How to get married: paperwork, celebrants and rules

Applying to register your marriage is usually a process most couples have not done before. There is a lot to consider when requesting to be married.

Images: Popcorn Photography featuring celebrant Tony Ward, our director Alex and her husband Steve.

What to know

In Australia, a man and women must fulfil the following:

  • You can not be married.
  • You can not marry a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister.
  • You need to be eighteen years old or over. There are some instances where a court will approve a marriage where one party is aged between sixteen and eighteen years of age.
  • You must understand what marriage means and freely consent to becoming a husband or wife.
  • You must follow specific legal words during your ceremony.
  • You must give notice of your intention to marry to your authorised celebrant.

For information on American rules click here…


You also don’t have to be a permanent resident or citizen to get hitched in Australia. There are visas available from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.


Firstly you need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage. Your celebrant will give this to you and you sign together at least one month before your marriage. It can be given to them up to 18 months before the marriage and can be witnessed outside of Australia if necessary. If you are getting married in less than a month, you’ll need to get special approval.

You will need to provide evidence of your date and place of birth, identity and the end of any previous marriages. And, you may need to complete a statutory declaration to support your evidence.

The paperwork will not be as daunting as you think if you book an awesome celebrant. They will usually help you through all the steps and understand the legal requirements. We'd also suggest you contact your local government (e.g. registry of births, deaths and marriages) to check what paperwork is necessary for your situation.

How to find a celebrant

You can only use an authorised celebrant to legally perform your marriage. An authorised celebrant can perform both religious and civil ceremonies.

  • Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants who perform civil/religious ceremonies (independent religious organisations). The fees charged by these celebrants are not fixed however they must adhere to the code of practices.
  • Ministers of religion who perform religious ceremonies for a recognised domination. They are regulated by state and territory registries.
  • State officials who perform civil ceremonies.

To find an authorised celebrant you can visit the Coalition of Celebrant Association. Alternatively, give us a shout and we can personally recommend one for your needs.  

We think these celebrants are great:

  • Hunter Valley: Tony Ward from Wednbliss - Tony is a really wonderful speaker, kind nature and just like a part of the family. He married our director Alex!
  • South Coast: All We Need Is Love – Victoria is honest, vibrant and organised. 
  • Sydney City: C for Ceremony  - Jessica is modern, fun and vibrant.

After you are married

On your wedding day you will need to sign three marriage certificates. Your celebrant will familiarise you with these during your final meeting. You will keep on of the certificates as a record of your marriage.

Within fourteen days of your marriage the celebrant must register your paperwork with the registry of births, deaths and marriages. It is worth you applying to the office for your own copy once you get back from your honeymoon. It can be used for many official purposes.

Whilst we've done our best to give you as much information as possible, we highly recommend that anyone looking to apply to get married speaks to their local government department or seek their own legal advice.  



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