How To Become A Marriage (Wedding) Celebrant In Australia?

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Students want to know how much it costs to become a wedding celebrant in Australia.


Are you passionate about helping people and making their special occasions memorable? Then a career as a marriage celebration could be right for you.


A celebrant is a person who performs, celebrates, and manages formal ceremonies. Besides weddings, he also conducts other traditions such as baby naming, renewal of vows, and memorial rites.


To become a celebrant for weddings and perform related services in Australia, you must complete Certificate IV in Celebrancy and pass an interview assessing your knowledge of marriage laws.


This blog discusses the job profile, personal and educational requirements, courses, and salary of a marriage or wedding celebrant, along with the necessary steps to pursue this career in Australia.



1. What Is Celebrancy?


Celebrancy is a social profession that came into practice in Australia on the 16th of July, 1973.


Lionel Murphy, Attorney-General and High Court Justice of Australia, brought the concept of modern celebrity.


The primary objective of the celebrancy program is to authorise persons to perform and oversee legal marriages and ceremonies for non-church people.


Celebrants perform weddings, house dedications, baby namings, funerals, and other life ceremonies for people who don't want to marry or perform ceremonies in a registry office or church.



2. Who Is A Celebrant In Australia?


A celebrant is a person who performs ceremonies that mark some of the most significant milestones in the life of a person.


From discussing the event needs with the couple to assisting the newly marrieds with the documentation, a celebrant gets fully involved in making their grand occasion more special and memorable.


Though they are a central part of events and ceremonies like weddings, they occasionally officiate rituals like funerals and memorials.



3. Who Is A Registered Marriage Celebrant?


A licensed wedding celebrant is legally approved to marry couples in Australia. He may belong to any of the following categories:


  • Civil marriage celebrant

  • Religious marriage celebrant

  • The celebrant of an independent religion

  • Minister of a religious marriage celebrant


Technological advancement allows a licensed marriage celebrant to "apply to register marriages online".



4. What Are The Duties Of A Celebrant In Australia?


A registered marriage celebrant must perform the following duties:


  • Officiate weddings per the Marriage Regulations 2017 and the Australian Government's Marriage Act 1961

  • Check the couples' documents to ensure that there is no valid reason that would prevent them from getting married on legal grounds.

  • Assist couples with the documentation and paperwork 

  • Discuss with them the best ways to design a tailored ceremony

  • When officiating a funeral, a celebration has to soothe the frantic family members and help them overcome their sorrow.

  • Adhere to the continuing professional development commitments that require a marriage celebrant to complete 5 hours of continuing professional development every year. Failing to do this can lead to the cancellation of the registration.

  • A celebrant must communicate about any conflict of interest between their celebrant role with their business interests.



5. The Most Important Traits And Skills Celebrants In Australia?


You can make a successful career in Celebrancy if you are born with the following general traits:


  • Confidence

  • An open mind

  • Non-judgemental

  • Creative approach

  • Attention to detail

  • Good people skills

  • Clear and effective communication 

  • Adaptability

  • Collaboration

  • Good grooming and personal hygiene

  • Humour (when appropriate)

  • Friendliness & approachability



Here Are A Few Desirable Job-Specific Skills For an Australian Celebrant:


  • Fluency in the native language of Australia

  • Ability to mediate with clients and other community members when preparing for a marriage ceremony

  • Ability to officiate a marriage ceremony with the necessary documentation and as per the Marriage Act 1961 and Marriage Regulations 2017


Visit the Marriage (Celebrancy Qualifications or Skills) Determination 2018 and Section 39 of the Marriage Regulations 2017 to learn more about the necessary qualifications and skills.



6. Desired Qualifications To Become A Celebrant In Australia


A celebrant must legally be authorised and registered to perform a marriage ritual in Australia.


The following are the qualifications needed to become and work as a celebrant legally in Australia:


  • Should be more than 18 years of age

  • Should know the rules and laws related to religion. It is necessary because a celebrant must not discriminate against marrying couples based on race, gender, and religion.

  • Should complete a wedding celebrant course, i.e. Certificate IV in Celebrancy from a registered training organisation

  • Should pass a National Police Check to confirm that they don't have a criminal conviction

  • Should pass a Fit and Proper Test (carried out via interviews and references)



7. Steps To Become A Celebrant In Australia


You do not need formal qualifications in Australia to conduct a funeral service. However, you need to be a registered celebrant to perform marriages.


Follow the below steps to learn how to become a celebrant in NSW and all other states of Australia:



Step 1: Complete a Certificate IV in Celebrancy from an RTO such as TAFE.



Step 2: After completing your marriage celebrant training, duly fill out and submit an online application form to the Australian Government department with an application fee of $600.


While filling up the online application process, you have to provide the following details and attach valid proof against each entry:


  • Qualification

  • Date of birth

  • Approval from your religious organisation or body (if you want to apply for ministers of religion)

  • Information regarding your existing registration of celebrancy (optional) 

  • A consent form to conduct a national police history check

  • Two references along with contact details.



Step 3: Answer a set of legal questionnaires related to the laws and legal procedures concerning marriage.



Step 4: The next step is an assessment by the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants to confirm that you are a legally 'fit and proper person to officiate ceremonies.


  • Once an applicant applies, it takes around three months to receive the application's status (approved/rejected). The status of the application is conveyed by email.



Step 5: You become an authorised celebrant in Australia on successful application. Applicants need to pay a yearly registration fee amount of $170.



Step 6: It is important to note that a celebrant should meet various professional development benchmarks yearly to keep the registration active. Click here to learn more about Ongoing Professional Development for registered celebrants.



8. Nationally Accredited Celebrancy Courses And Certifications



Online Celebrancy Courses


Online classes are an excellent way to enhance your skillset in celebrancy. The course allows you to take the training at your convenience and a much lesser cost than campus-based classes.



Certificate IV Celebrancy (Online)


The course offers in-depth training on several ceremonies, including weddings, baby naming, and funeral service. It aims at training students with the right skills to become confident official celebrants.



Certificate IV in Celebrancy - Australian Celebrations


Australian Celebrations Training is a registered training organisation and among the top provider of celebrant training throughout Australia.


Their courses are planned by experienced celebrants and professional course designers to make them student-friendly, enriching, and of actual use in a celebrity career.



Celebrancy Training Course - Celebrant Training Australia


The institute provides three fundamental celebrancy courses and training workshops via online and Zoom delivery methods throughout Australia.


  • Online Naming Course

  • Online Funeral Course

  • 3-day Funeral Course via Zoom



Certificate IV in Celebrancy


The course teaches the techniques to interview couples/clients and design weddings and other events such as engagements, memorials, baby namings, and vow renewals.


The graduate course prepares students to open their celebrancy business and apply to the Attorney General to work as registered marriage celebrants.



Certificate IV in Celebrancy - Academic And Vocational Training 


In addition to the above certification course, the training centre offers three other courses to become a marriage celebrant in NSW.


  • Marriage Celebrant Training Course

  • Funeral Celebrancy Course

  • The Ultimate Professional Celebrant



9. Job Prospects In Celebrancy


Since 1999, civilian wedding celebrants in Australia have officiated over 1 million ceremonies. Over the last 40 years, the concept of Celebrancy has grown significantly, with around 734 religious celebrants and 23,000 ministers of recognised religions working across Australia.


As of 2022, around 9,177 Commonwealth Registered marriage celebrants have performed civil ceremonies in Australia.


The above data clearly shows that more and more people in Australia like the idea of civil ceremonies to conduct life events flexibly and personally. This is leading to an increased demand for qualified celebrants in the country.


Presently, you will find celebrants working in all prominent states of the country, specifically Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. Most celebrants prefer to work independently on a pay-per-contract basis.


Besides marriages, celebrants also conduct less formal events like baby naming ceremonies. The country's ageing population also sees a continuous need for celebrants officiating at funerals and commemorations.


The irrefutable trend will grow dramatically, translating to enormous employment openings for celebrants nationwide.



10. How Much Is A Marriage Celebrant Salary In Australia?


Those who wish to become celebrants should take a few moments to do due diligence and understand how much you can earn from working as a celebrant in Australia.


The marriage statistics in Australia show that around 80k celebrant-conducted marriages are performed annually in the country on average. With nearly 10k qualified and active celebrants, a single celebrant can officiate eight weddings yearly.


There is no fixed salary in this profession. The pay scale of a celebrant is determined based on the nature and duration of the ceremony. Considering the work influx, a celebrant can perform nil to several weddings in a year.


An average Australian marriage celebrant earns between $AUD 500 to 850 per wedding ceremony. An experienced marriage celebrant can expect to earn around $AUD 4,000 to $ 6,800 per annum by officiating ceremonies.


On the other hand, the annual average earnings of an independent Australian civil celebrant is between $5,000 to $10,000 per year.


Where couples in Western Australia spend around $590 on a marriage officiant, South Australian and Tasmanian couples spend about $590 and $515 on average.



11. How Much Does It Cost To Become A Celebrant In Australia?


To become a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant in Australia, you must submit an online application form and a one-time and non-refundable application fee.


Presently, the fee is $400. Click here to check the latest application fee amount.


Once your application is accepted, you must pay the registration fee of $ 170 for the first year. Click here to find the latest registration charges.


Candidates who meet particular conditions can skip the application fee amount. To reap the exemption benefit, they need to pay $30 and get a full application fee waiver.


Conditions for exemption of fee are: 


  • You reside in a remote area

  • Not more than one marriage celebrant shares the same postcode as yours.


Candidates who meet this category can apply for an exemption here.


In addition to the above application fee, you must add the expense incurred to get Certification IV in Celebrancy. To keep your cost minimum, you can plan to join a school that offers marriage celebrant courses online free of cost. 


Alternatively, you can join nationally accredited campus-based courses that charge an average fee of $900-1000 for a single celebrancy course.



12. Conclusion


Most people want to become wedding celebrants because of the happiness they will witness in marriage ceremonies with wedding couples. 


It is truly a rewarding career that gives you emotional fulfilment while you earn. By getting qualified and following the above steps, you can also make a gratifying career in celebrancy.


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