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Making marriage easier and more accessible

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

Marriage in Australia has been updated from the age of the horse and carriage with legislation passed today making it easier to start the legal paperwork for weddings.

Amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 allow a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) to be witnessed via videoconferencing, meaning couples will no longer have to make two trips to see the celebrant in person.

Remote witnessing will be especially convenient for couples travelling from interstate for their weddings, as well those in rural, remote or regional parts of Australia.

A remote witnessing option was put in place as a temporary measure in response to COVID-19. This amendment makes it permanent.

Remote witnessing of the NOIM by authorised witnesses, in Australia and overseas, provides a much cheaper and more convenient way for couples to meet the legal requirement to give at least one months’ notice before a marriage can be solemnised under the Marriage Act.

The change is not compulsory - marrying couples can still choose to sign and witness the NOIM in person, through the traditional, paper-based method.

Authorised celebrants will still be required to meet independently and in person with each party before they solemnise a marriage, to ensure both genuinely consent to the union.

And while the paperwork has now entered the digital age there’s no change on the day itself, with the happy couple, the authorised celebrant and two official witnesses all required to be there, in person, on the day of the marriage.