Wedding ceremony legalities

The legalities of your wedding ceremony

Did you know that there are a few legalities to be aware of for your wedding ceremony if you get married in Australia?

Marriage celebrants in Australia need to be trained and registered, unlike in America were you can be ordained online in 10 minutes according to TV shows and movies (Joey from Friends for example :) ).

Australian marriage celebrants need to pass a police clearance check, have several references via statutory declarations, be registered with the Attorney General's office and complete and pass annual compulsory development courses provided by registered education institutions.

You can ensure you are talking to a registered and authorised Wedding Celebrant by viewing the

find a marriage celebrant

page on the Attorney General's website.

Once you have found your marriage celebrant, they will let you know about the Notice of Intended Marriage form (NOIM). This legal document needs to be complete at least one month prior to your wedding ceremony date and no early than 18 months' prior.  This document doesn't need to be completed with your marriage celebrant but it does make it easier for you as the celebrant can witness your signatures rather than finding another authorised person to witness it. You can combine a meeting with your celebrant to discuss other elements of your ceremony with the completing, signing and witnessing of the NOIM. The form itself is very straight forward, but your celebrant will talk you through it. One tip to note is that you need to write your mother's full maiden name on this form.

The remaining legal documents to be aware of is the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage, which is like a statutory declaration to state that there is no legal reason why you cannot marry and the Official Certificate of Marriage.  The Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage form is to be signed prior to your wedding ceremony.  The Official Certificate of Marriage is signed on your wedding day.

On your wedding day, the bride and groom and two witnesses will sign three documents, the Marriage Certificate (which goes to the state Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages), the presentation certificate (which the couple keep) and the celebrant's Marriage Register (which the celebrant keeps).

The presentation certificate is however not the legal document the bride requires to change her name with banks, transport, passport and so on.  Another form needs to be completed to receive this certificate. Click on the link to find out more information about

applying for the marriage certificate

in Queensland.

The final legal requirement is that by law, certain wording must be said during your ceremony by the celebrant and the bride and groom.  This wording is brief and your celebrant will explain this to you and show you how you can easily include within your wedding ceremony wording.  To find out more about how to incorporate your legal wording into your ceremony, you can read this post on

wedding ceremony structure


If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me, an Authorised Brisbane Marriage Celebrant.