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Becoming a marriage celebrant

​This is the official site of the Australian Government Marriage Celebrants Program. Anything you read elsewhere that is inconsistent with this site is not accurate.

Marriage celebrants are people who are legally allowed to perform marriages in Australia.

Being a marriage celebrant is a special and important role in the community. It also attracts serious legal responsibilities. Failure to meet those responsibilities can have serious consequences.

There are a number of steps involved in becoming a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant.

You will need to:

You may only advertise your services and perform marriages once you are registered as a marriage celebrant.

Different criteria for registration as a marriage celebrant apply to people who are fluent in an Australian Indigenous language. Email us at marriagecelebrantssection@ag.gov.au for more information.

Before you apply—some things to consider

Many marriage celebrants perform few or no marriages each year as there are:

  • more than 9000 Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants
  • more than 23 000 ministers of religion who can perform marriages
  • about 121 700 marriages that took place in Australia in 2011.

Other factors that might influence your decision to become a marriage celebrant are that:

  • just paying for and completing the qualification does not mean you automatically become a celebrant
  • celebrants have high ongoing costs such as ongoing professional development, optional celebrant association fees, computer, internet access and website maintenance, business development, clothing, travel, marriage stationery, storage, office facilities etcetera.

The Coalition of Celebrant Association website has more information on deciding to become a marriage celebrant.

Fees and charges

From 1 July 2014 the Marriage Celebrants Program will operate on a full cost recovery basis. This means that aspiring marriage celebrants are required to pay a once-off application fee of $600. If your application is successful, you will need to pay a $240 registration charge before you are certified as a marriage celebrant.

In limited circumstances, an exemption from these fees and charges may be granted. Guidelines on eligibility are available below:

To apply for an exemption from the Registration Application fee, please use the below form. To apply for an exemption from the annual celebrant registration charge, please log into the self-service portal.

Application to become a marriage celebrant

To apply to become a marriage celebrant, visit the Administration page.

More information

More information about the responsibilities of celebrants is available on the For registered marriage celebrants page.

The Code of practice for marriage celebrants will help you understand a celebrant's responsibilities.

The document below also contains detailed information for marriage celebrants on marriage in Australia. It will give you an idea of the types of issues a celebrant deals with.