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Getting married

​This is the official site of the Australian Government Marriage Celebrants Programme. Anything you read elsewhere that is inconsistent with this site is not accurate.

The following information is contained on this page:

A list of authorised marriage celebrants is contained on the Find a marriage celebrant page.

Getting married in Australia

To be legally married in Australia, a man and woman must:

  • not be married to someone else
  • not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister
  • be at least eighteen years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between sixteen and eighteen years old
  • understand what marriage means and freely consent to becoming husband and wife
  • use specific words during the ceremony
  • give written notice of their intention to marry to their authorised celebrant, within the required time frame.

The celebrant you choose will help you understand these requirements.

You don't have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to legally marry here. You can find marriage visa information on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website, if you hope to live in Australia after your marriage.

Important paperwork—Notice of Intended Marriage

  • A completed Notice of Intended Marriage form must be given to your celebrant at least one month before the wedding. You can give it to your celebrant up to eighteen months beforehand.
  • Your celebrant can help you complete the form. The notice may be completed and witnessed outside Australia if required.
  • Talk to your celebrant if there is less than one month before your wedding. A prescribed authority may approve a shorter notice time in some limited circumstances.
  • You will need to give your celebrant evidence of date and place of birth, identity and the end of any previous marriages for each party. Your celebrant may also ask you to complete a statutory declaration to support your evidence.

After you are married

On the day of your wedding, you will sign three marriage certificates. Each certificate should be signed by you, your celebrant and two witnesses. Your celebrant will give you one of the certificates as a record of your marriage.
Your celebrant must register your marriage with the registry of births, deaths and marriages in the state or territory it took place within fourteen days.

The certificate issued by the registry of births, deaths and marriages is required for many official purposes. You should apply for a copy of this certificate from the registry after your wedding through the relevant births, deaths and marriages.

Getting married overseas

The Smartraveller website has detailed information about getting married overseas.

If you intend to marry overseas, please note that marriage celebrants authorised in Australia can only perform legal marriages within Australia.

An overseas marriage cannot be registered in Australia, and the foreign marriage certificate will be evidence the marriage has occurred. Ensure you keep this certificate as it may not be easy to replace if lost and it provides the only evidence of the overseas marriage.

Please note that it may not be possible to rely on a marriage certificate issued overseas for some purposes in Australia. A party to a marriage which takes place overseas may not be able to rely on an overseas marriage certificate to have an Australian driver's licence or an Australian passport issued in their married name.

An overseas marriage will generally be recognised in Australia if it:

  • was a valid marriage in the overseas country
  • would have been recognised as valid under Australian law if the marriage had taken place in Australia.

Change of name

To apply for a formal change of name in Australia, visit your state or territory's Births, Deaths and Marriages registry.

Same-sex relationships

Australian law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriages entered into in other countries are not recognised as legal marriages in Australia.

Some state and territory governments allow people to register their same-sex relationship. You can find out more information from state and territory registries of births, deaths and marriages.