What Makes a Wedding Ceremony Legal

As required by Australian law governed by the Commonwealth, here is the legal requirements of a wedding ceremony performed in Australia.

Foreigners often choose to marry in Australia as we have, arguably, the most liberal legal choices available in terms of wording, venue and time. Many internationals are welcome to marry here, however, if you are seeking to stay in Australia long term, seek further legal direction.


To marry in Australia you must be over the age of 18. However, if either one party is under the age of 18, a court order is required. If both parties are under the age of 18, it is illegal to marry.


The Notice of Intended Marriage must be lodged with your Celebrant no less than one month prior to your wedding date. It valid for 18 months, and also cannot be lodged more than 18 months prior to your wedding date.

Documents that are required when submitting your NOIM are your original passport or birth certificate, your drivers licence and any relevant divorce or death certificates.

NB: All documents in a foreign language must be translated into English by an approved translator.


Two people are required to witness your marriage and sign the Marriage Register and Certificates and they must be over the age of 18.


Whilst there are many elements of the wedding ceremony that encourage creativity and personalisation, there are are a couple of sections that are not negotiable. Both the Monitum and the Legal Vows MUST be spoken at your ceremony otherwise your marriage may not be valid.

The Authorization

Your celebrant must declare aloud to all present that he/she is authorised to solemnise marriages in Australia according to law.

The Monitum

Your celebrant must also recite the following:

“Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

Legal Vows

In addition to, or without, personalised vows, parties must recite the following.

“I call upon the people here present to witness that I, AB/CD, take you, CD/AB, to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/partner.” You may leave out lawful or wedded but not both; you must use one of these words.