Christians see marriage as a life-long commitment between a man and a woman—made publicly and before God, involving promises and responsibilities. Christians believe God created men and women to love each other and to love him, and that God gave us the gift of marriage. So, God is the one who has the right to say what the promises and responsibilities of marriage should be. To be married before God involves committing to the view that:
Marriage is for life.
It is exclusive, and comes before all other human relationships.
It involves a total commitment.
Marriage is the setting for intimacy, union and fulfillment between a man and a woman.
It is the environment in which God desires children to be nurtured.
The marriage service used by the Anglican Church in Australia, expresses this Christian view of marriage. In the promises you make before God, and one another, you will be saying that you agree to commit yourself to this Christian understanding of marriage.
Some things you will need to check before thinking about marriage
Baptism: The church’s requirement is that either the bride or bridegroom is baptized. Proof of Baptism is required. You will need to provide the priest with a copy of your baptismal certificate. If neither is baptised, then it is not possible for the wedding to be held in the church. Should you wish to be married in the church, either the bride or bridegroom or both will need to be baptised prior to the wedding date and a baptism preparation course will need to be attended.
If you are divorced: If either the bride or bridegroom is divorced, the divorced person will need the Bishop’s permission to re-marry. The priest will make the application on your behalf. You will also need to provide the priest with original copies of your decree absolute papers.
Should you wish to have your wedding take place in a location other than the church, permission will need to be sought from the Bishop. This will only be granted if it is an appropriate pastoral response for the couples’ particular situation. It is not the priest’s preference to conduct weddings outside the church, but will be considered on a case by case basis.
The Commonwealth Marriage Act requires that:
You are not married at the moment. Both of you have attained the age of 18 years.
In the case of a divorce, that the decree has become Absolute before the new marriage takes place.
The Commonwealth Marriage Act also requires that people who intend to marry give 31 clear days notice of their intention to a marriage. The Notice of Intention to get Married (NOIM) form must be signed in the presence of the marriage celebrant. The priest will help you complete this in his presence. You will need to provide formal proof of identification. Specific documents are required.
Prior to the wedding taking place the bride and groom must make a statutory declaration in the presence of the priest stating that there is no legal impediment to the marriage.