Authorised marriage celebrants are required to ensure that the guests understand that the marriage ceremony is a legal one. Civil celebrants may only do a second marriage ceremony under certain conditions if there is doubt about the legality of the marriage.
The only exception is religious marriage celebrants who
- use their Church Marriage Rites
- are conducting a second marriage ceremony, provided they have checked that the couple are legally married
If the marriage ceremony is a civil one, Section 46 of the Marriage Act requires the marriage celebrant to say:
46 Certain authorised celebrants to explain nature of marriage relationship
- Subject to subsection (2), before a marriage is solemnized by or in the presence of an authorized celebrant, not being a minister of religion of a recognized denomination, the authorized celebrant shall say to the parties, in the presence of the witnesses, the words: “I am duly authorized by law to solemnize marriages according to law.
“Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.
“Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”;
or words to that effect.
- Where, in the case of a person authorized under subsection 39(2) to solemnize marriages, the Minister is satisfied that the form of ceremony to be used by that person sufficiently states the nature and obligations of marriage, the Minister may, either by the instrument by which that person is so authorized or by a subsequent instrument, exempt that person from compliance with subsection (1) of this section.
Ministers of Recognised Religions and Independent Religious Celebrants are able to refuse to marry a couple if doing so would conflict with their relgious organisation's beliefs and tenets. Read more here.