A couple of mine asked a good question about why we would do their legal marriage paperwork in Australia before their destination elopement.

So I thought I best share the answer with you as well.

My authority to marry people is only valid on Australian soil, in British Columbia Canada, or in the US, so if the wedding or elopement is in one of those places then we’re cool to do the paperwork locally on the day.

But for elopements outside of Australia we legally marry you on Australian soil before or after the trip and here’s why:

  • I simply can’t do legal marriage ceremonies and paperwork overseas – whether that’s according to local law, or doing Australian paperwork overseas because that’s not a thing.
  • Completing your marriage legals on Australian soil, for Australian couples, saves the expense of either hiring a local celebrant overseas plus a translator, or paying the costs to the local marriage authority.
  • But main reason though is it’s actually an administrative blessing to you both for two reasons:
    • To receive a copy of your official certificate of marriage either on marriage, or for the years after, you can contact your own state’s Births Deaths and Marriages instead of dealing with foreign governments and getting translators involved.
      And if you marry overseas, although that marriage is recognised in Australia, you aren’t eligible for the free name change Australians get in marriage, so you need to apply to your local Births, Deaths, and Marriages registry for a change of name, then you need to pay for the passport and drivers license change – costs of about $1000 that you avoid when you do your legal paperwork on Australian soil.

What we mean by legal marriage paperwork – it’s the 30 seconds of words plus the legal marriage paperwork you would get in a local marriage ceremony, but no show/vows/rings/guests etc.

Two witnesses are needed, but they can be two people you bring, or we can just ask two people 18 or over to help us.

Your wedding anniversary will be and should be the date we celebrate overseas, and I’ll make an awesome ceremony for you there, but you can rest in the knowledge that you don’t have to figure out how to get married in your destination wedding’s country because it’s all looked after by me at home.

Photo credit: Kelly and Ramie with me in Ravello, Italy, with The Elopement Collective and Joey & Jase.