All The Legal Stuff: The Monitum & Legal Vows, by Kate Morgan, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant

Updated: Oct 8

In creating your marriage ceremony, we have a lot of freedom to include lots of fresh, modern ideas; story telling, group sing-a-longs, flash-mobs and anything else you can imagine working. Let's brainstorm!


Basically, much of your ceremony is very flexible. There are however, passages and vow’s outlined in The Marriage Act 1966, which for legal reasons, must be said during your ceremony.


Kim & Josh by Long Way Home Photography


The Monitum


The Monitum must be read by your appointed Commonwealth-registered celebrant. It is a statement of the celebrants authority to solemnise your marriage & essentially it explains or defines marriage, under Australian law.

The words are as follows:


“I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law.

Before you are married in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.

Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”


Marriage Equality & The Monitum


From the 9th December 2017 the wording of The Monitum was changed to reflect the outcome of an Australia-wide postal survey.

The question as to whether the definition of marriage could be changed from “the union of a man and a woman” to “the union of two people" was put to the country. This was a controversial debate, but ultimately, Australia said “YES.”


On a personal level, I have never hidden my support for same-sex marriage and am very happy to have been a part of the change in marriage in Australia. (In fact knowing that the Marriage Act was going to change was one of the main reasons I became a celebrant in the first place.)


Legal Vows

Making vows or promises, is usually at the heart of your ceremony. However, you are only obliged to say your LEGAL vows, to ensure your marriage is valid according to The Marriage Act.


Each party must state the following to the other party:


“I call upon the persons here present, to witness that I

(FULL LEGAL NAME OF PARTY 1)

take you (FULL LEGAL NAME OF PARTY 2)

to be my lawful wedded wife (OR husband / wife / spouse / partner in marriage.)”


Note: From 9 December 2017, vows have changed to reflect the new definition of marriage. This change allows marrying couples to make a personal choice about the terms to be used in their marriage vows that best reflect their relationship.


The term ‘husband’ can refer to a male marriage partner, and ‘wife’ to a female marriage partner, regardless of the sex or gender of the person saying the vows. The term ‘spouse’ can refer to a male, female, intersex, non-binary gender or transgender person.

. . .


You also might also like to include:

  • The Asking (the “I Do” question) for which I have a separate information sheet to email you. (Ask me about this.)

  • To write your own Personal Vows, which I go into detail about here.

*Please note, your personalised vows must not contradict or override the legal vows.


Kate Morgan is a Melbourne based wedding celebrant.

For more info visit the website: https://www.katemorgan.net.au/

#themonitum #howtowriteweddingvows #melbournemarriagecelebrant

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