• BLOG
Prudence Takle, October 3 2021

The truth about virtual weddings

From online nuptials to live streaming

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Australia, I can’t tell you how many people have said jokingly-kind-of-seriously, “So you must be marrying people on Zoom now?”

Sometimes I really can’t be bothered enlightening them with the complexities of the situation so I just answer, “Heh. Yeh something like that!”

Well… Here it is. The complexity of online weddings in Australia unravelled. In hopes you or someone you know might benefit from a little more information about what’s what when it comes to getting married online.

Getting married via video conferencing is not legal in Australia

Let’s jump into the biggest topic of all – actually getting married via video link. I’m talking you on a screen, the person who is officiating your marriage on another and whoever else is involved in the marriage legalities – witnesses mainly dialing in too.

Under Australian law according to the Marriage Act 1961 CTH, marriages must still be solemnised in the physical presence of the authorised celebrant, the couple and 2 official witnesses. This extends to signing the paperwork required for a legal marriage also. Registered Commonwealth Marriage Celebrants (or alike) cannot virtually witness signatures, let alone the legally spoken words in a marriage ceremony.

Trust me, we’ve all hounded the Attorney General’s department since 2020 asking.

It comes down to the fact that marriages, in Australia are governed at a federal level. Any changes need to go through parliament. My sense is that the Victorian government (or other state governments) shutting down weddings for periods of time, probably isn’t going to outweigh the means required to make this legal. So we won’t be seeing this change anytime soon.

But it is legal in the state of Utah (and stick with me on this one…)

Utah is the first place to allow international virtual Zoom weddings for partners living in different countries. Yes, you heard me… in different countries!

Basically, you can get married according to Utah law while being in Australia and hey, your partner can even be somewhere else!

But is it legal here??!! Ah yep!

Generally speaking, marriages which are considered legal in the country which they took place will be recognised by Australian Law. So long as you’ve got a legitimate marriage certificate, you don’t need an Australian one.

And here’s an Aussie guy who did it! Read about Jeff’s Online Wedding here

For more information

You can read more about what’s involved via:

And here’s an Aussie guy who did it! Read about Jeff’s Online Wedding here

As always, you should seek independent advice if you are looking into this. Depending on your circumstance, the legalities may vary.

Live streaming a ceremony is a different thing

If you’ve watched friends get married via Zoom from the comfort of your own couch in the past 2 years, you’re not alone. Many couples have opted to share their ceremony with loved ones so they can celebrate with them, from afar.

This is a helpful way to get around guest number restrictions and border closures, while also including friends and family who are immune-compromised or unable to physically be present.

Take note: the legally binding components of this kind of marriage happen with the required people all in the same place.

I’ve found when it comes to streaming weddings, couples have opted for one of two ways of doing it:

1. D.I.Y. - streamed from a device and usually setup by a friend beforehand over Zoom or another streaming platform.

2. Fully outsourced – hiring a company to do all the work. This can commonly be handled by your videographer. But other operators offer this exclusively.

Photo by Tony Evans Weddings. Taken in Sally & James' fully live streamed lockdown wedding. Read more here.

Hopefully that simplifies the whole “online wedding” thing for you and provides some options of what is possible while couples continue to manage changing restrictions in the face of Covid-19.

If you’ve got any questions or require more information, get in touch. Just remember I can’t marry you via Zoom. 

Take care!

x Prue

Written by

Prudence Takle


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