Frequently Asked Questions
How do we know if our celebrant is legally authorised to perform our ceremony?
All legally registered marriage celebrants can be found on the national register of the Attorney-General's Department, check for your celebrant's name if you are unsure.
I do not have my original birth certificate, what do I do?
You must apply to the registry of BDM (Births, Deaths and Marriages) in the State or Territory in which you were born to obtain an official copy of your birth certificate.
Note: If you have a passport, as of 1 July 2014, you may use your passport as evidence of your place and date of birth.
I do not have my original divorce certificate, what do I do?
You must contact the court in which your divorce was processed and obtain an official copy of your court issued divorce document. Depending on when your divorce took place, this could be a 'decree absolute', 'certificate of divorce' or 'divorce order'.
We do not have one month's notice to give before our wedding, what can we do?
After issuing your celebrant with your Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM), depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to apply to a prescribed authority for a 'shortening of time'. Your celebrant will guide you through this process.
We will be interstate or overseas until less than a month prior to our wedding ceremony, how can we get our Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) to our celebrant?
Your celebrant can accept a scanned (emailed), faxed or posted copy of your NOIM accompanied by copies of your identity, birth and end of previous marriage documents. Your celebrant must receive your original NOIM and sight original supporting documents prior to your ceremony.
We are planning to elope and be married in Australia, what documents does our celebrant require?
Your celebrant will need to:
1. confirm your identity with photographic identification (e.g. overseas passport)
2. confirm your date and place of birth (e.g. overseas passport or original birth certificate)
3. confirm the end of any previous marriages (e.g. original divorce or unnulment documents, or overseas equivalent, or death certificate of previous spouse)
Can our children be our official witnesses to our marriage?
Yes, the only stipulation on your two witnesses is that they are 18 years of age and over.
What is the 'Declaration' we need to sign?
The 'Declaration' confirms your conjugal (maritable) status, e.g. 'never been validly married', 'widower', 'widow' or 'divorced'. You must also be able to state that there is no legal impediment to your marriage, e.g. neither of you are married to another person, you are of marriageable age and you are not in a prohibited relationship.
Is marrying my first cousin considered a prohibited relationship?
No, cousins may marry each other. Examples of prohibited relationships are, a man marrying his grandmother, mother, sister or half-sister, daughter or granddaughter. A woman marrying her grandfather, father, brother or half-brother, son or grandson
What is the legal marriageable age in Australia?
The legal marriageable age is 18 years for both males and females. Under no circumstances can a person marry under the age of 16. If one party to the marriage is aged between 16 and 18 years, that party may seek a judge or magistrate issued court order allowing the marriage to proceed, along with written consent from his/her parents to marry a person aged 18 years or over. Under no circumstances can a marriage take place between a male and female if they are both between the ages of 16 & 18 years.
What is the brochure 'Happily Ever... Before and After' that our celebrant must present us with?
According to the Marriage Act 1961, after receiving your NOIM, your marriage celebrant must present you with a document outlining the obligations and consequences of marriage. This document is in the form of a brochure titled 'Happily Ever... Before and After' and includes information on the availability of marriage education and counseling.