How to Elope in Australia in 2021 Best Tips

My aim is to make this a pretty informative guid of how to elope in Australia in 2021.

So you’re considering eloping in Australia this year? Or perhaps you’ve already decided. Eloping is a semi-new trend for our great nation so you’re probably wondering how do I actually elope in Australia in 2020. Legally, what’s involved. What are some best practices. Where should we elope and so on and so forth.

If only you knew someone who’d been capturing elopements around the nation for the last 5 years. Who’d seen a few things and knew a few things. Well let me introduce myself. I’m Josh, and I’m an Australian wedding & elopement photographer and in this article I am hoping to give you a pretty exhaustive and practical explanation of how to elope in Australia this year.

Obviously the elephant in the room right now is perhaps the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Australian Government yesterday announced that it’s banning all non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people (Including weddings)

Pretty heavy times if you were planning a big wedding or just a medium sized indoor wedding for the next 6 months. If you’re thinking of shrinking your wedding down to below 100 but not so much eloping. Don’t worry I’m going to have some great tips in this article for you too so you can plan a beautiful intimate wedding in this complicated times.

How to elope in Australia

First things first:

How to get Elope in Australia Legally

Whats actually legally required to have an elopement in Australia?

Technically speaking I guess. There is no way to legally run off to the Elvis Chapel in Brizvegas and elope on a drunken whim in Australia. You need to give a minimum of 1 months notice.

To get married in Australia, you must:
* not be married.
* not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister.
* be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where 1 person is 16-18 years old.
* understand what marriage means and freely agree to marry.
* use specific words during the ceremony.
* give a notice of intended marriage form to an authorised marriage celebrant at least 1 month and no more than 18 months before your wedding.
* be married by an authorised marriage celebrant.

“Australia has no residency requirements for marriage. Foreigners can marry as soon as they arrive providing they are free to do so. Before getting married both partners have to sign a declaration stating that there is no legal impediment to the marriage.

Civil and religious marriages are both legally binding in Australia and can take place in any location. Australian marriages are widely recognised by other countries. If in doubt about the legality in a particular country, check with the relevant embassy or consulate. Some European countries require an Apostille Stamp on the marriage certificate to authenticate it.” – Anglo

How to elope in Australia

Remote locations & Celebrants

If you’re considering taking advantage of the lack of guests and thinking of somewhere quite remote for your elopement you might be wondering. How much is it going to cost to get a celebrant to hike a mountain with us or drive all the way out from the airport to this crazy beautiful beach we’ve found.

How to elope in Australia

There’s a few ways to tackle this depending on your objective. Some couple aren’t so focussed on the legal as the symbolic nature of their ceremony. If that’s the case having a celebrant come out to your location might not be at the top of your list of importance. You might be down for heading to the registry office on the way home from your elopement to get the paperwork done.

My personal recommendation though,(like the couple above) is to have your celebrant meet you at your airbnb and do the legal paperwork there before you head out on your big hike or to your adventurous location. Then you can had off to the top of the mountain and do your own vows in with just each other, or the small amount of guests who’ve been willing to brave the climb with you. It makes it such an intimate setting and I absolutely love it.

How to elope in Australia

If you’re looking for a solid direction of celebrants around the country Australian Marriage Celebrants Inc has a great list. Wherever you choose to do you definitely want to take your time choosing a celebrant for your elopement. They definitely have a lot of ability to set the tone for the day and the biggest moments of it. So make sure you’ve got a really good connection with them and you understand what they’re going to do with the ceremony so you don’t get any surprises mid way through a really meaningful moment.

Witnesses for your elopement

You need two witnesses to sign on your marriage certificate to make it legal on the day. Your celebrant can’t be one of them. But I can. I’ve had the privilege of being a witness at a few elopements now and it’s a pretty exciting thrill to be so close to the action that your name is actually on the couple’s certificate forever!

If you’re not keen on having my name or your airbnb host’s names on your marriage certificate forever. Be sure to plan ahead with who you’re bringing and let em know they’ll have some official duties.

As much as there is an incredible intimacy to a ceremony thats just you two. I do highly recommend bringing a small troop of nearest and dearest to celebrate with you. I think it absolutely ads a crucial element to the beauty of the celebration. I firmly believe that marriage isn’t just between two people but it takes a community to keep a marriage strong so I think it’s fitting to symbolise that with your closest friends and family there with you.

How to elope in Australia

Choosing your location

Australia has no shortage of stunning locations for you to consider eloping. Currently COVID-19 hasn’t grounded all flights domestically so you can still get around. But you’d probably be surprised how much beauty there is within driving distance of your house.

Everyone is going to have different thoughts about what’s most important in location. Keeping it super simple you could literally scour Airbnb for the perfect tiny house or cabin to escape away with a stunning view over a valley or river. There’s so many special places around this country if the view and location is the most important thing.

I’m compiling a pretty exhaustive list of my top 50 locations in Australia to elope. That I’ll be posting out next week. If you’re stuck for a location though. Shoot me an email and I can share some of my favourites off the list. Or you can click here, here or here to see some of my absolute favourite elopements I’ve been able to capture and you might get some inspiration.

If you’ve got a special location that means a lot to you both as a couple or has significance for you and your family that’s always a good place to start too.

Picking your elopement vendors

The average Aussie wedding costs over $40,000 I’m sure you can imagine how those numbers can shrink a little when you’re not paying for $150 people’s three course dinner and an open bar. One of the great things about this. Is that you can really prioritise the vendors you want and get the best of the best. Everyone’s got their own list but the key vendors for your elopement are probably.


dressmaker / tailor


Photo / video

Chef / caterer

That’s pretty much all you’ll need. And even some of that is optional. I’ve had bride’s make their own bouquet out of flowers they picked from the bush on the side of the road on the way to the ceremony & the catering is probably optional too. When picking your vendors take the time to explain your vision for the day.

Take the time to go through their website and discern whether they’ve just worked in cool places or their work actually stacks up. Ask enough questions and I think always try to meet up or at least have a Skype session to get a feel for who you’re working with. Especially the celebrant and photographer or videographer. They’ll be part of a very small group of people you’re sharing this experience with so if they don’t feel like family it’s got huge potential to mess with the vibe.

Catering your elopement

If you’re worried about having to make your own dinner for your elopement you’d be surprised how many chefs will come and cook in your airbnb these days. If you’re keen on having an incredible feast and you happen to be eloping in Tasmania (Which I highly recommend you can get Sarah Glover to come and cook magical feasts over a fire for you and your friends. If you’re in NSW then The Wilderness Chef is definitely worth having a chat to. I have experienced first hand his magical skills. You’ll find mobile caterers in most locations around the traps but you there’s nothing wrong with cooking up a feast with your closest friends back at your accomodation either.

Elopement Guide

I hope this has been helpful for showing you how to elope in Australia this year. If you need any help at all planning your own elopement. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I absolutely love shooting elopements & intimate weddings and I would be super excited to start the conversation about how we can work together on your big day. If you’re not thinking of eloping at the moment but you are in the midst of trying to figure out how to navigate wedding planning during the Coronavirus pandemic click here to read my post on how to work around the current restrictions.

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