A Civil Marriage Celebrant is appointed by the Australian Government’s Attorney General’s Department. Authorised Celebrants can solemnise marriages anywhere within the Commonwealth of Australia in accordance with the Marriage Act of 1961 which is a Federal Act. You can find all authorised celebrants on the Attorney General’s website: www.ag.gov.au
So how do you choose a marriage celebrant who will provide you with exactly what you want for your special day and what are the legalities? The following is some information to assist in your planning.
Both parties must complete a Notice of Intended Marriage as the first step. This form must be completed a minimum of one month before the date you intend to marry and a maximum of 18 months. Your celebrant will need to witness this form and notate the following:
- Proof of your date of birth - you can supply either a birth certificate or valid passport. If you don’t have either, you can apply to Births Deaths and Marriages in the state in which you were born and for a small cost your birth certificate can be reproduced.
- A valid driver’s licence as photographic proof of your identity.
- For Australian Citizens born outside Australia, a valid passport is required (or a birth certificate providing it is in English or has been translated by an authorised translation service).
- For permanent or temporary residents, a valid passport or birth certificate is required.
People who have been married previously must supply either a death certificate of their previous spouse, or a Divorce Certificate of the previous marriage.
A Declaration that there is no impediment to the marriage taking place must be signed prior to the marriage. Generally this is completed within a couple of weeks of the wedding date.
On the day of the marriage, three documents are signed:
- The Official Certificate of Marriage (to be sent to the state office of Births, Deaths & Marriages)
- The Certificate of Marriage (for the Wedding couple)
- The Marriage Register (which is retained by the Celebrant)
Two witnesses over the age of 18 will be required to be present at the wedding and sign the documentation as above.
The minimum legal age to get married is 18, however, in exceptional circumstances, a person who is at least 16 may be approved, providing the person intends to marry someone who is at least 18. Marriage between people in a prohibited relationship is not permitted. This includes brother/sister relationships, an ancestor or descendant, half-blood or adopted.
I’d be happy to explain any of the legalities if you have any concerns. I’m an experienced celebrant so it’s my job to make all of this as seamless as I can for you. It can seem overwhelming but when broken down into steps, it’s really quite simple.