Australians Getting Married Overseas

Australians Getting Married Overseas

Okay Aussies. So you or someone you know wants to get married abroad. In fact, many Australians are getting married overseas as the average cost for an Australian wedding is an astounding AU$70,000. Personally, I’ve been to the weddings of Australian expats in Malta, Italy, South Korea, Bali, South Africa, Lebanon, Argentina, Thailand and Greece. Yeah, I’ve been around but it’s popular for Aussie expats because we meet and fall in love with people from all over the world. Oh Schucks!

Australians Getting Married Overseas

This article looks at the must know paperwork from the Australian side of things. We got most of this information from my own experiences as well as our friends. However, it is a general guide only and does not serve as any legal advice, it’s best to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country you want to tie the knot in. has some advise too but it’s a but hard to understand what they are on about.

That being said, let’s get started! Ozzies abroad looks at Australians getting married overseas and what you need to know.

Certificate of No Impediment to Marry (CNI)

This certificate is required by the government of the country that you wish to marry in, the clergyman or celebrant will do all the legal paperwork for you in most cases but you will need to obtain a CNI. There are other documents such as Single Status Certificate, No Record Result and Free to Marry Certificate but they are more or less the same thing. It basically says that there is no record of you currently being legally married.

Australians Getting Married Overseas

The clergyman/celebrant will let you know which one they need and they may require one issued from within Australia. If they require a CNI then you can get that online from The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, if you require a Single Status Certificate /No Results Certificate/Free to Marry Certificate you can apply online through the Department of Births Deaths and Marriages within your state. In true Aussie style, there is a lot of paperwork and a fee.

Other Considerations

If you were previously married but are now divorced then you may need to submit divorce papers to the clergyman/celebrant. Some countries may require a solicitor’s declaration that you are both free to marry. To marry in USA, you may need a blood test.

I asked one of my friends about this and he just went to the church in Dubai and they gave him a Free to Marry Certificate at no cost. The clergyman in Lebanon said he needed one from the Australian Government and my friend said that the government said it’s okay and the clergyman accepted it. Everyone then lived happily ever after.

However, I suggest you follow the rules and do it properly as nobody needs nasty last minute surprises.

Recognition Of Overseas Marriage In Australia

This part can be surprisingly confusing because in my experience no one could tell me the difference between the marriage being registered or recognized in Australia. By no one I mean the Australian consulate, Department of Births Deaths and Marriages in NSW, a celebrant and an immigration lawyer. Finally, I found out through friends that had been through the same process.

Australians Getting Married Overseas

So let me break it down for you, if the marriage overseas is performed inline with Australian law then Australia will recognize the wedding from the overseas country as a legal wedding. The paperwork that you obtained from the country overseas is sufficient for the Australian government. However, you can’t register an overseas marriage in Australia. The difference between recognized and registered is basically nothing. You cannot and do not need to register your overseas wedding in Australia and it makes no difference to your life. You may continue to live happily ever after.

It will generally be recognized if:

  • It’s recognized under the law of the country where the marriage took place
  • Both parties are at least 18 years of age
  • Neither party is married to another person at the time of marriage.

If you married overseas, you need to:

  • Make sure your marriage is registered in that country
  • Have evidence of the marriage, including official, commemorative or keepsake documents you got at the time of the ceremony.

Australians Getting Married Overseas

Popular Places to Marry Overseas

If you are considering a marriage overseas then Australian expats are going all over the world to tie the knot. As I mentioned before, I have been to my fair share of weddings outside of Australia and they were all great. Popular places for Australians at the moment are:

  • Italy– No shortage of picturesque towns and villages.
  • Barbados– Many all-inclusive packages at resorts.
  • Fiji– Barefoot on the beach. Cheap compared to Australia.
  • South Africa– Food is amazing and inexpensive and same sex marriage is legal.
  • Malta– Might not be cheap but no shortage of fun and nightlife.
  • Thailand– I’ve been to 2 weddings and they were amazing. Food is great and a lot of activities for guests.

Australians Getting Married Overseas

I must say that my favorite wedding destination was Thailand. It was a more relaxed atmosphere and the guests spent time with each other in the days leading up to wedding. The food is incredible and a beach setting is always a winner. The couples that I know that got hitched there don’t have any regrets and say that it wasn’t expensive or stressful. Another good thing about Thailand is it may be equidistant between Australia and your country of resident.

If you are marrying an Aussie, you might enjoy our article on The Culture of Australian People.

There you Have It

We hope you found this article helpful for Australian expats getting hitched overseas. All the weddings that I went to were great and I recommend making your special day outside of Australia. It’s definitely cheaper and you guest list will be smaller too. If you have any comments, suggestions or experiences then get vocal in the comments section below.

See Ya Later!


9 Replies to “Australians Getting Married Overseas”

  1. Oh my God! I am surprised that wedding in Australia is so expensive. AU$70,000 this is a lot. What is the average salary in Australia? Can people get naturalized in Australia through marriage to a citizen? When people getting married overseas, are they usually expecting many guests coming to their wedding from Australia?

    1. Hi Alla, thanks for your comment. I think the average salary is a bit less then 70k. People can get an Australian passport through marriage but they need to live in Australia for 5 years. Most marriages a pretty big depends on the family and friends. Thats why getting married outside of Australia is a good idea because the guest list shrinks. 😉

  2. Oh my God! I am surprised that wedding in Australia is so expensive. AU$70,000 this is a lot. What is the average salary in Australia? Can people get naturalized in Australia through marriage to a citizen? When people getting married overseas, are they usually expecting many guests coming to their wedding from Australia?

  3. Wow! Even though, I’m not from Australia.. I found your information really helpful.

    In a way this applies to my current situation. I’m in United States & she’s in Hong Kong. My question is: Would it be easier for me to travel to Hong Kong to do the paper work there or would it be easier for her to come to the United States to do the paper work so that we can get married? If you have recommendations, suggestions, or referrals please let me know as this is all new to me.

    I’m glad I ran into your article as I can relate. Thank you for your helpful information!

    1. Hi daniel. Not sure how it works in the USA or Hong Kong. I can only speak for Australians. If an Australian gets married in USA then the marriage is recognized in Australia.

  4. Holy smokes! That is so expensive!! I’ve been an expat living in Thailand for the past 2 years … but me and my Thai boyfriend have been talking about marriage. Hahaha… I’m not totally sure how all of this works .. but I was researching and ended up here!

    I agree that Thailand is beautiful and a perfect wedding destination! And although I have always wanted to see Australia … I can safely say now that I won’t get married there, lol!

    Thanks for the great read! 🙂

  5. Dave, this is an amazing site on a topic that I had no idea was so interesting.

    Although I am happily married, it would be fun to have our vows renewed done-under.

    Looks like you have had a lot of fun traveling, is there anywhere you have “not” been? LOL

    Great looking site – very informative, all the best to you sir!


    1. Thanks Dallas, to answer your question I’ve been to over 90 countries. If you want your vows renewed then do it in Thailand. Australia is too expensive.

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