed wedding date. In Australia, aside from an Authorised Marriage Celebrant, your NIM may be witnessed by;  a Justice of the Peace, Solicitor, Barrister, Member of the Australian Federal or State Police or Qualified Medical Practitioner. Outside Australia, this must be witnessed by an Australian Consular official or a Notary Public.

The NIM will remain active for 18 calendar months from the date of submission.

The time may be shortened only in very specific, extenuating circumstances via application to a prescribed authority. A Marriage Celebrant does not hold the authority to grant a shortening of time, yet they can assist in providing information on the process.

Should you be short on time (perhaps 6 or so weeks out from the proposed wedding day) and live some distance away, I am able to accept a scanned copy of the completed & signed NIM by email, with the original sent to me by registered post, or brought with you.

Prior to your wedding day, an Authorised Marriage Celebrant must sight:

  • An original birth certificate or a passport  (Evidence of date/place of birth)
  • Photograph ID documents: driver’s license – or Passport.
  • If previously married and divorced, an original Decree Absolute or Certificate of Divorce.
  • If widowed, an original Death Certificate.
  • An original annulment (stating the dissolution of the marriage) must be shown for countries that do not have a divorce system, such as the Philippines.

Note: Should the documents not be in English, they must be translated by a NATI certified translator.

It is the couple’s responsibility to provide all documentation required by law. Under the Marriage Act 1961, the couple must meet these obligations prior to any marriage ceremony being solomnised. Thus, in the event that I have not sighted all required documentation prior to the day of the wedding, the ceremony CANNOT proceed.   

The Marriage Act 1961 requires that certain statements are included in your ceremony. We will cover this in more detail at our first meeting.

Prior to the wedding day

Both partners are required to complete a No Impediment to Marriage declaration stating they are free to marry prior to the wedding.  This is a legal document and (under Section 11 of the Statutory Declaration Act 1959) it is an offence to make false statements. This can be done at your rehearsal, or a week or so before the wedding.

On your wedding day

You will need two witnesses, over the age of 18 years.

The ceremony concludes with you and two witnesses signing three documents:

  • Marriage Register,
  • Official Marriage Certificate,
  • Marriage Certificate  – this is presented to you at the conclusion of the ceremony.

For overseas couples wishing to marry in Australia:

A completed Notice of Intended Marriage must be witnessed at the Australian Embassy or Consulate in your country or by a Notary Public. It must be lodged with your celebrant at least one calendar month before the proposed wedding day, yet no longer than 18 months prior.

In some European countries, you may need an Authentication/Apostille Stamp on your marriage certificate to register your marriage in your home country.

Making sure you have fulfilled your legal requirements well beforehand means you can wake up on the morning of your wedding excited, and stress-free!  

Misha Harding – Tie the Knot Mudgee