| WeddingCeremony | Wedding Legals |
closures have prompted couples to seek alternative
ways to have get married when they are separated by
border closures and/or to include guests on either
side of the border.
Australian law, State
The history of Australia, hinted at on the border
markers between Queensland and New South Wales, is one
of separate colonies that became one country.
Laws governing marriage followed this pattern. So each
state had their own Marriage Act and all births,
deaths, and marriages were registered in those state.
It took 60 years after Federation for the individual
Marriage Acts to be superseded by the Marriage Act
What didn't change, however, was where marriages are
registered. For practical reasons, marriages
have continued to be registered in the state or
territory in which they took place.
Civil celebrants are
appointed by the Commonwealth Government
If you choose a civil celebrant to solemnise your
marriage, that person, being appointed by the
Commonwealth Government, can do the deed in any state
or territory, Australia wide.
Couples can marry in any
state, not just where you live
If same goes for the two of you. You can choose
to be married in your home state, or anywhere else in
So what's the catch?
The Marriage Act requires that the marriage must take
place with all five people required for it to be legal
present in the same space. Which, given the
definition of a state as a separate space means that,
for your marriage to be legal that party of five (the
two of you, your two witnesses, and your
celebrant) cannot straddle the border. And if
your celebrant were to be foolish enough to go ahead
with a wedding where some of the five are in one
state, and the rest in another, it would be at risk of
your marriage not being registered, and therefore not
being recognised, and of the celebrant being
The same logic applies to virtual weddings. Under
Australian law you
can't get married over Zoom
What about the wedding party
and the guests?
Anyone who isn't one of the party of five is not
subject to the rules about straddling the border. So,
techically, you could be one one side of a border with
your guests and your wedding party on the other side,
or divided between. As far as the Marriage Act goes.
But there is more in play at the moment. Each state
has its own health directives and rules about weddings
and gatherings and they often differ from state to
state, and can change in a heartbeat.
Thanks for reading!