Australian Law defines marriage as “the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life” from The Marriage Act of 1961.

Your marriage may take place on any day, at any time, and any place in Australia, or within Australian territorial waters.

At least two people (other than the celebrant) over the age of 18 years, must be present at the marriage ceremony, to act as your witnesses.

“The Notice Of Intended Marriage Form” (form 13) which can be downloaded here, must be filled out, signed, witnessed and then lodged with your celebrant.

  • This form must be lodged a minimum of one calendar month before the wedding date. The notice is valid for 18 months.
  • The notice requires proof of birth i.e. If you were born in Australia you must produce a birth certificate. If you were born overseas, either a birth certificate or an overseas passport.
  • If either party has been married before, evidence of how the marriage ended will be required i.e. either a Decree Absolute in the case of divorce, or if previous partner has died, a death certificate.
  • If either party has changed their name by deed poll, the official ‘Change of Name’ document must be produced.
  • All documents need to be in English, or have an official translation of the document into English, attached.
  • To ensure there is no last minute panic, it is a good idea to locate all documents needed, as soon as possible.
  • All documents must be original or extracts. Certified copies and photocopies are NOT acceptable.

You both must sign a “Declaration” stating that you believe there is no legal impediment to your marriage. This must be done with your celebrant, just prior to the marriage.

Beach Ceremony

During the ceremony, the authorised celebrant must say to the parties, in the presence of the witnesses, the words,

“My name is Celebrant's name, and I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages in Australia, according to Australian law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence, and in the presence of these witnesses, I am bound to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”

The ceremony must take place in the presence of an Authorised Celebrant. All authorised celebrants will have a registration number, are listed on the Attorney General’s wesite and follow the 'Code of Practice for Marriage Celebrants'.

The following vows must be exchanged during the ceremony:

I ask everybody here present to witness that I groom's name, take you bride's name, to be my lawfully wedded wife.
I ask everybody here present to witness that I bride's name, take you groom's name, to be my lawfully wedded husband.

The full names of the bride and groom must be mentioned somewhere in the ceremony (for purposes of identification of the parties). This is usually done in the vows, or in the introduction.

Both parties, the celebrant, and the two witnesses must all sign each of the three marriage certificates. The bride signs in the same name she used on the Notice of Intended Marriage form.



At the end of the wedding ceremony, the couple are presented with a ‘Certificate of Marriage’. This is conclusive evidence that the marriage has taken place. It is an important document and should be kept in a safe place with other official documents. However, this certificate does not provide conclusive evidence of the identity of the couple. In some situations you may be asked to produce a registered copy of your marriage certificate, which may be obtained from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State or Territory in which you were married. This is available usually 3-4 weeks after the wedding. Ask your celebrant about the new service which streamlines this application.


Surfboard Signing


As a Justice of the Peace, I am often asked by couples to certify photocopies of their marriage certificates before they leave the region. I am very happy to do this. There is no charge for this service.



If you would like more information on Marriage, Relationships or contacts for obtaining legal documents please use the links below.


Location of Australian Embassies

Birth Deaths and Marriages WA

Attorney-General’s Department

Translation Services



Relationships Australia

Family Relationship Council