Posts about the Legal Aspects of Weddings in Australia (the getting married bit)

To be married legally in Australia, you must do everything the Marriage Act requires and do it of your own free will, both before and during the ceremony. I make sure everything is done properly and legally, so as not to create any problems for you down the track. But I"m also committed to  is also important to read between the lines, and to carefully examine all the things that people think are legal requirements, but aren't.

(For Bite-size  how-to posts about completing the legal paperwork See also Tutorials About Getting Married Particularly useful when completing your Notice of Intended Marriage)

Worst Case Scenario

What if your celebrant "forgets" to register your marriage?

Categories:  | Wedding Legals |
Your celebrant is required to submit your marriage details for registration of your marriage within 14 days of your marriage. If they fail to do that, you arestill married. But it might take some effort  to have your marriage registered.... More...

General thoughts about legal weddings

Never Validly Married? What does that mean?

Categories:  | Wedding Legals |
In Australia, in order for any previous marriage to be recognised by the Government, it has to have been a valid marriage. That means it has to have met all the legal requirements. But that may not be as simple as it sounds... More...

What's the Deal with "Solemnise" your Marriage?

Categories:  | Wedding Legals |
In Australia we talk about solemnising your marriage, rather than marrying you. What's the deal with that? Is there a difference?... More...

10 Things we "Know" about Getting Married that Ain't So

Categories: Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning

As Artemus Ward said 'It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so.' In wedding land there are a lot of common beliefs that just aren't true ...  More ...

7 Surprising Facts about Getting Married in Australia

Categories:  | Wedding Legals |Wedding Planning |
Getting married in Australia is easier than many people imagine - here are some little known facts that confirm that. ...  More ...

When are you actually legally married?

Categories:  Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
There are many incorrect assumptions about when in the sequence of the ceremony, the signing, and the registration of their marriage a couple is actually legally married. ...  More ...

Getting married when you don’t identify with a gender

Categories:  Inclusive Wedding | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
Gender is now immaterial when getting married in Australia. When marrying you do not have to use gendered terminology or adhere to gendered role ...    Read on...

Getting Married When You Have a Disability

Categories: Inclusive Weddings   |  Wedding Legals   |
There is no disability or disease that will prevent you getting married in Australia...  More

How to have a Non-Legal Wedding Ceremony

Categories: Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
Getting married and having a wedding can be a two-step process.. ...  More ...

Can You Have Two (or More) Weddings?

Categories: Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
Can you, as a marrying couple, have more than one wedding? The answer is Yes, but also, That Depends... Read on...

When Disaster Strikes - Plan D - How to Get Married Legally When your Venue and your Celebrant are Unreachable

Categories: | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
The one thing that is required to make any Plan B work is the capacity to communicate. When disaster strikes, and communications are cut, even the most detailed and multi-faceted Plan B is useless. So what can you do if you've planned your wedding (and a viable Plan B), and now your venue and your celebrant are within one of the disaster zones ... More ...

Your celebrant - things you need to know

Where does your NOIM (Notice of Intended Marriage) go?

Categories: Celebrant | Wedding Legals |
What does "lodged" mean and what happens to your NOIM (Notice of Intended Marriage) once you have handed it over to your celebrant?  More ...

Is your celebrant duly authorised?

Categories: Celebrant | Wedding Legals |
While scams involving persons who are not authorised celebrants are extremely rare in Australia, now that a celebrant can be deregistered forthwith if he or she fails to pay the annual fee celebrants are now required to pay, it is particularly important to check whether your celebrant is still registered  More ...

9 Things Celebrants are NOT Allowed to Do

Categories: Celebrant   |  Wedding Ceremony  | 
There are  nine things which celebrants cannot do because they are illegal or in breach of the celebrant Code of Practice ...  More

7 Things your Celebrant does NOT need to know ... and 3 things they have to be sure about

Categories: Celebrant  |  Wedding Legals   |
There are certain things that the Marriage Act requires that your celebrant must know in order to make sure your marriage will be lawful. There are also things that they don't need to know... More ...

Could a Tandem Wedding be Your Thing?

Categories: Wedding Ceremony  |  Wedding Legals   |  Wedding Planning  |
A tandem wedding ceremony is one that is officiated by two people, working in concert, but only one of whom is authorised to solemnise legal marriages ...   More

Friend or Professional Celebrant?

Categories: Celebrant | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
Would choosing a friend instead of a professional celebrant to conduct your wedding ceremony be a good option for you?  Everything you need to consider - and how you can have the best of both worlds ...    More ....

Not "Just a Celebrant" (and Not "Just Half an Hour")

Categories: | Celebrant | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
What does a celebrant do? And why do they charge for more than the half hour the ceremony takes? The easy answer is that a celebrant changes your legal status from not-married to married. which is a pretty big thing. Life-changing, in fact. And they do that by creating and performing a ceremony. But it certainly doesn't stop there. When you hire me as a celebrant, you're getting a lot more than someone who will make sure you tick a few legal boxes, stand up in front of your guests, rabbit on for a bit, and then declare that you are married. ... More ...

I Won't Judge You or Your Choices (unless the Law makes me do so)

Categories: Celebrant | Wedding Legals |
There are some things which the law, and my obligations under the law as a Marriage Celebrant, requires me to make judgements about. But there are many things that people fear being judged about that I definitely don't and won't judge you for ...    More ...

The Marriage Act

What Does The Marriage Act Do?

Categories: Wedding Ceremony  |  Wedding Legals   |
The Marriage Act applies to all marriages solemnised in Australia. It lays down the framework, creates offences, and deals with the recognition of foreign marriages ...   More

It's True - Your Marriage Ceremony can be Unstructured! 

Categories: Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
It might surprise you to learn that there is nothing in the Marriage Act that requires that your marriage ceremony has to follow a tightly structured script. As long as you meet the very minimal legal requirements, everything else is optional! ... More ...

Witnesses and Weddings

Categories:  Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
In Australia, no matter whether you marry in church, the registry office, or by a civil celebrant, and no matter whether you have the big white wedding with a large wedding party, or choose just to elope, the one thing that every wedding must have is two witnesses...    More ...

Avoid pre-wedding dramas with a Witness Lottery

Categories:  | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
Because being witness is an honour, not choosing someone who expected to be chosen can cause hurt feelings and a ongoing drama, including broken friendships and family rifts. Sidestep problems by having a witness lottery ....  More ...

Marriage Certificates

The Benefits of Staying Low-Tech for Your Wedding Ceremony

Categories:  |  Wedding Legals  | Wedding Planning  |
Using devices for signing marriage certificates and reading the ceremony can offer several benefits. However, there are also some drawbacks. These drawbacks, in my view, not only outweigh the assumed or perceived environmental benefits, they include compromising a significant emotional element."  More ...

Signing the Register and the Certificates (updated 16/12/2017)

Categories:  Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
Everything you need to know about signing the Marriage Register and Marriage Certificates... More ...

Your Marriage Certificate(s)

Categories: | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
Every couple marrying in Australia will be presented with a certificate on the day. That certificate is proof that you are married, but it isn't proof that your marriage has been registered. So you need a second (and different) certificate as well ... More ...

Can Guests Sign Your Marriage Certificate?

Categories: Celebrant | Wedding Legals |
Your Presentation Certificate is a legal document, therefore only your two legal witnesses may sign it, along with you and your celebrant. But there are other lovely options for guests to sign  ... More ...

The curious reasons why Marriage Documents are signed with black ink

Categories: Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
Have you ever wondered why your marriage certificate must be signed in black ink? Or, indeed, why the Notice of Intended Marriage should be filled in using black ink (if you're filling it in by hand)? It has a lot to do with archival requirements - but also with status!  More ...

What must be done before the ceremony

Giving Notice of Your Intended Marriage when You Live at Opposite Ends of the Country (or the Earth)

Categories: | Wedding Legals |
Giving Notice of your Intended Marriage when you are not together in the same state or country is not as difficult as it might seem at first. ... More ...

No Licence Needed

Categories: | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
Getting married in Australia is super simple. You don't need a marriage licence, and your venue doesn't have to have a licence to host wedding ceremonies ... More ...

What is a (calendar) month? 

Categories: Wedding Legals |
What is a calendar month? is an all-important question because you can't legally be married less than a full calendar month from the day you give Notice (on the Notice of Intended Marriage) ... More ...


Consent, Ceremonies, and Celebrants

Categories:   | Published Article |  Celebrant | Wedding Legals  |
What is consent? And how does Real Consent, Informed Consent, and Intimate Consent apply to celebrant-led wedding ceremonies? Repost of my article originally published  in The   Celebrant, Issue 10, December 2021, pp 59-68 ... More

The Importance of Consent: Why no-one can force you to marry, to kiss in your wedding, or to have sex afterwards

Categories: Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
Celebrants in Australia have to be on the lookout for any indication that you might not be freely and willingly agreeing to marry, and if we are at all concerned, to pull the plug on the wedding. You can't be forced to marry, to kiss during the wedding, or to  have sex after marriage ... More ...

Booze, Pills, and your Wedding

Categories: Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
Being drunk or under the influence of other substances, legal or otherwise, can prevent you from getting married  More ...

Legal requirements for the ceremony

The Traditional Wedding Vows

Categories:  | Vows | Wedding Legals |
The traditional wedding vows havestood the test of time, are a model for the legal vows, and can serve as a template for personalised vows  More...

The Legal Vows - A Must Do Requirement with Leeway for Personal Choice

Categories:  | Vows | Wedding Legals |
To be legally married in a secular civil ceremony in Australia you just say the legal vows because those words create your marriage. Surprisingly, you have some choice over how you will personalise this statement  More...

What's a Legals Only Wedding? 

Categories: | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
You might be wondering what those Legals Only weddings you've seen advertised are. Simply put, Legals Only is marriage celebrant speak/shorthand for the bare minimum ceremony as required by the Marriage Act. But that's not the whole story  ... More ...

A Spontaneous Wedding? Yes you can

Categories:  | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
Does that whole let's get married now vibe appeal to you? No big wedding, just running away and doing it without any fuss and bother?...  More ...

What if Someone Objects?

Categories:  Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
We've all seen it in movie after movie - If anyone knows any reason why these two should not be joined in marriage, speak now .... So what happens if someone objects at your wedding? More ...

What your celebrant says in your wedding - law and custom

Categories:   | Celebrant  |  Wedding Ceremony Wedding Legals  |
The Marriage Act requires your celebrant to say only one thing in your wedding. The rest is custom. Other people can speak and lead parts of the ceremony.  More...

The 3 Reasons Where and How You Stand during Your Wedding Ceremony is Important

Categories:  |  Celebrant   |  Wedding Ceremony  |  Wedding Legals
Where you and your celebrant stand in relation to each other during your marriage ceremony is both legally and psychologically important ...  More

Weddings and Weaponry in Queensland

Categories: Wedding Ceremony  |  Wedding Legals  |
Carrying a knife (sgian dubh) is part of the traditional male Scottish Highland Dress. But in many
places, including Queensland, carrying a knife in a public place can land you in trouble with the law. Read on to find out about the rules and what you can do to get round them ....  More

Like First Impressions, the First Line of Your Wedding Ceremony Matters

Categories: | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
The first line of your wedding ceremony can be captivating and intriguing. It can make your
guests lean forward, eager to participate. It does not have to be boring. Unfortunately, it often is... More ...

Your Wedding Vows: Legal, Personal, Private? What's the Difference?

Categories: | Vows| Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
What's the difference between legal vows and personal vows (personal promises) and can you keep
them private?... More ...

Keeping secrets, privacy. and surprises

Privacy and You,  Your Wedding, Your Marriage

Categories: Wedding Legals |
If you’ve ever wondered what my reasons are for rarely posting photos of the couple, or mentioning their names, even though I’ve officiated well over 800 legal marriages ...    More ...

Saying I Do in Secret (it's legal!)

Categories:  | Wedding Legals |Wedding Planning |
If you choose to be married with a civil celebrant in Australia you can be married in secret ...  More ...

Surprise Weddings - How to have a successful one without breaking the law

Categories:  Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
The Marriage Act is very clear. Surprise weddings are illegal - but only if one of the marrying
couple is being surprised. Which means there are plenty of legal ways to have a surprise wedding ...    More ...

What happens after the ceremony

What if you change your mind? Annulment or Divorce in Australia

Categories: Wedding Legals |
In Australia there are very limited circumstances in which you can get a marriage annulled. Buyer's Remorse (change of mind) isn't one of them. ... More ...

Legal Name Change or Change of Name by Marriage - the Facts and the Pitfalls

Categories: | Wedding Legals |
Changing your name after you are married. You don't have to do it. But if you decide to change your name you have the choice of doing it *by marriage* or through a *legal change of name* so how do you choose? ...  More

The Most Important Step in Your Wedding is Free!

Categories: | Wedding Legals |
Did you know that the most important part of your wedding happens after it is all over - and that it doesn't cost you a cent? ...  More ...

Where you get married matters

Getting Married via Skype - Possible in Australia or Not?

Categories: Wedding CeremonyWedding Legals  | Wedding Planning |
Sorry, it is NOT legal in Australia to get married over Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or
other videoconferencing technology, or by proxy. And this is why...   More ...

Why Border-Straddling Weddings Are a No-No

Categories: Wedding Ceremony  |  Wedding Legals   |
Marriages in Australia must be registered in the state or territory in which they take place...  More

Will your overseas destination wedding be recognised in Australia?

Categories:  | Wedding Legals |
While Australia generally recognises overseas marriages, as long as those marriages would be legal if solemnised in Australia, there are a number of things you need to do to make sure your destination marriage overseas is recognised in Australia ...  More ...

Will your Australian marriage be recognised overseas?

Categories:  | Wedding Legals |
Will a marriage registered inAustralia be recognised overseas? Generally speaking, legal marriages solemnised in Australia are recognised world wide, but that's not the whole stor ...  More ...

Bali Weddings (27/07/2016 update 25/09/2019 to reflect changes in Indonesian law)

Categories: Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning
Everything you need to know about getting married with an Australian celebrant in Bali ...  More ...

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