Who can be a Witness at a Wedding

Who can be a Witness at a Wedding

It is a legal requirement in Australian marriages to have two people over the age of 18 witness your marriage.

As a Marriage Celebrant in Sydney I am occasionally asked to conduct an intimate ceremony where the couple, for various reasons, don’t want any guests present. This poses a great problem because it is an obligation that two people, who meet the requirement, that of being over 18, are present to witness the couple exchange their legal vow. The legal vow is where the couple say each other’s names and their intention to become the other’s spouse.

For example, “I James henry Osbourne take you Sally Joan Smithers to be my lawful wedded wife.”

Followed by the brides declaration, “I take you Sally Joan Smithers take you James henry Osbourne to be my lawful wedded husband.”

It is interesting to note that the witnesses do not need to be known to the couple and I have, on the rare occasion supplied witnesses in order to meet the legal requirements.

Generally, however it is a well-considered decision for the couple. It is a great honour to be asked to sign the documents and couples usually acknowledge this by choosing people who hold special places in their hearts. Mostly the bride and groom choose one person each to provide equality but it really reduces down to personal choice.

In my experience the most popular choices have been the best man and matron of honour or the mother’s of the couple. I have been at a wedding where they have pulled the names from a hat, which caused great delight and anticipation.

Having said that it is imperative that the witness speaks and writes English and understands what they are signing.

As an added service to my couples I can supply, if required, a skirted signing table and two chairs, as pictured in the featured image.

If you require more information regarding this topic please contact Mary Ord, a Sydney based Marriage Celebrant