Are you dreaming of a wedding down-under? Fancy marrying on the beaches of Bondi, or within the lush tropical forests of Queensland? Whatever your vision, you may be wondering ‘What do I need to do to marry in Australia?’
WHO CAN MARRY IN AUSTRALIA?
No matter if you’re an Australian citizen living overseas or a non-Aussie, the process is still the same. Anyone can marry on Aussie soil, and many non-Aussies do. The only real restrictions are you:
- can’t be married to someone else
- must not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister
- must be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between 16 and 18 years old
- understand what marriage means and freely consent to marrying
- both use specific words during the ceremony
- must give written notice of their intention to marry to their authorised celebrant, within the required time frame
WHAT’S A CELEBrANT, AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
In Australia, a Celebrant is a suitably qualified and registered person who solemnises marriages under the Marriage Act 1961 and Marriage Regulations 2017.
They conduct the legal elements of your ceremony, and some (like myself) work with you to write and deliver something very unique and specific to your likes and vision for your wedding. Celebrants can be described as a party-starter, a story-teller, a calming influence, and, quite often, by the time you’re married, they can feel like a friend.
Marriage celebrants must also submit all the signed legal marriage paperwork to the registry of births, deaths and marriages in the state or territory in which the marriage took place within fourteen days of the marriage.
Once they have done this, you can then get your Marriage Certificate from that BDM. Your Celebrant can give you advice on this.
YAY! You CAN GET MARRIED IN AUSTRALIA. WHAT NOW?
You’ll need to decide where and when you’d like to marry. There are Celebrants in nearly all cities and some towns in Australia, and many of us travel. Australia is a big country, and it’s not unusual for me to jump in my car on the weekend for a round trip of three or four hours.
If you’re not 100% sure of specific places, you may want to talk to an Australian wedding planner, use Instagram for inspo, or have a chat to me as I can offer suggestions for places which may fit your vision.
You’ll also need to organise your Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM). This needs to be submitted to your Celebrant in Australia at least one month before your ceremony date.
WHAT’S A NOIM AND WHERE CAN I GET ONE?
To marry in Australia, you need to submit a document called the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with your Celebrant at least one month, but no more than 18 months, before you marry. This document is basically stating that you intend to marry, and once it’s submitted with you Celebrant, they will keep hold of this until after the wedding. They’ll send this, along with the paperwork which will be signed on your wedding day, to the Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State or Territory where you marry.
So, chances are, you will be filling this out before you travel over to Australia for your wedding.
You can find a NOIM and guidance here
WHO CAN WITNESS THE NOIM?
- If a party signs the Notice outside Australia, it needs to be signed by an Australian Consular Officer, an Australian Diplomatic Officer, a notary public, an employee of the Commonwealth authorised under paragraph 3(c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955, or an employee of the Australian Trade Commission authorised under paragraph 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955.
OKAY, I’VE GOT IT SIGNED. WHAT DO I DO WITH THE NOIM?
When I work with a couple from afar, I ask them to scan me a copy of the NOIM once it’s signed by a qualified witness. Then they have the option of either
a) posting the original NOIM to me
b) handing me the original NOIM when they’re in Australia
I will also need to see a form of ID – as you’re travelling, passports are perfect. If you’ve been married before, I will need to see evidence that this marriage is no longer valid. I can advise on this.
EXCELLENT! PAPERWORK IS ALL IN ORDER. ANYTHING ELSE YOU NEED FROM ME?
All Celebrants work differently. When I work with a couple overseas, I usually suggest a Skype so we can discuss what kind of ceremony you’re looking for. This also gives you a chance to see if I’m the right Celebrant for you. Usually I’ll meet via Skype before you do the NOIM, but some couples will already have this prepared. It’s up to you – I’m flexible and can work with you in the way that works best for you.
If you go for my Full Works package, I’ll then work with you to write a ceremony which really resonates and feels right. I’ve worked in the UK as a Celebrant for a number of years, and understand how weddings there can feel when led by a registrar. In Australia we have a lot more flexibility than registrars though we do all the legal side of things like they do.
Australian weddings can feel very different from those in other countries, and a Celebrant like myself or one of my colleagues at the Celebrant Society can talk you through the hundreds of options to get a top notch ceremony for you and your guests.
THIS ALL SOUNDS GOOD. HOW DO I CONTACT YOU TO CHAt FURTHER?
I’d love to talk to you about all of the above, or anything else wedding-y. Please don’t hesitate to contact me on +61 478041227 or at firstname.lastname@example.org