Running away on a wild adventure to marry the love of your life is a wonderful experience not only reserved for the movies. Unlike the movies though, it does require some careful planning and preparation to truly make it the special day you’re dreaming of. In Australia, once the right processes have been filed, eloping with your lover can be an escapade limited only by your imagination. The best thing about eloping is that you can tailor it to the desires, wishes, and preferences held by you, making it a day to remember forever.

Not surprisingly, a growing number of couples seem to be turning away from the fancy embellishments of a lavish modern-day wedding, and for different reasons. It could be the fact that elopement takes away the pressure of the traditional wedding, or be related to the lower cost associated with the practice, but elopement is increasingly attracting the eyes of couples planning their lives together.

Is Eloping Without a Celebrant Legal?

A wedding ceremony simply is not for everyone, and thankfully in Australia, it’s not legally required to document a marriage. Some requirements must be met, regardless of whether you’re planning an elopement or wedding ceremony, including:

1.     Both parties being at least 18 years of age and not actively married to someone else

2.      A signed Notice of Intended Marriage (NoIM)

3.      Evidence of identity for both parties

When these requirements are met, you are then free to file your paperwork and set your elopement day. This means that your legal marriage date will differ from your elopement day but in the grand scheme of things. It matters very little, and you can always celebrate on the anniversary you decide.

Steps to Legally Elope

There is one way to legally marry in Australia without a celebrant and that is to file the marriage paperwork through the courts. This service is only offered in select locations, so it’s important to call your local courthouse to determine their dates, times, and potential fees. If you’re not close enough to a courthouse, you might find that marrying with a celebrant before your elopement day is the better option. In general, there are a few steps that need to be followed for you to legally marry.

  1. Find a Celebrant (Optional): All qualified marriage websites are listed on the Attorney General’s website, so this is probably the best place to start when officiating your marriage. This will be your person who files all of your paperwork and information with the Australian government.
  2. Complete a Notice of Intended Marriage (NoIM) form: The NoIM form, which gathers all the information for the bride and groom, must be filled out at least one month (but no more than 18 months) before the marriage date. This can be filed with your celebrant or with your local registry office.
  3. File a Marriage Certificate: This will either be done with your chosen celebrant or in your local courthouse. Filing your marriage certificate requires that specific words are used and that someone is present to officiate the process.
  4. Pay a Fee: Whether going through your own celebrant or one through the local court, there will be some fees associated with filing your paperwork. The fees to be married in the courthouse typically range from $300-500.

Benefits of Eloping

There are different reasons why couples might choose an elopement over a traditional wedding ceremony, but there are some similar benefits that many enjoy.

●      An Intimate Ceremony: When it comes to your elopement adventure, you are free to set the rules. Instead of being told where to sit or how to walk, an elopement allows for freedom, emotion, and intimacy.

●      Less Stress: Instead of worrying about family drama, food choices, or table settings, couples who choose to elope are allowed to focus on their relationship. This lowers the stress of the entire experience significantly, shifting attention back onto the things that really matter. 

●      No Expectations: Because there are no guests to attend to or expectations to meet, elopement grants couples freedom. The practice allows the bride and groom to reclaim their wedding day as their own, focusing on their involvement and feelings over other people’s happiness.

Choosing the People to Celebrate With

Deciding on the people to share your special adventure with is probably the most thinking you’ll have to do for this experience. Some couples choose to be surrounded by close friends and family, while others decide on an intimate occurrence with only the bride and groom. The beautiful side of an elopement is that, because you’re technically already legally married, you can make the decision for yourselves alone. Some people to consider celebrating with include:

●      Close Friends and Family: Instead of worrying about a guest list or extended family you don’t get along with, some couples enjoy celebrating their elopement with those closest to them.

●      A Photographer: This is one you should think long and hard about. Your elopement adventure is sure to be a beautiful, magical event that you want to remember for years to come. Consider hiring a photographer to have photos of this sacred day.

Final Thoughts

Eloping isn’t just something people choose after 3 days of knowing each other. In fact, it can be a delightful and well-thought-out adventure that can help you save money and focus on the areas of your relationship that matter most. There’s a reason so many couples in Australia are stepping away from the traditional, expensive wedding ceremony and into the more intimate experience of adventure eloping. Not only is the process completely legal, and loaded with benefits, but it can be the answer to the wedding of your dreams. 

Have a wedding experience you truly deserve! Let me handle the rest.
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