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) sets out the current laws made by the Australian Parliament which regulates the rules for the recognition throughout Australia of marriages.

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 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 becoming husband and wife;
  • 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 of Australia to legally marry within Australia. 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 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 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 the bride and groom, 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.


Marriage Outside Australia

Smartraveller is an online portal that provides detailed information about marriage overseas. 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.

For information on marriage married overseas 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 Foreign Affairs and Trade for further assistance on (02) 6261 1111.

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 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; 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 here.


Same-Sex Relationships

At present, Australian law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. As a result, it is not currently possible for same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. Furthermore, same-sex marriages entered into in other countries are not recognised as legal marriages in Australia.

However, it is not illegal to conduct civil partnership ceremonies between same-sex couples provided they do not purport to be legal marriages. As such, Carol Provan offers a range of tailor-made ceremonial services for same-sex couples that allow them to express their wishes, preferences, and devotion to one another publicly.