On 9 December 2017, amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 meant that the right to marry in Australia is no longer determined by gender. This also meant that the legal wording that a celebrant must use in your ceremony has also changed.
The Monitum at Wedding Ceremony
A civil marriage celebrant is required to recite a monitum (a latin word meaning ‘warning’) from the Marriage Act, that informs a wedding couple of the legal expectation of the binding nature of marriage within Australia. The new definition of marriage is now reflected in the monitum. Please note that all registered civil celebrants are required to explain the nature of the marriage relationship as part of a wedding ceremony. Therefore, I will say:
I am duly authorised by law to solemnise 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.
The Marriage Act sets out the vows required to be said by parties to a civil marriage ceremony (where the celebrant is not a minister of religion). The vows now reflect the current definition of marriage and each party to the marriage will be required to say:
I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take you, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband, or spouse).
This change allows marrying couples to make a personal choice about the terms to be used in their marriage vows that best reflect their relationship. The term ‘husband’ can refer to a male marriage partner, and ‘wife’ to a female marriage partner, regardless of the sex or gender of the person saying the vows. The term ‘spouse’ can refer to a male, female, intersex, non-binary gender or transgender person.
You can, of course, say additional words as part of your vow exchange. This can be discussed as part of creating the ceremony script for your wedding. I will help you in any way possible to ensure that your wedding ceremony is just the way you want it, with the proviso that we include the legal wording requirements.
Order of Ceremony
The order of ceremony provided here is a very basic ceremony showing the suggested order of service and in red the words which must be included in your marriage ceremony according the requirements of the Marriage Act, There are many different ways that couples choose to express their love and commitment to each other; and I am happy to discuss these with you so that your ceremony can be exactly as you would like it to be.