Pitfalls of Destination Weddings and how Vows Now can help

I’ve just got off the phone from a bride, frustrated with bureaucracy back home following her Fijian Wedding. She is trying to change her name in Australia and is facing many barriers. Some planning before an escape to paradise, can save untold stresses when your honeymoon is over. Vows Now can help you legally marry in Australia so all you need to do is relax and enjoy yourselves at your destination wedding.

You don’t need to forgo a beautiful wedding ceremony in Thailand, Fiji or Vanuatu. By all means still have a ceremony there, but have just a ceremony that blesses your wedding. Complete the legalities in Australia before you go. It can even be your own secret that you married together in private, before celebrating in style in a tropical resort. I have helped many couples marry legally and simply before they have left the country.


Let me clarify a few things about Australian’s marrying overseas. Information provided by NSW Births, Deaths & Marriages. More info about the implications of your overseas marriage in Australia, please visit the Dept. of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Smart Traveller website

  • Under Australian law, you are legally entitled to one marriage ceremony, whether that be in Australia or overseas.
  • You are not required, nor is there a facility, to register an overseas marriage in New South Wales or any other Australian state. The Registry only records events that occur in NSW.
  • Your marriage is legally recognised in Australia, but the responsibility for registering the marriage is undertaken by the country in which it takes place.
  • To obtain evidence of your overseas marriage, it is best if you obtain a marriage certificate or any other supporting documentation before you leave the country.
  • On your return to Australia, the bride should be aware that many organisations will no longer accept overseas marriage certificates as a proof of identity document. If you want to change any documentation to your married name, its best to contact the organisation you will be dealing with and find out what their requirements are in relation to producing identification documents.
  • If an organisation requests a change of name registration document, and you were born in NSW or New Zealand, then you can apply to register a change of name at the Registry.

Some useful things you may not have known about marrying overseas:

Marriage in Thailand

If a couple wishes to have a legal wedding performed in Thailand, the couple is required to spend a week in the capital city of Bangkok before the intended wedding date so that all their documentations can be attended to properly – including all the translations that needs to be done which the couple must be present for. These documentations must be attended to before the wedding ceremony can take place.

Then after the wedding ceremony, the couple must return to Bangkok for a further 7 days – so that their marriage certificate/documentations can be finalised and the Marriage Certificate is translated and formally issued to the couple. Again the couple is required to be present for all this.

Marriage in Vanuatu

Marriages in Vanuatu are recognised in Australia, New Zealand, the United States the United Kingdom and most other countries.

Documentation can be mostly organised prior to departure. Couples do have to be in Vanuatu for three days prior to the ceremony however. Final documentation will take place during this time and it is also handy for the bride and groom to meet the wedding coordinator and choose a location.

Three weeks prior to the ceremony, the following must be faxed for filing:

  • Copies of both passports
  • Copies of both birth certificates
  • If divorced, the relevant papers
  • A completed Certificate of Intended Marriage
  • Completed Witness Forms – 2 witnesses are required but the wedding coordinator can organise witnesses if couples don’t have guests with them. Witness details needed include names, dates of birth, where born, parents’ names, place of residence and occupation.

Destination weddings are great, but sometimes the international paperwork hurdles are too high to jump over in a wedding dress. Marrying before you leave the country is an easy way to avoid hassle and holding a blessing ceremony overseas allows you to have your wedding cake and eat it too!

Want to save yourself all of the fuss and Get JUST Married®? A day trip to Vows Now on the NSW Central Coast could be the destination to save you a lot of bother. You can read here about the legal stuff to get married in Australia .

You’d never guess from the photos below that the pictures on the right are the ‘real wedding’.


Already married overseas? Need to contact the Embassy in that country to find out about your own wedding? Here is a link to Australian Embassies, high commissions, consulates, multilateral missions and representative offices



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