The legal requirements to be married in Australia
Today Equally Wed’s Preferred Vendor Brisbane City Celebrants is sharing their knowledge on what is actually legally required for a wedding ceremony in Australia, and you’ll probably agree it’s a lot less than you think! Plus they are giving is the low down on ‘Legals Only’ weddings.
When can my wedding take place?
It’s important to note that your marriage can take place one calendar month from the date you lodge your signed and witnessed Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with your celebrant.
What legal wording must be included to be validly married in Australia?
A marriage must include:
– The celebrant to state their name and that they are an authorized celebrant – The celebrant must state the mandatory wording known as the ‘Monitum’
“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 now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
– The following mandatory vows (or an acceptable variation of) must be stated by each party to one another: I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take thee, C. D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband, or spouse).
And dah dah – we’ve covered it! That is all that actually needs to be said before you can sign the marriage paperwork. Of course, you may like to exchange rings, say “I Do” and share your own personalised vows or even share a little of your love story, but those are all entirely optional.
What is involved with signing paperwork?
The purpose of signing marriage certificates is to officially record/document that your marriage has taken place. You are actually legally married once the above words have been stated, before you sit down and sign the following three official documents. Two witnesses are required to officially witness your marriage. They need to be over the age of 18 and of sound mind (e.g. not drunk – the Attorney General’s rules, not the celebrants!)
Your celebrant will provide you with the following 3 documents to sign, these are usually already pre-completed with all your details so it’s just each of your signatures, followed by your witnesses’ signatures that are required.
- Official Certificate of Marriage – To be submitted by your celebrant to the office of BDM (Births, Deaths and Marriages) in the state where your marriage took place.
- Official Certificate of Marriage – Identical to the above, this one is the celebrant’s copy to keep and archive.
- Presentation Certificate – This is your keepsake certificate that you will be given to take with you on the day.
What is a ‘Legals Only Wedding?
A Legals Only wedding is a term used to reference a wedding consisting of only the legal
requirements described above, often chosen by couples that simply want to be married without
having a traditional wedding ceremony with all the bells and whistles. Legals Only weddings
are perfect for:
– Couples that are having their ‘wedding’ overseas but would like the legalities of their
marriage to take place in Australia to simplify the process of their overseas ‘wedding’
(commitment ceremony) and to ease the process of having their marriage recognized in
Australia and changing their last name through marriage.
– Anyone that would like to simply be married without the bells and whistles of a wedding or a
– Couples who would like to be married on the quiet, and perhaps announce their news to their
friends and family at a later date.
– Couples who are bringing their planned marriage date forward, so they would like to be
married as soon as possible (e.g. due to pregnancy or a sick family member)
– Couples that would love to simply be married and are in need of a budget wedding option,
perhaps with the intent to have a vow renewal ceremony and celebration a few years down the
track. The Brisbane City Celebrants, Cara and Jamie, offer both ‘Legals Only’ weddings and full
If you are planning to wed in the Brisbane area, you can contact Brisbane City Celebrants for
Real Wedding shots by Studio Impressions Photography