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Getting Married in Australia

Marriage equality

Getting married in Australia

Getting married overseas


On 9 December 2017, the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 commenced. The Act changed the definition of marriage and provides for marriage equality in Australia. The right to marry in Australia is no longer determined by sex or gender. More information is available on the Marriage equality in Australia page.

Legal Requirements for Marriage in Australia

To be legally married in Australia, there are specific obligations that must be met - you must:

  • not be married to someone else

  • not be marrying a blood relative parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister

  • be at least 18 years old, unless a parent and a court of law has approved a marriage where one party is aged between 16 and 18 years old.

  • two persons under 18 years cannot under any circumstance be married in Australia. According to the Marriage Act 1961.

  • understand what marriage means and freely consent to marrying

  • include specific words during the ceremony

  • provide your notice of intention to marry to your authorised celebrant, within the required time frame.

  • have two witnesses over the age of 18 able to understand the ceremony.

You don't have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to legally marry here. You can find marriage visa information on the Department of Home Affairs website, if you hope to live in Australia after your marriage.

Important Paperwork - Notification for Intended Marriage

  • A Notice of Intended Marriage form, which couples must use from 9 December 2017, is available on the Marriage stationery and forms page. Notice of Intended Marriage.

  • A completed Notice of Intended Marriage form must be given to your celebrant at least one calendar month and up to 18 months before your wedding date.

  • Your celebrant can help you complete the form. The notice may be completed and witnessed outside Australia if required.

  • Your celebrant will need to see all original documents prior to your marriage.

  • All of my registrations are completed online.

  • Talk to your celebrant if there is less than one month before your wedding. A prescribed authority may approve a shorter notice time in some limited circumstances.

  • You will need to provide your celebrant with evidence of date and place of birth.

  • An original Birth Certificate, authorised extract, or Passport (Australian or Foreign).

  • Birth certificates can be obtained from the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in the State of your birth.

  • You must provide photographic evidence of identity Current Drivers Licence or Proof of age Card.

  • You must also provide evidence of the end of any previous marriages divorce, dissolution or death for each party.

  • If your documents are in a foreign language they must be translated into English by an authorised translator (NAATI)

Declaration of no legal impediment

This is an official document both partners are required to sign prior to your marriage, declaring you are free to marry and there is no legal impediment to your marriage. Your celebrant will provide this document and witness your signatures as close to your marriage as possible.


This is a legal document and under Section 11 of the Statutory Declaration Act 1959, false information carries a penalty of four years imprisonment.

Changing your name

Changing names after marriage?

Changing names is an entirely personal choice. In Australia either spouse may take the other’s surname. This can be in place of your current surname or added to your existing surname to form a double-barrelled surname. The names can appear in either order, separated by either a space or hyphen.

There is no special application or registration to change surnames and you only need your marriage certificate to get started (the one from Births, Deaths and Marriages – not the ceremonial certificate I provide on the day). I will discuss ordering your marriage certificate on your behalf and it arrives a week or two after your wedding.

Changing names can be time consuming because no records are linked. You need to apply to each organisation where you hold an account, record, identification or membership to request your name is updated. There are a few places you must visit in person; Qld Dept of Transport for your driver’s license and any banks with large branch networks (eg: NAB, ANZ). After lodging your passport application online you must attend an interview at Australia Post. For all other companies, you may need to upload a copy of your marriage certificate or else send in a form, letter or email.

If you’re ready to get started with your name change set aside about 6 hours or so to do all the research and prepare your paperwork. You can get started with a free customised checklist from Easy Name Change here.

If you want to skip the research, form filling and letter writing I recommend Easy Name Change. They provide fully researched name change procedures for 650 different Australian companies and all corresponding forms, ready to send letters and emails. They also offer a full refund if you are not happy for any reason. Get started here:

Shortening time for notice of intended marriage

If for some reason you are unable to wait a full calendar month to marry under prescribed circumstances you may apply to a Perscribed Authority to consider your application.

  1. Employment related or other travel commitments

  2. Wedding or celebration arrangements or Religious considerations

  3. Medical reasons

  4. Legal proceedings

  5. Error in giving Notice


Have all documentation ready to support your request before approaching the Prescribed Authority. Contact Births Deaths and Marriages (1300366430).

  •  The prescribed Authority may charge a fee.

  • Make an appointment with the Prescribed Authority taking your competed Notice of Intended Marriage (this is the only circumstance when your Celebrant should release the completed Notice to the party or parties of the marriage).

  • A letter from your Celebrant stating they have received the Notice of Intended Marriage and are willing to solemnise  the marriage on the nominated date and time if the shortening request is granted.

  • All original supporting documents required for marriage (I D documents you provided to lodge your Notice) and any evidence to support the reason for shortening e.g. letter from your Medical Specialist, employer or travel documents.

  • You may be required to provide a Statutory Declaration.


If the Prescribed Authority grants the shortening they will complete the box provided on page four, sign it add designation and the words Prescribed Authority and the date. The completed original Notice must then be returned to your Celebrant.

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