Legal Requirements

For assistance in understanding the legal requirements for marriage both within and outside of Australia, Carol Provan can take you step by step through the process during your appointment.


Marriage in Australia

The Australian Marriage Act (1961) along with the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act (2017) set out the current laws made by the Australian Parliament which regulate the rules for the recognition throughout Australia of marriages. The definition of marriage provides for marriage equality in Australia with the right to marry not determined by sex or gender. For more information regarding marriage equality, click here.

To be legally married in Australia, a person must:

  • Not be married to someone else;
  • Not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister;
  • Be at least 18-years-old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between 16-18 years;
  • Understand what marriage means and freely consent to marrying;
  • Use specific words during the ceremony; and,
  • Provide written notice of their intention to marry to their authorised celebrant, within the required time frame.

You do not have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident to legally marry within Australia. You can find marriage visa information on the Department of Home Affairs website (click here), if you hope to live in Australia after your marriage.


Important Paperwork: Notice of Intended Marriage

A completed Notice of Intended Marriage form (click here) must be provided to Carol Provan at least one month prior to your wedding (with a maximum of up to 18-months beforehand). If you require any assistance in completing this form, Carol can help guide you through each section, particularly if your notice needs to be completed and witnessed outside Australia if required.

Should there be less than one month before your wedding ceremony, Carol can provide further assistance in liaising with a prescribed authority (click here) to seek approval for a shorter notice time in some limited circumstances which include:

  • Employment related or other travel commitments;
  • Wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations;
  • Medical reasons;
  • Legal proceedings; or,
  • Error in giving notice.

As part of the Notice of Intended Marriage, you will also need to provide Carol with evidence of date and place of birth, identity and the end of any previous marriages for each party. Depending on your personal circumstances, Carol may also ask you to complete a statutory declaration to support your evidence.

On the day of your wedding, you will sign three marriage certificates. Each certificate will be signed by you, two witnesses and Carol Provan, who will provide you one of the certificates as a record of your marriage. After the ceremony has concluded, Carol will register your marriage with the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 14 days. The three certificates you sign are:

  • The certificate retained by Carol Provan for her records;
  • The certificate that will be forwarded to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the registration of your marriage; and,
  • The certificate that you will be provided as your record of the marriage.

Importantly, if for some reason you need to change celebrants, it is the responsibility of the first celebrant to ensure the Notice of Intended Marriage is transferred safely by hand or registered post. You must ask the original celebrant to transfer the notice for you.

Religious Marriage Celebrants & Ministers of Religion

The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act (2017) provides amendments the Marriage Act (1961) to redefine marriage as “the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

It’s important to note that the Act provides protections for ministers of religion and some marriage celebrants to act in accordance with their religious beliefs. That is, ministers of religion will continue to be able to exercise their religious beliefs to impose additional conditions for a marriage or to refuse to solemnise a marriage. This is the case for all ministers of religion, regardless of whether or not their religious organisation is proclaimed as a recognised denomination under the Marriage Act (1961). Furthermore, it’s important to note that the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act (2017) has created a new subcategory of marriage celebrants, called ‘religious marriage celebrants’ and can, if they choose, to exercise their religious beliefs to refuse to solemnise a marriage.

Carol Provan proudly supports marriage equality in Australia and will never exercise any religious beliefs under any circumstances to refuse to solemnise a marriage.


Marriage Outside Australia

Smartraveller is an online portal that provides detailed information about marriage overseas (click here). If you intend to marry overseas, please note that marriage celebrants authorised in Australia can only perform legal marriages within Australia. However, should you be marrying within Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom or United States of America, Carol Provan is an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church Monastery, meaning she can officiate over your destination wedding.

Whilst marriage laws vary in each country (including state and county jurisdictions), Carol is able to provide important requirements set forth by the relevant local and/or state government agency depending upon your choice of permissible location (listed above). Carol will also advise of any additional timeframes or further costs incurred as part of her services for any added documentation required. Please note that same-sex marriage is currently not recognised in Northern Ireland (under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom).

For information on marriage in countries other than those listed where Carol can officiate, please contact the relevant Embassy or diplomatic mission of the country concerned. If that country requires you to obtain a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage, contact the Department of Home Affairs for further assistance on 131 881.

It’s important to note that an overseas marriage cannot be registered in Australia, however 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 provides the only evidence of the overseas marriage.

Furthermore, 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 obtain 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; and,
  • 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, simply visit the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (click here).


Registering Your Marriage

The NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages must register the full details of all lawful marriages that occur in New South Wales, in accordance with the Births, Death and Marriages Registration Act (1995) (S.33) and the Commonwealth Marriage Act (1961). Please note that Carol Provan will register your marriage within 14 days of the ceremony.