Take Advantage of the Golden Sunshine within ‘The Lucky Country!’
We are blessed to live within a country where eloping is completely legal and quite an easy process. There is some planning and paperwork involved, but once you understand what’s required to ensure you’re married in the eye of the law, you’re ready to embark on this adventure!
It’s not quite as simple as popping on your hiking boots with a beautiful dress and venturing off into the wilderness to elope at sunset, but I can assure you, it isn’t too far off of that either!
If you’ve always dreamed of an Australian elopement, but aren’t an Australian citizen – that’s completely fine! We don’t have any restrictions on who can and can’t elope within this beautiful country. The same goes for same-sex couples. Everyone can have the Australian elopement of their dreams!
Firstly, let’s go through the legal side of things and what’s required for an Australian elopement:
- In Australia, you must be at least 18-years old to marry.
- In accordance with Australian law, every couple must individually sign a witnessed Notice of Intended Marriage (NoIM) form at least one calendar month prior to your wedding. Therefore, unfortunately, you can’t decide to elope legally 3-days from now.
- You must have a registered celebrant in attendance to officiate your ceremony. They will also be able to provide insight and walk you through all the legalities of your wedding before the day. As well as collecting and submitting all of the paperwork on your behalf!
- Two witnesses will be required – this could be from a small group of loved ones you’ve invited. However, if it’s just you and your partner, your officiant generally will organise these for you. (Your vendors including your photographer, videographer etc. can also act as witnesses)
- If you were born in Australia, you must provide a copy of your birth certificate. If you were born outside of Australia, you must show either a copy of your birth certificate or your passport. If you have been married previously, documents of divorce must also be provided.
A Legal Ceremony or a Symbolic Ceremony?
Once these have been ticked off of your list, you can move on to more fun aspects of planning! Woohoo! For example, will you have a symbolic ceremony or a legal ceremony? If your head is slightly spinning and you have no idea what the difference is, that’s okay, let me explain!
A legal ceremony is what takes place with your celebrant where you exchange legal vows and sign all of the required paperwork. A symbolic ceremony is where you’ve conducted all of the legal requirements at a registry office before the ceremony and can now exchange rings and read your vows without a celebrant present.
A symbolic ceremony is perfect if you’re looking to have a truly private ceremony, often just you and your love. Some couples opt to have symbolic ceremonies if their location doesn’t allow ceremonies but does allow photos (Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park being an example of this.) It also alleviates the stress of organising a celebrant for more elusive locations, both within Australia and overseas.
Planning Your Adventure and Acquiring Your Permits!
There are an abundance of elopement locations across Australia – there truly is something for everyone! If you’ve got your heart set on a specific location, I would encourage you to search for the perfect Airbnb in the immediate area. It’s also important to be mindful of the climate and how that will impact what you’re doing (If you’re not fussed about the weather, try to avoid “peak” periods. Fewer people will be in the area and accommodation prices tend to be lower.)
If you’re choosing to elope on public land, a permit will usually be required for both wedding ceremonies as well as photography sessions. If you apply for a ceremony permit, generally this will also cover the photography aspect as well.
There is a lot of freedom and flexibility when it comes to elopements, but I would encourage you to always seek out a permit and not run the risk of being stopped without one. This could result in an extensive fine as well as a premature end to your day! Some parks also require written permission to carry particular florals into the grounds, so keep this in mind when seeking out further permit information. Please refer to the below list for further information for permits within each state.
- Parks Victoria here.
- Parks Tasmania here.
- Parks NSW here.
- Parks Western Australia here.
- Sunshine Coast, QLD here.
- South Australia here.
- ACT here.
Important reminder: Please Be Mindful of Your Surroundings!
It’s so important to remember to be kind to our environment – we’re so incredibly lucky to have such a beautiful country that provides an abundance of picturesque locations to explore. Always seek out the correct permission, be kind and respectful of sacred sites and always leave the area the way you found it, taking any rubbish or litter with you.
Finding the Right Photographer for Your Love Story
Finally, I would encourage you to find an experienced photographer and/or videographer to shoot your special day. Elopements are incredibly personal and intimate, there isn’t a large party to hide behind – you wear your heart on your sleeve and it’s important to have the right person to capture that.
Within an elopement, you should always prepare for the unexpected. Whether that’s the weather, lighting or even an unplanned adventure that may arise! You need someone quick on their feet who can come up with ideas on the spot to perfectly tell your story.
I place great importance upon growing to know each couple to capture the sweet gestures, the small glances shared in the “in-between” moments and the genuine love experienced on your day. Having worked within the industry for many years, I have extensive experience with both weddings and elopements. I pride myself on being one of your support systems!
I’m here to answer any questions you might have, to provide solutions to any problems that may arise and to ensure that you have one of the most wondrous days of your life with your greatest love through great planning and preparation.
If you do have any queries or would like to discuss anything further, please don’t hesitate to contact me! Let’s make your dream a beautiful reality!