What you need to do before the wedding
A Marriage in Australia can take place at any venue, and at any time and date of the couple’s choosing. A legally appointed Authorised Marriage Celebrant is required to perform a marriage in Australia according to the Marriage Regulations 2017 and the updated Marriage Act 1961. Both these documents reflect the Marriage Equality Bill that was passed by Australian Parliament in December 2017.
An aspiring celebrant must qualify with a Certificate IV in Celebrancy before applying to the Attorney General’s Office in Canberra to become a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant. Being a marriage celebrant is an important role in the community. It attracts legal responsibilities and a failure to meet those responsibilities can have serious consequences.
Table of contents:
The Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM):
- The NOIM is one of the most important forms that you will need to fill out before you can be legally married in Australia.
- Before you can complete the NOIM, you need to choose which celebrant you would like to officiate over the day, because the form asks you to state the date of your wedding and that can’t be finalised until you have your celebrant locked in.
- The Notice of Intended Marriage must be given to the authorised celebrant no earlier than 18 months before the wedding day and no later than one month before the wedding day.
You can download the NOIM Form at: www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Documents/New-notice-of-intended-marriage.pdf
To complete the NOIM Form, you need identification. Documentation that proves identification includes:
- An original birth certificate that states the date and place of birth, and/or
- A passport that states date and place of birth, or
- A statutory declaration made by the party or a parent of the party stating that, for reasons specified in the declaration, it is impracticable to obtain such a certificate and stating, to the best of the declarant’s knowledge as accurately as the declarant has been able to ascertain, when and where the party was born.
- If you were born overseas, even if you are now an Australian citizen, you must provide your birth certificate, or your passport issued by an international government that shows date and place of birth.
- A driver’s licence
- A Proof of Age/Photo Card
- An Australian citizenship certificate along with another form of photographic evidence
A statutory declaration is a last resort. The documents must be original and cannot be a faxed or photocopied – not even a certified copy of an original is acceptable.
What if I have been married before?
If you have been married before you must provide evidence of death, nullity or dissolution to the celebrant at the time the time of lodging the NOIM.
At what age can I marry in Australia?
Both parties must be over 18, or if one party is between 16-18, parental and court consent must be received.
Signing the NOIM
Generally, the NOIM will be signed by both parties and witnessed by their chosen celebrant. The marriage act does allow for one party to sign before the due date if the second party can sign before the marriage is solemnised.
Witnessing the NOIM
If the couple cannot complete the NOIM in the presence of their celebrant, it will need to be signed and witnessed by one of the following authorities:
- An authorised celebrant
- A Commissioner for Declarations under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959
- A justice of the peace
- A barrister or solicitor
- A legally qualified medical practitioner
- A member of the Australian Federal Police or the police force of a State or Territory.
If the couple are overseas and cannot be in Australia before the due date of the NOIM, it can be completed and witnessed overseas by one of the following authorities:
- An Australian Diplomatic Officer
- An Australian Consular Officer
- A notary public
- An employee of the Commonwealth authorized under paragraph 3(c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955
- An employee of the Australian Trade Commission authorised under paragraph 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955