There are very specific requirements you must satisfy to legally marry in Australia and it is your celebrant's role to properly advise and ensure you comply. I can fully explain the legalities of marrying in Australia and make sure you satisfy all legal requirements.
You must be at least 18 years of age at the time of the wedding unless you have a court order and parental consent for one party aged between 16 and 18 to marry. If both parties are under 18 you cannot legally marry.
2. Previously married
You must not be married to someone else and if previously married, you must provide evidence of the end of that marriage - death certificate or divorce order.
3. Related parties
You cannot marry a related party being a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister (including half-brother/sister, adopted sibling).
4. Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM)
You must give written notice of your intention to marry to your celebrant at least one month before the wedding but no more than 18 months beforehand. The form is referred to as the NOIM and I will provide the form and help you complete it. The NOIM can be completed and witnessed overseas and I will advise you on how this can be done. If there is less than one month before your wedding you can apply to shorten this period but it is only granted in very specific circumstances which we can discuss.
5. Date & place of birth
You must provide evidence of your dates and places of birth - birth certificate or passport. If neither available I can advise on what you need to do.
6. Your identity
You must provide evidence of your identity by photo identification - passport or driver's licence - but if neither I will advise on what you need to do.
7. Ceremony wording
My role is to help you create your dream wedding by designing a unique and personal wedding script. However, there are components and "specific words" that must be included with no exception for your wedding to be legally binding. My Information Booklet details that wording.
8. Declaration of no legal impediment to marriage
You must both sign this declaration form where you declare that you believe you are of marriageable age and there is no legal impediment to your marriage. I will provide this form and it is usually signed as close as possible to the wedding ceremony (often at the rehearsal).
9. Wedding certificates
During your wedding, you must sign three marriage certificates. Each certificate is signed by you, the celebrant and two witnesses (each of whom must be 18 years or older). You will be given one of the certificates at the ceremony, however, this certificate is commemorative only and cannot be used for official purposes such as change of name, applying for a passport. For you to obtain an "official marriage certificate" you must apply to the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages in the State or Territory where your wedding was celebrated. As part of my service I will prepare the application on your behalf and as my gift to you, I will pay the Registry's application fee (currently in Queensland the fee is $49.50).
It is my responsibility to register the marriage with the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages in the State or Territory where your wedding took place.
You do not have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to legally marry here. If you marry an Australian citizen you do not have an automatic right to Australian citizenship. You will need to apply for citizenship and satisfy the eligibility criteria. You can find marriage visa information on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website at www.immi.gov.au.
12. Getting married overseas
A marriage celebrant registered in Australia can only perform legal marriages in Australia and not overseas.
An overseas marriage cannot be registered in Australia and the foreign marriage certificate will be evidence the marriage has occurred. If you do marry overseas you cannot have a second wedding in Australia but you can have a Renewal of Wedding Vows.
13. Changing your name
You may choose to take your spouse's name but you are not legally required to change your name. If you wish to take your spouse's surname you need an official marriage certificate (see question 9) and this is usually sufficient evidence to have your personal documents such as driver's licence changed to your married name.
14. Making a will
Marriage will invalidate any previous wills unless your will clearly states you were planning this marriage when you made the will. It is important you make a new will when your personal circumstances change. A solicitor can help you make or change a will.