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Why Getting Married in Queensland is better than anywhere in the world.

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

a wedding ceremony set up on the beach in Queensland
Queensland Beach Wedding

Did you know that Australia is pretty much the only country in the world where a couple follows a simple three step process to get married? As an experienced celebrant I can tell you, getting married in QLD is about as straightforward as it gets.

Step 1: Engage a celebrant who

Step 2: Works with you to create a totally unique ceremony which can be undertaken anywhere at any time of day and

Step 3: Then the celebrant tells the government you’re married.

Easy. Peasy.

To give you a flavour of how good we have it here in Aus, here’s a snippet of some of the flaming hoops you have to jump through to get married in other places.


You and your partner must give notice of marriage in your local Register Office, whether or not you wish to marry in that district. If you live in different places, you’ll both have to go to your own local Register Office to give notice.

The Registrar then issues authority for the marriage and you can marry in any Register Office or local authority approved premises in any district.

Applications for approval must be made by the owner or trustee of the building, not the couple. The premises must be regularly open to members of the public, so no private homes. Generally, the premises will need to be permanent built structures which rules out forest or beach weddings.

Getting married in Queensland you can marry pretty much anywhere with only a few restrictions around boats and planes.

28 days notice must be given to the Register Office before the marriage can take place. You have to get married within 12 months of giving notice. A notice must state where the marriage is to take place. There is a fee for giving notice.

Here in Australia you must give 1 month’s notice, there is no fee and you don’t have to know the exact date, time or place of the ceremony when you lodge it. The notice only expires after 18 months.


To marry in the United States you need a marriage license issued by a government agency. Every state has different requirements in that some states require the license to be issued in the district in which the marriage will take place and some want it issued from where you live. Each state has a different waiting period before the license is issued and a different length of time the license will remain valid.

The Marriage Act 1961 ensures that marriages laws are the same everywhere in Australia.

Usually the state laws licensing provide any recognized member of the clergy or a judge, a court clerk, and justices of the peace have authority to perform a marriage. However in some states even the clergy must be first certified or licensed. Most civil marriages are performed by judges or notaries public.

If you’re looking at getting married in Queensland, but you have someone special in mind to hold the ceremony, that’s a possibility. In Australia anyone can do the study and pass the exams to become a celebrant. Then they make application to the Attorney General’s department where various criteria with regard to integrity and commitment to community must be demonstrated before they are granted authority as a Commonwealth Celebrant. (But let’s face it, it might be more fun if you let your nearest and dearest enjoy the day and *ahem* have and experienced celebrant run the day… I may know someone!)

Some states have laws that permit other persons to apply for authority to perform marriage ceremonies which is valid for one day — and thus officiate at the wedding of family or friends on that one day.

That’s how Joey got to marry Monica and Chandler.


Both parties must be over 21.

If you’re interested in getting married here in Queensland you’ll need to be 18. Very rarely, the courts may give approval if one of the parties between 16 and 18..

Once you’ve chosen a celebrant, you need to contact them, confirm their availability and obtain their signed consent before you can file a notice of marriage at the Registry of Marriages.

But don’t book the date until the registry confirms the date range that they approve for your marriage. You can file your notice online but after that you then attend the registry in person and fill in more forms.

In Australia you just liaise with your celebrant and they do the registry stuff.


Japanese citizens are required to submit a “Koseki Tohon” as part of the marriage registration process. This is a family register that is issued to all Japanese citizens. It is an important document that contains detailed information about a citizen's family, marital status, and other personal details.

Foreign citizens must present a certificate of legal capacity to marry issued by their respective consulate or embassy which is a document that certifies that no impediments to marriage exist, such as marital status, age, or other factors, as defined by the laws of the respective country. Once you have filled out the forms and lodged them in the family register you are married regardless of any ceremony, religious or otherwise, you may undertake to mark the occasion.

If you’re planning on getting married in Queensland you do need some form or ceremony where the minimum legal wording is heard clearly and witnessed by at least two adults. This is part of the safeguard regarding consent that is built into our marriage laws. The rest, however, is completely up to you.

In Japan, people are legally required to have only one family name when they marry.

In Australia you can keep your original name, adopt one or the other’s last name or hyphenate the two names without additional paperwork.


Anywhere and anytime.

Celebrants are fully trained in Australian Marriage Law and act on behalf of the government so you don’t have to make contact with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages yourself.

There is no fee to lodge a Notice of Intent or to Register a Marriage. You only need to pay the government if you want an official Certificate of Marriage. This costs about $60 and you only need that Certificate if you are changing your name.

The fee you pay your celebrant is not a government regulated fee (although it used to be) it is for their time, their expertise, their commitment to you and your special day and their willingness to attend ceremonies in any location at any time of day.

How and why celebrant prices vary so much might be a topic for another day. Join me next time when I’ll have a chat about pricing; how I do mine and why the cost of a celebrant varies so much. Getting married in Queensland is actually cheaper than most other Australian capital cities.

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