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  • Craig Broadbent

Can you get married overseas?

Updated: Nov 25, 2019

Todays post is brought to you by Michael Dillon, Civil Celebrant of the year in 2019 and friend of Airside Events.


“You know we must invite uncle Joe and auntie May?” “What?”, said the groom to be. “He’ll arrive drunk as a skunk and she’ll just sit there and not say anything all day. At $100 per head it’s crazy. We’ve seen them once in 10 years and that was at your sisters wedding. I’ll also remind you that uncle Joe still hasn’t managed to even produce your sisters long awaited wedding present.


“But we must invite them, Mam will go ballistic if we don’t.”


Does this sound all too familiar? Apart from relatives, there’s also the obligatory ‘friends’ who must be on the guest list. Wedding costs are spiralling out of control today and media pressure decrees that outlays will be massive before Mr & Mrs , Mr & Mr, or Mrs & Mrs can even have their first kiss as a married couple.


Destination weddings are becoming more popular. They solve many problems and couples today have a number of options.


Australian Celebrants can solemnise  weddings anywhere in Australia, including onboard ships in Australian waters or even on flights in Australian airspace. The legal minimum number of people for a wedding is 5, The couple, the Celebrant and two witnesses.

If a couple want to marry overseas, then the process and benefits are similar with just a few additional considerations.


Celebrants cannot perform a wedding overseas unless they have specific legal permission from that country. In most cases this is highly impractical. However, it does open up a number of exciting possibilities. A commitment ceremony (not legal) can be performed overseas and as long as the celebrant addresses the guests announcing it is a ‘commitment ceremony’ then the full show can commence.The gloves are off and no legal documents are signed. The couple can be pronounced Man and Wife, the bride can be given away by her father, brother or anyone she chooses. Commitment documents with family crests can be signed by the happy couple and parents. A good celebrant will make the commitment ceremony exciting, meaningful, and loving. Honoured and committed guests will have the time of their lives. A commitment ceremony can be done on the spur of the moment as there are no legal constraints and it opens that exciting magical door of elopement.


Back home in Australia when the dust has settled, a quiet casual legal wedding can be arranged. Couples have now saved serious money, have been surrounded by their loving family and loyal friends and taken a lot of angst out our their new life together.


“Darling, it’s Mam here, I’ve a bit of bad news, poor uncle Joe is not well and he and your aunt May cannot make it to your wedding in Bali.”

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