Legal Requirements

Legal Requirements Before Your Ceremony

A marriage ceremony is the only ceremony that is legally binding, and for that reason, there are some legal prerequisites to consider:

  • Both the bride and groom must be over 18 years of age. (Contact your local Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages if you are under the age of 18).
  • Form13, Notice Of Intended Marriage (NoIM) is filled in by the couple and submitted to the celebrant at least one month and one day prior to your marriage. While you can download this form from the Federal Attorneys General website, I also have blank copies of this certificate and can assist you to fill it in correctly.
  • Evidence of birth must be shown to the celebrant – A certified Birth Certificate, showing full particulars of birth (name, date, parents) as issued by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in  your state of birth, for Australian citizens and a Birth Certificate (in English) and/or international passport for those born outside of Australia. A photocopy is not acceptable.
  • Evidence of identity may be required, through use of a current driver’s license or passport, to ascertain identity of both bride and groom.
  • The Federal Attorney General (Australia) is quite clear that the identity of each of the parties to the proposed marriage must be ascertained by your celebrant, so a variety of documents may be required, to prove your current identity and links to the birth certificate. This may also include official ‘change of name’ documents.
  • Evidence of termination of previous marriage – Evidence of termination of marriage through divorce (the registered Decree from the Family Law Court) or death (original Death Certificate), both in English, must be sighted by your celebrant. Photocopy entries, or letters from lawyers, or funeral directors, are not acceptable evidence.
  • Two witnesses, both over 18 years, to attend the ceremony and witness the vows.

Download information brochure for couples intending to marry here

Legal Requirements During Your Ceremony

Within your ceremony, there are paragraphs from the Marriage Act 1961 that must be legally included in the ceremony.

  • The Celebrant’s Monitum, or legal advice and warning, must be within the body of your ceremony. As part of your ceremony, I inform couples and their guests that:My name is Nancy Batenburg. I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
  • Within your wedding vows, the following phrases (or very close words to that effect) must also be included. You can add additional personal vows, but this must be included and said in front of your witnesses:I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, (Groom’s full name) take thee (or you), (Bride’s full name) to be my lawful wedded wife. I call upon the persons here present to witness that I (Bride’s full name) take thee (or  you) (Groom’s full name) to be my lawful wedded husband.
  • During your ceremony you will be called upon to sign your marriage documents, with your witnesses. This is a mandatory stage of your ceremony.At the conclusion of your ceremony, you will be issued with a Ceremonial Marriage Certificate. To change your name officially, you will require the registered and certified copy of your marriage certificate, purchased from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. This may only be purchased once your celebrant has submitted all legal documents (usually within two weeks of your ceremony) and the Registrar has registered your marriage.

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