No matter whether you choose to celebrate your wedding with a religious service, a civil ceremony or in a registry office, there are a number of legal requirements that must be observed.
Firstly, you must be married by an authorised marriage celebrant, whether religious or civil, and you must lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant no earlier than 18 months and no less than one month and one day before the ceremony. The appropriate form can be obtained from your marriage celebrant, or downloaded.
You will need your Birth Certificate and a Divorce Decree Absolute for any previous marriage/s. If your former spouse is deceased, you will need to produce their Death Certificate. Generally, you can marry anyone provided they are not already married and you are not closely related. However, couples under the age of 18 require both court authorisation and parental permission before the ceremony can proceed.
Shortly before the wedding, your marriage celebrant will ask you to sign a Statutory Declaration to confirm there is no valid reason to prevent the wedding from taking place. After the wedding ceremony, you must both sign your Certificate of Marriage, a Wedding Certificate and the Marriage Register in the presence of the cele¬brant, and two witnesses who are over the age of 18.
While traditionally the bride takes the groom’s surname, this decision is entirely personal. If you do adopt your husband’s name (or hyphenate both family names), you’ll need your Marriage Certificate to formally change your surname. And, you should both update your wills, as anything written before the wedding will no longer apply.
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