Lodgement of Notice of Intent to Marry
Within 18 months of your proposed marriage, and no later than one month and one day prior to it, you must give a completed Notice of Intended Marriage form to the authorised marriage celebrant who is to conduct your marriage ceremony. All marriage celebrants should have the necessary paper work to perform your marriage.
You will need your birth certificates (originals) and evidence that any prior marriage has been dissolved by either death or divorce.
Shortening of Time
It is possible to shorten the minimum notice time for a marriage to less than a month if the special circumstances set out in the Marriage Regulations 1963 are met. You will need to approach a Prescribed Authority for approval. See the link on the right hand side of this page.
The five categories of circumstances set out in the Regulations. These are:
- Employment–related, or other travel commitments
- Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations
- Medical reasons
- Legal proceedings, and
- Error in giving notice.
The reason for wanting a shortening of time for notice must fall within one of these categories. There is no capacity to grant a shortening of time outside these circumstances. Shortening of time is not automatic. When making a decision, the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) or a prescribed authority will weigh up the information provided in support of your application and may seek additional information as outlined in the Regulations. You should have the documentation that supports your request before approaching a prescribed authority.
If for some reason you need to change your marriage celebrant, it is the responsibility of the first marriage celebrant to ensure the Notice of Intended Marriage form is transferred safely to the second celebrant by hand or registered post. You must ask the celebrant to transfer the notice for you.
Marriage celebrants authorised by the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department are entitled to charge for any services that they provide. Fees for weddings are not fixed and may vary from marriage celebrant to marriage celebrant. Make sure you reach an agreement on the fees before asking the celebrant to hold a date. You should also ensure you understand which charges are non-refundable and obtain a written statement of all fees and charges.
Participating in a marriage ceremony
People who are not authorised marriage celebrants may participate in aspects of a marriage ceremony. However, there are several legal requirements before, during and after the ceremony that can only be fulfilled by an authorised marriage celebrant.
At the ceremony, the authorised marriage celebrant must:
- consent to be present as the responsible authorised marriage celebrant
- take a public role in the ceremony
- identify themselves to the assembled parties, witnesses and guests as the celebrant authorised to solemnise the marriage
- be responsible for ensuring the validity of the marriage, according to law
- say the words required by section 46 in the presence of the parties, the formal witnesses and the guests before the marriage is solemnised
- be in close proximity (ie nearby) when the vows required by subsection 45(2) are exchanged. It is the exchange of vows that constitutes the marriage and the authorised celebrant must see and hear the vows being exchanged
- be available to intervene (and exercise the responsibility to intervene) if events demonstrate the need for it elsewhere in the ceremony be part of the ceremonial group or in close proximity to it; and
- sign the papers as required by the Act.