Types of Ceremony

Find out about the different types of ceremonies permitted to get married in Australia...

The marriage ceremony must be witnessed by two people over the age of 18. They will be required to sign the marriage certificate.

People other than the authorised celebrant can participate in the ceremony. Legally there are some procedures that can only be undertaken by the celebrant. These include:

  • Ensuring the marriage is legally binding
  • Seeing and hearing the exchange of vows, as these are what constitute the marriage
  • Signing the paperwork required by the Marriage Act
  • Saying the required words in sight of the witnesses and the couple getting married

Religious ceremonies can be held in any way recognised by that religion. Civil ceremonies can be either formal or more relaxed while remaining sincere. The words and music for the ceremony can be chosen by the couple to be married providing the celebrant's words are included.

Three copies of the marriage certificate must be signed by the couple, the witnesses and the celebrant. One copy is retained by the celebrant, one is sent to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 14 days and one is the couple's record. The certificate is the evidence that the marriage was registered and solemnised in accordance with the vows outlined in the Marriage Act. The certificate may be required in an application for an Australian passport.

Same Sex Marriages

Same sex marriages are not recognised in Australia. In line with this, legal same sex marriages from other countries are not recognised. A family court ruling in 2003 allows post operative transsexuals to marry as their reassigned gender. Commitment ceremonies between two people of the same sex are allowed.

Further Information

  • The Australian Commonwealth Attorney General's Department website: Click here
  • Australian government Smart Traveller website: Click here