Is my Destination Wedding Legal?

As you can imagine, getting married abroad and in a country with different laws, customs or religion, can present some unforeseen obstacles. If you are not prepared, things can get a little tricky and your marriage may not be recognised. Proof that you are free to get married or the requirement to reside in the host country for a period of time, are just a couple of sticking points and you may even find some religious restrictions do not recognise your wedding.

For many Aussie couples, the easy solution is to register the marriage here in Australia, but hold the actual wedding ceremony at the destination of your choice. Registering your marriage and obtaining the all important marriage certificate, can be done before or after the Wedding Ceremony.

For those who insist on the ceremony being the actual day that matrimony takes place and the marriage is pronounced, then you are required to marry by the laws of the country you are marrying in.  Providing you do this then the marriage is registered in that country and recognised in Australia.   The main difference is that if you wish to take on your partners surname you will be required to legally change your name back here in Australia via Births, Deaths & Marriages.  Once you have done this you will be able to change your passports and drives license.

A great source of advice is the Australian Government Smart Traveller Website, which explains in more detail some of the legal requirements.

You can also touch base with the embassy, Consulate or High Commission of the nation you intend to tie the knot for advice.

Alternatively the easiest option by far, is to employ a professional Destination Wedding Planner who can walk you through all of the legalities and in many cases have most of the paperwork prepared and ready to go.


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