I just met with Stefan and Sarah who wanted to assure me that they wouldn’t drink before their wedding ceremony because another marriage celebrant at a different wedding had told all of those bridesmaids and bride at a different wedding that they weren’t allowed to have any alcohol in their system at the marriage system. This is bullocks.

The truth

Two people being married in Australia must be consenting and willing. That’s it. Nothing in the law says anything about a BAC or alcohol directly.

Under section 23B of the Marriage Act a person’s consent to a marriage is not real if one of them is mentally incapable of understanding the nature and effect of the marriage ceremony, if the consent is obtained by duress or fraud, or one of the parties is mistaken as to the identity of the other party, or the nature of the ceremony performed.

The Marriage Act Guidelines say:

Other consent issues that arise on the day of the marriage ceremony can include, for example, duress or a party to the marriage who is drunk, intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, or otherwise appears to be in an altered mental state to an extent that this could impair their ability to consent to the marriage.

So you can have a drink before your wedding ceremony, but if you’re in a state where you are unable to give your consent then you’re not getting married under my watch.

What happens if we’re drunk?

If a party to the marriage ceremony is not able to give consent willingly, aka they are legless, blind drunk, then two things can happen:

  1. The ceremony cannot go ahead as planned and all hell breaks loose and you end up in the news
  2. We do the ceremony without the legal marriage bits, and a day or two later we get together and complete a marriage ceremony within the confines of the law. That way the day and it’s celebrations aren’t ruined.

So in conclusion, have a drink or two, but don’t arrive drunk to your marriage ceremony, your partner deserves better than that.

The photo credit for this blog post is to Kylie at Just For Love Photography!