How to tie the knot Down Under - A guide for British Brides (and Grooms!)


By Stephen Lee
Sydney Marriage Celebrant | Young Modern Male | Stephen Lee Celebrancy

It’s a nuptial nightmare – spending hours and most of your bank balance getting yourself looking like a million dollars for your big day, only to have to pick your way through muddy puddles and arrive at a wedding washout.
Just ask this poor bride in Scotland:

A TEENAGE bride was forced to get married in a dirty park in the rain when council staff locked her out of her wedding venue.

Catriona Scobie, 19, had planned a dream wedding to fiance Kevin Drysdale at the historic County Hall in Cupar, Fife.

But her plans came crashing down when the wedding party arrived at the venue to find it locked up.
Instead, the couple had to traipse across a muddy park in pouring rain to get married in a bandstand splattered with pigeon droppings.

“I’ve got shoes caked in dog poo and a dress that needs to be specially dry cleaned.”

So it’s hardly surprising that many Brits decide to opt for much better weather and get married in Australia. As we all know, the sun never stops shining here (well almost!) and there are some pretty amazing locations to choose from. Saying “I do” in the Sydney summer sunshine, with parakeets and kookaburras in the trees, the harbour glistening, the bridge as a backdrop and the sky a piercing blue – that’s the dream, right? But what about the practicalities?

Having answered lots of questions from one British couple I am about to marry, I thought it would be useful to share the knowledge (as well as the love!)

Is an Australian marriage legal in the UK?
Most definitely! An Australian marriage is recognised worldwide as legally binding. In the eyes of the law, your marriage will be no different to one conducted in the UK.

Where can I get married?
Absolutely anywhere you like. Unlike the UK where you have to choose a venue or location officially licenced for weddings, in Australia you can get married anywhere. In a park, on a boat, on the beach, in your sitting room, underwater, up a mountain, wherever – the choice is yours!

If you choose one of the many wonderful parks by the harbour, you may need to obtain a permit. For example, North Sydney Council requires one but only if you have more than 60 guests. Otherwise you just turn up, pick your spot, and say your vows – all for free.

Your chosen celebrant will be able to advise you further on location requirements, or point you in the right direction.

When can I get married?
Anytime 24/7. Just make sure you find a celebrant who’s a morning person if you decide on a 4am sunrise wedding!

Who can marry me?
Australia has a wide choice of official Civil Marriage Celebrants. Choose one who can write you a personal and unique ceremony and who you feel comfortable with. If you don’t have a personal recommendation, Google is your best friend here.

What documents do I need?
You’ll have to show proof of date and place of birth, and official photographic ID. But you wouldn’t be in Sydney if you didn’t have your passports with you, right? And that's all you need if you were both born in the UK and have British passports.

How long before we can get married?
Your celebrant will complete a Notice of Intended Marriage for you which needs to be lodged at least one calendar month before your wedding day, and no more than 18 months ahead. If you’re living here, or arrive well ahead of your planned wedding, no worries.

If you are outside of Australia, the Celebrant can post you the completed form for you to sign and return (or you can scan and email if time is short). If abroad, you’ll need a Public Notary to witness it. Your celebrant will advise you further in this special circumstance.

Do I have to register the marriage with the General Records Office in the UK?
No. As Australia is a Commonwealth country, there is no requirement, reason or need.

Can I apply for a British Marriage Certificate?
No. Your Australian-issued certificate is sufficient and acceptable for all purposes.

So what are you waiting for?

Stephen Lee is a Sydney based Australian Marriage Celebrant (and also a Brit!)



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Stephen Lee Celebrancy

Stephen Lee wants to marry you! A male Sydney Marriage Celebrant who can make sure that the moment you exchange vows is a deeply personal one. Your wedding will be unique - written just for you in the way you want it. Ill take you through the legal steps and offer lots of ideas.

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