Witnesses requirements for getting married in Australia

The role of official witness is an important one in any wedding. Before choosing who to ask for this special responsibility please consider all the witness requirements for getting married in Australia. 

As an experienced marriage celebrant, I get asked lots of questions about restrictions and requirements for witnesses at weddings. Here are some answers to common queries:

What is the role of a witnesses at a wedding

To witness proceedings and sign the marriage certificate. Witnesses are required to establish the identity of the people getting married and/or to testify that the marriage ceremony was performed.

 

How many witnesses to get married?

Australian law requires you to have a minimum of two witnesses at your marriage ceremony. Your official witnesses must be adults (18-years or over).

Can I have more than two witnesses at my wedding?

There is no limit to the number of people attending your wedding, but only two people will act as official witnesses, signing the official marriage certificates. 

Why is the role of witness important?

Your witnesses are often the first two people to congratulate you after you say 'I do!'. They will be by your side (and photographed with you) as you sign the marriage certificates and their signatures will appear on all the paperwork connected with your wedding.

 
Do my witnesses have to be Australian?

The witnesses are your wedding can be any nationality. They do not have to be Australian citizens or residents. 

What is the language requirements for witnesses?

Ideally the witnesses at your wedding should be able to speak and read English. This is to ensure that they have a good understanding of what's taken place during the marriage ceremony and can read and understand the paperwork that the sign.


An official translator/interpreter can be used to assist non-English speaking witnesses. Please talk to Laura about arranging this. Special paperwork is required, which must be arranged in advance.

Can witnesses be related to me?

You can choose any adult to be a witness at your wedding. This can be a relation, but doesn't have to be.

Do I need to know the witnesses at my wedding?

It is preferable for your wedding to know you, but it is not essential. In certain circumstances witnesses can be provided for you.

 

Minimum requirements for witnesses at an Australian marriage

The Australian Marriage Act requires witnesses to be:

1.

Adults

Your witnesses must be adults. This means they are are aged 18-years or older.

2.

English-speaking

They must understand what is taking place and what they are signing.

3.

2-people

A minimum of two people are required to witness you getting married.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

© 2020 Laura Craddock, Modern Sydney Celebrant

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