What Makes Your Marriage Legal?
Questions about any aspect of your ceremony can be answered by authorised professional celebrants at the Celebrants Centre. Contact us at any time for assistance.
There are a number of papers that need to be completed in order to ensure the recognition and registration of your marriage. The Marriage Act 1961 also requires that certain passages and vows be spoken.
Notice of Intended Marriage
The first paper you need to complete is the Notice of Intended Marriage, your celebrant may provide you with a copy or you can down-load one from the Attorney Generals Department. The form must be completed and lodged with a celebrant at least one calendar month prior to the wedding and no earlier than 18 months before the wedding date.
Proof of Identity and Marital Status
If you were born in Australia, you must provide the celebrant with an original Birth Certificate or Extract of Birth. If you were born outside Australia, birth certificates or passports are acceptable.
If you have been divorced, or your previous partner died, you need proof of the dissolution of the marriage, or a copy of the death certificate. This is most important. You cannot be married unless this proof is provided to the Celebrant before your wedding day. Bigamy is a crime in Australia.
The Celebrant does not need to see a certificate of residence. Tourists visiting Australia may get married here, and frequently do, because of the high standard of secular ceremonies in this country.
Prior to the ceremony, usually at the rehearsal, you will need to complete a declaration stating that there are no impediments to your marriage.
Monitum and Vows
During the ceremony, the Marriage Act makes provision for the celebrant to say the words of the Monitum to the Marriage Act, this is required by this law. The second part of the law involves the vows, and the words ‘I call upon the persons here present to witness that I (bride or groom full name) take you (same) to be my lawful wedded wife/husband’ must be said by the bride and groom. This is the interpretation of the relevant passages in the Act by the present Registrar of the Marriage Celebrants section of the Attorney-Generals department.
Signing of the Certificates
After the ceremony, the certificate of marriage for the Births Deaths and Marriages register is signed along with the Couple’s Certificate that you keep. The couples certificate has an identifying number on it. This number is recorded by the celebrant and is provided to the Attorney Generals Department.
Completing the Registration
The Celebrant is required by the Marriage Act and Regulations to send the completed forms to the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages in the state in which you were married, within 14 days of the marriage ceremony. This means that if you are a Victorian couple and you get married in Queensland, your celebrant will register the marriage in Queensland, not Victoria.