Getting Married in Australia

A Comprehensive Guide to Getting Married in Australia

Getting married is one of the most exciting and significant events in your life. If you’re planning to tie the knot in Australia, you might be wondering about the legal requirements and steps involved. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to ensure your special day goes smoothly.

Step 1: Understand the Legal Requirements

Before diving into the planning, it’s essential to understand the legal prerequisites for getting married in Australia. Here are the key points:


  • Both parties must be at least 18 years old. In exceptional cases, a court order can permit a person aged 16 or 17 to marry, but this is rare.

Relationship Status

  • You must not be married to someone else.
  • You must not be in a prohibited relationship, which includes marrying a close relative like a sibling or parent.


  • Both parties must give real consent. Forced marriages are illegal.

Step 2: Choose Your Type of Ceremony

In Australia, you have two main types of wedding ceremonies:

Civil Ceremony

  • Conducted by an authorized marriage celebrant.
  • Offers flexibility in terms of location and style.

Religious Ceremony

  • Conducted by a registered minister of religion.
  • Takes place according to the rites of a religious organization.

Step 3: Select a Date and Venue

Once you know the type of ceremony you want, it’s time to pick a date and venue. Popular venues include beaches, parks, churches, and private properties. Ensure the venue is available on your chosen date and fits your vision and budget.

Step 4: Lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM)

What is NOIM?

The Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) is a legal document that must be lodged with your celebrant at least one month before your wedding date and no more than 18 months prior.

How to Lodge NOIM

  • Download the NOIM form from the Australian Government Website.
  • Complete the form with your personal details and intended marriage date.
  • Sign the form in the presence of an authorized witness, such as a celebrant, justice of the peace, barrister, or police officer.
  • Submit the form to your celebrant, who will keep it until your wedding day.

Step 5: Prepare Your Documents

When lodging the NOIM, you’ll need to provide certain documents:

  • Proof of Birth: Original birth certificates or passports.
  • Proof of Identity: Government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
  • Proof of End of Previous Marriages: If applicable, you’ll need divorce decrees or death certificates of former spouses.

Step 6: Plan the Ceremony

Personalize Your Vows

While there are legally required phrases you must say, you can also write personal vows to make your ceremony unique and meaningful.

Choose Witnesses

You’ll need two witnesses over the age of 18 to sign the marriage certificates on your wedding day.

Arrange the Details

Plan the logistics, such as seating arrangements, decorations, and the order of events. If you’re having a reception, consider catering, music, and photography.

Step 7: The Wedding Day

Conduct the Ceremony

Your celebrant or religious minister will conduct the ceremony according to your plans. After the vows, you, your partner, the witnesses, and the celebrant will sign three marriage certificates.

Receive Your Marriage Certificate

You will receive a ceremonial marriage certificate on the day. To obtain an official marriage certificate, which is required for legal purposes, you will need to apply to the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in your state or territory.

Step 8: Register Your Marriage

Your celebrant is responsible for registering your marriage with the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. This typically happens within 14 days of the ceremony. You can then apply for the official marriage certificate, which you might need for name changes, visa applications, and other legal purposes.


Getting married in Australia involves a series of steps that ensure your marriage is legally recognised. From lodging the NOIM to planning the perfect ceremony, each stage is crucial. By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating a memorable and legally binding wedding day. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials, and best wishes for a lifetime of happiness together!

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