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 Becoming a marriage celebrant

Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants are legally allowed to perform marriages in Australia.

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

In 2016, there were over 118,000 marriages that took place in Australia. While there are nearly 9000 Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants and 23,000 ministers of religion who can perform marriages, many marriage celebrants perform few or no marriages each year.

If you become a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, you will be required to meet ongoing professional development (OPD) requirements, ensure no conflict of interest or benefit to business exists, and pay applicable fees and charges.

Application requirements

Before applying to become a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, including a religious marriage celebrant, you must complete the Certificate IV in Celebrancy – which includes marriage celebrancy units – through a registered training organisation. Alternatively a course by an approved university or celebrancy skills, including fluency in an indigenous language, meet the qualification requirements to make an application for registration as a marriage celebrant.

Requirements for training organisations delivering the marriage units are set out in the Marriage (Celebrancy Qualifications or Skills) Determination 2018.

Further information about the Certificate IV in Celebrancy qualification and list of registered training organisations delivering the qualification is available on the training.gov.au website.

Information about religious marriage celebrants can be found in the New subcategory of religious marriage celebrants fact sheet.

Fees and charges

Aspiring marriage celebrants are required to pay an application fee of $600. If your application is successful, you will need to pay an annual $240 registration charge (or part thereof, depending on the timing of your registration). An annual registration charge will apply in July each year you are registered.

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

All fees and charges are non-refundable.

Conflict of interest and benefit to business

Applicants must advise the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants of an actual or potential conflict of interest between his or her practice, or proposed practice as a marriage celebrant, and his or her business interests or other interests. An applicant must also advise whether their registration as a marriage celebrant is likely to result in the person gaining a benefit in respect of another business that they own, control, or carry out.

The Guidelines on conflict of interest and benefit to business will assist applicants to identify, disclose and avoid a potential conflict of interest or benefit to a business when applying.

Marriage celebrant application

You will need to complete the online application form, including answering questions relating to marriage law and processes, and you will be assessed on being a fit and proper person by the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants. Section 39C of the Marriage Act sets out all the matters the Registrar must take into account when considering whether a person is fit and proper.

Until you are formally notified of your registration as a marriage celebrant you should not advertise your services as a marriage celebrant, accept Notice of intended marriage forms, or solemnise marriages.

It is an offence under section 101 for a person to solemnise a marriage, or purport to solemnise a marriage unless the person is authorised to do so.

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

Disclosable Outcome

An aspect of determining whether an applicant is a fit and proper person is whether the person has been convicted of a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for one year or longer (paragraph 39C(2)(d) of the Act).

The Disclosable Outcomes Guidelines aim to assist in providing transparency to potential applicants to make an informed decision in respect of their own criminal history record and the possible impact it may have on their application.

Marriage celebrant online application form

To apply to become a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, complete the Marriage celebrant online application form. The following documents may assist with your application:

If you are unable to lodge your application online, contact the Marriage Law and Celebrants Section at marriagecelebrantssection@ag.gov.au or call 1800 550 343.

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