legal documentatioN

Notice of Intended Marriage
‣      Must be signed no more than 18 months and no less than 1 month before the proposed ceremony date.
‣      Requires sighting of: a birth certificate and a form of photographic ID, or a passport (documents must be originals).
‣      If one party has previously been divorced, a divorce certificate will also need to be sighted.

Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage
Prior to your wedding, both partners will be required to sign a declaration, under the Marriage Act 1961, stating that you believe there
is no legal impediment to the marriage between yourself and your partner. This is a legal document and it is important that all information on this declaration is true. Penalties will apply for false or misleading information.

Certificate of Marriage
‣      There are two identical copies of this document that are signed towards the end of the ceremony.
‣      One signed copy is kept by the celebrant and the other is sent to the Births Deaths and Marriages office after the ceremony.

The Commemorative Certificate
The couple and their witnesses will sign this document at the same time they sign the certificates of marriage. This certificate is kept by the couple and cannot be used for changing name(s) after marriage.


‣      All personal information acquired by the marriage celebrant is strictly for recording purposes and will be kept confident at all times.
‣      It's the celebrant's responsibility to ensure that all relevant documentation is sent to the Attorney-General’s office, within 14 days after
        the marriage.

marriage celebrant's code of practice

1 Application of this Code of Practice

This Code of Practice applies to marriage celebrants.

Note 1: A marriage celebrant is a person registered under Subdivision C of Division 1 of Part IV of the Marriage Act 1961: see subsection 5(1) of that Act.

Note 2: Under paragraph 39I(1)(b) of that Act, if the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants is satisfied that a marriage celebrant has not complied with an obligation under section 39G of that Act, including this Code of Practice, the Registrar may take disciplinary measures against the marriage celebrant.

2 High standard of service

A marriage celebrant must maintain a high standard of service in his or her professional conduct and practice. This includes (without limitation) ensuring the following:

(a) appropriate personal presentation for marriage ceremonies;
(b) punctuality for marriage ceremonies;
(c) accuracy in preparation of documents and in the conduct of marriage ceremonies.

3 Recognition of significance of marriage

A marriage celebrant must recognise the social, cultural and legal significance of marriage and the marriage ceremony in the Australian community, and the importance of strong and respectful family relationships.

4 Compliance with Act and other laws

A marriage celebrant must:

(a) comply with the requirements of the Marriage Act 1961 and the Marriage Regulations 2017 which apply to the marriage celebrant; and
(b) observe the laws of the Commonwealth and of any State or Territory in which the marriage celebrant solemnises marriages; and
(c) avoid unlawful discrimination in the provision of marriage celebrancy services.

5 General requirements for marriage ceremonies

A marriage celebrant must respect the importance of the marriage ceremony to the parties and the other persons organising the ceremony. This includes (without limitation) the following:

(a) giving the parties information and guidance to enable them to choose or compose a marriage ceremony, including information to assist the parties to decide whether a marriage ceremony rehearsal is needed or appropriate;
(b) respecting the privacy and confidentiality of the parties, including by:
           (i) arranging for appropriate facilities to interview parties; and
           (ii) dealing appropriately with personal documents and personal information; and
           (iii) maintaining appropriate facilities for the secure storage of records; and
           (iv) ensuring the return of all personal documents belonging to the parties as soon as practicable (unless it is necessary to keep the
           documents for the ceremony);
(c) giving the parties information about how to notify the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department of any concerns or complaints they may have regarding the marriage services provided by the marriage celebrant

6 Knowledge and understanding of family relationships services

A marriage celebrant must:

(a) maintain an up-to-date knowledge about appropriate family relationships services in the community; and
(b) inform the parties to the marriage about the range of information and services available to them to enhance, and sustain them throughout, their relationship.


The Marriage Law and Celebrants Section (MLCS) collects, uses, discloses and stores your personal information in accordance with our obligations under the Privacy Act 1988. Information about how we use your personal information in a complaint process is contained in the complaint form. Our section handles personal information in accordance with the Attorney-General's Department privacy policy. If you wish to access or seek correction of your personal information or make an enquiry or complaint about your privacy, you may contact the departmental Privacy Contact Officer on
02 6141 2660 or email

lodging a complaint

If you wish to make a complaint about a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, you should consider:

‣      whether you can settle the matter directly with the celebrant
‣      that the Attorney-General’s office does not have the power to make a celebrant refund money
‣      that your complaint may be refused if it is not made within three months of you becoming aware of the subject matter of your

Making a complaint

To make a complaint about a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, please complete and submit the form at the following web address: (also see this address for more info)

What happens after you make a complaint?

1. Acknowledge: we acknowledge your complaint in writing.

2. Assess: your complaint is assessed by an action officer, who may contact you for more information. Based on this preliminary assessment, the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants will decide whether or not to proceed with the complaint. The Registrar might decide:
          - not to deal with the complaint, as the complaint lacks merit
          - not to deal with the complaint, on the basis that the substance of complaint is more appropriately dealt with by another
            department. For example, the complaint might involve immigration matters, in which case we might refer the complaint to the
            Department of Home Affairs.

          - to deal with the complaint.

You will be advised of the outcome of this assessment.

3. Investigate: the action officer will contact the celebrant, seeking information and/or asking them to respond to the allegations of your complaint. A copy of your complaint and the preliminary assessment will be provided to the celebrant. Your contact details will not be provided to the celebrant. After considering the celebrant’s response (if any), the Registrar will decide what action should be taken.

4. Respond: The Registrar will inform the celebrant (and generally also you, the complainant) of the final outcome and the reasons for their decision. The celebrant will also be advised of any potential review processes.

marriage education services

The decision to marry is one of the biggest decisions a couple can make. Marriage is a significant step which will bring a number of changes for you, your spouse and your family.

The document, “Happily Ever…Before and After - Information for couples planning to marry” tells you:

‣      The process of getting married in Australia,
‣      Some important legal consequences of getting married, and
‣      Where relationship support services, such as marriage education, family counselling or dispute resolution services may be obtained.

Additional Resources

‣      Family Relationships Online:
‣      Family Relationships Advice Line: 1800 050 321
‣      The Elizabeth Clinic Perth: