How to Elope (Legally) in Australia

3 min read
How to Elope (Legally) in Australia

Did you know that the average cost of a wedding in Australia is upwards of $36,000?

Some weddings cost in the hundreds of thousands! That is one heck of a lot of money to spend on just one day. Most of that money goes towards venue hire and food and alcohol for your guests and everyone knows that the moment you mention the word “wedding” to a supplier, the cash register dings and prices get doubled!

So it’s no wonder that many couples decide to forgo the huge expense, fuss and pressure from family and friends and opt to elope, either locally in Australia, or overseas (well over 100,000 couples tie the knot in Vegas every year).

If you are thinking of eloping, you will still need to follow these guidelines to make sure your marriage is legally recognised in Australia.

  • You must be at least 18 years of age to marry in Australia.
  • Australian law requires that each partner sign a witnessed Notice of Intended Marriage (NoIM) form a minimum of one calendar month prior to the wedding. This means you cannot elope on a whim, three days after meeting one another.
  • A registered celebrant must carry out your wedding ceremony. They will also be able to guide you through the legalities of getting married prior to the wedding and then submit all paperwork on your behalf.
  • If you were born in Australia, you must show an original copy of your birth certificate and if you were born outside of Australia, you must show your birth certificate or passport from your country of birth.

Once the legalities have been ticked off your list, the fun begins and you can plan your elopement.


bigstock Bride And Groom With Fabulous 49258895 | Stay at Home

Do you want to get married at the local registry office or somewhere else? Make sure you check with your local council whether you need to get a permit, as some public spaces like beaches and parks do incur a fee to hold a ceremony. Remember, if you are planning to get married overseas, you will need your foreign marriage certificate as evidence that the marriage took place.


pexels photo 1 | Stay at Home

Australian law says that you must have two witnesses over the age of 18 present at your wedding. Elopements are not big affairs, but you may want to consider inviting some close friends or family members to be there with you. If you are planning your elopement overseas, then you will need to make sure your guests have enough notice to have their tickets and passports ready.

Wedding dress or not?

You can wear anything you want! There is no expectation to wear a pouffy white dress and a suit (although many couples are going against tradition these days anyway).

This is your chance to splurge on an amazing outfit that you can actually wear again!

Cedros Maxi Dress - White
| Stay at Home


pexels photo 274092 | Stay at Home

You can write your own vows to personalise your ceremony or go with a short civil ceremony.



A professional wedding photographer can cost the earth, but if you do want to capture your special day with some beautiful images, there are plenty of great photographers out there who will work within your budget and needs.


Beautiful mix race couple celebrating their engagement with champagne and their friends on the beach

Some couples choose to throw a post-elopement party with their friends and family. This takes the pressure out of the wedding, but also gives everyone the opportunity to celebrate the newly married couple.

pDid you elope, or are thinking about it? I’d love to hear your experiences and why you didn’t have a traditional wedding.

How to Elope (Legally) in Australia | Stay at Home Mum

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Yuki Smith

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