Your wedding ceremony can be as long winded, extravagant, special and ceremonial as you could ever desire.

Let your mind wander, start dreaming, and that 4 hour epic adventure of wedded love can be yours!

But many couples ask me what the bare minimum is. What is the shortest, simplest, easiest ceremony you can do?

I don’t like to do bare minimum ceremonies, mainly because they are barely a ceremony, more of a procedure.

But there are reasons for doing bare minimum ceremonies  You might be getting married overseas, or in a more casual arrangement and would like to do the “legals” separately, perhaps before you leave for your South Pacific getaway.

But whatever your reason, here are the bare minimum requirements to become husband and wife in Australia.

Bare minimum wedding

A NOIM (Notice of Intended Marriage, or Form 13) must be completed in the presence of the bride and groom and a marriage celebrant, or another prescribed officer like a Police Officer or other. This form must be completed, with birth certificates sighted, one month before the wedding day.

The 30 day notice can be waived by a prescribed authority in the following cases:

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

On the wedding day (i.e. at least one month later):

  • The marriage celebrant should identify themselves.
  • The marriage celebrant should state to the bride and groom, and at least two witnesses: I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. (Or words to that effect).
  • The groom must say to the bride: I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, [Groom with last name], take thee, [Bride with last name], to be my lawful wedded wife. (Or words to that effect).
  • The bride must say to the groom: I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, [Bride with last name], take thee, [Groom with last name], to be my lawful wedded husband. (Or words to that effect).
  • The marriage celebrant to complete, bride and groom to sign and two witnesses to sign:
    • Form 14: Each party to an intended marriage must make a declaration before the authorised celebrant as to their conjugal status and belief that there is no legal impediment to the marriage.
    • Form 15: Certificate of marriage given to the bride and groom.
    • Form 16: Marriage certificate for the Births, Deaths and Marriages registry.

And now you’re married.

Everything else that happens is 100% up to you.