A Spontaneous Wedding? Yes
(29/09/2019) | Categories:
| Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals | Wedding Planning |
Do you love doing things on the spur of
the moment? Does that whole "Let's get married, NOW
vibe appeal to you? No big wedding, just running away,
perhaps in secret, and doing it without any fuss and
bother? Well there's good news and bad news on
The Bad News
First, the bad news. Unless you decide to run away to
Vegas, of course. But with flight bookings,
passports, ESTA visa waiver applications, organising
currency etc, that's hardly a spur of the moment
decision or experience.
Looking on the bright side, the bad news isn't really
bad news. It is just that there are a couple of rules
the Marriage Act says you must follow if you want to be
legally married in Australia.
- You must give formal notice t least one full
calendar month before the ceremony
- You must give that notice, on the official form,
properly signed and witnessed, to your chosen
Which generally means you need to have picked a date,
time, and place for your wedding well ahead.
The Good News
A Spontaneous Elopement is a great way to avoid stress,
get rid of wedding planning, and do the deed in secret
wish. It is also a great way to make sure that any
guests you do have are super-excited about the whole
thing. So the Good News is that there is nothing in the
Marriage Act that prevents you from giving notice before
you've decided on your wedding date, or before
you've told anyone, other than your celebrant, that you
are planning to marry. The month's notice is calculated
backwards from the wedding date (that is, everyone,
including your celebrant and Births, Deaths, and
Marriages when they are registering your marriage, will
check that your Notice of Intended Marriage was lodged
with your celebrant no less than a full calendar month
before the ceremony). So once you've passed that date
you can be legally married on any day for the next 17
Which basically means that having your date locked in in
your celebrant's diary is a matter of custom and
convenience. Doing it that way also makes sure that
anyone you want to invite to your wedding will have the
date locked into their diaries too.
But if you're a spontaneous couple, and you basically
just want to elope with no guests, or perhaps with a few
guests who you know will be up for a last minute text,
locking in a date months ahead isn't required.
There is one legal proviso, though. Both of you must
be in on the decision about when and where.
How to have a Spontaneous
- Give notice
- Make some decisions about ceremony style, content,
and your vows, so that I can have a ceremony
prepared. However, if you just want to go
off-the-cuff, that's fine too
- Go with the flow until it feels right
- Make the decision together
- Be flexible about time (I might have a wedding
already booked in that we need to work around)
- Give me a few hours to print the certificates, get
my lippy on, and make my way to where you are going
to say your I Dos. But if you would rather
go for a few days ahead, that's fine too.
What will you be expected to
do in the ceremony?
The same (minimal) legal stuff that has to happen in any
marriage ceremony, regardless of how far ahead it is
planned. I have to say some words from the Marriage Act
that explain I'm authorised to solemnise your marriage.
I have to recite the legal definition of Marriage in
Australia, and you have to each say to each other the
legal words that will create your marriage.
Of course, if you have them and want to exchange them.
But if not, not a hassle. It is not a legal requirement
to have rings. You'll be just as married without them.
What about Witnesses
Yes, those too. That is two. You can tell them you're
getting married when you ask them. You can invite them
to come with you or meet you there on some pretext or
other. Or we can just find a couple of strangers willing
to be your witnesses. I've never had anyone knock
back that request!
Spontaneous weddings can be great fun. I've officiated a
few and loved every one. Talk to