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Become a marriage celebrant

How to become an authorised marriage celebrant.

What it means to be a marriage celebrant

To legally marry people in Australia, you must be an authorised marriage celebrant.

There are 4 types of authorised marriage celebrants:

  • Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants
  • Commonwealth-registered religious marriage celebrants
  • ministers of religion, who are registered with the state and territory registries of births, deaths and marriages
  • state and territory officers

A Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant is a celebrant that is registered by us.

There are over 9000 Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants in Australia. Some perform many marriages each year, while others only perform a few or none.

As a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, you’ll play an important role in your community. You will also have legal responsibilities.

Qualifications to be a marriage celebrant

To register as a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, you must have either:

The Marriage (Celebrancy Qualifications or Skills) Determination 2018 has information about the required qualifications and skills.  

If you are fluent in an Australian Indigenous language, there are different criteria. You should email us for information.

Rules for marriage celebrants

To be a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, you must follow the rules in the:

We publish guidelines for marriage celebrants. These guidelines may help you understand your responsibilities.

Rules about religion

You cannot discriminate against marrying couples based on:

  • race
  • religion
  • sex
  • gender

As a new Commonwealth-registered celebrant, you must perform all types of ceremonies even if they don’t match your religious beliefs.

Only religious marriage celebrants can choose to perform marriages in line with their religion.

To identify as a religious marriage celebrant, you must be a minister of religion. They are authorised to marry people in line with the rites or customs of a religious organisation or body.

Ongoing professional development

As a marriage celebrant, you must complete 5 hours of ongoing professional development (OPD) every year.

This includes:

  • activities we set
  • activities you choose

You may be disciplined if you don’t complete OPD, unless we give you an exemption.

You don’t have to complete OPD in your first year as a celebrant if:

  • you have just been registered as a marriage celebrant, and
  • you were awarded a Certificate IV in Celebrancy in the 12 months before the date you were registered

We will tell you about your OPD obligations if you are registered.

Conflict of interest

You must tell us if there is a possible conflict of interest between your role as a marriage celebrant and:

  • your interests in a business
  • your interests in another area

A conflict does not mean we won’t accept your application. But you must tell us that the conflict exists. This helps us make an informed decision.

Download the conflict of interest guidelines:

Criminal history

When you apply to be a marriage celebrant, we will conduct a national police history check.

This is to find out if you have a criminal conviction that is:

  • punishable by imprisonment for 1 year or more, and
  • against a law of the Commonwealth, or a state or territory.

The results of the police check are called disclosable outcomes.

Find out how we handle disclosable outcomes:

Application fees

You must pay a one-off $600 application fee when you apply to be a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant.

Your first year’s annual registration charge is due if your application is accepted (this has been waived for the 2020-21 financial year).

If you meet special criteria, you can apply to not pay the application fee.

Apply to not pay the application fee

You may be allowed to not pay the application fee if:

  • you live in a remote or very remote area
  • there is not more than 1 marriage celebrant who lives in your area and has the same postcode as you

You must pay a $30 fee to apply for this exemption. If we approve your application, you won’t need to pay the application fee or first year’s registration charge.

You can apply for an exemption via the application portal.

Apply to be a marriage celebrant

When you have received your Certificate IV in Celebrancy, complete the online application form.

If you can’t complete your application online, please email us at marriagecelebrantssection@ag.gov.au.

Until you are a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, you cannot:

  • Accept a notice of intended marriage or solemnise marriage ceremonies
  • advertise your services

During the application process you will need to provide evidence of:

  • your qualification
  • your date of birth
  • for ministers of religion, approval from your religious organisation or body, and a copy of its wedding ceremony

You will also need to provide information if you have been an authorised celebrant before.

In the application, you will need to complete and attach:

We should be able to reach you at all times while we review your application, in case we need more information. If we won’t be able to reach you for a long period of time, you should tell us in advance.   

We will generally make a decision within 3 months of receiving your application. When we make a decision, we will tell you by email.

If your application is unsuccessful, we will tell you why. You can also ask for a review from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

How we treat your private information

Find out how we collect and use your information under the Marriage Celebrants Program.

Instructions for how to apply online

Template for your referee reports

Downloads

Contact details

Marriage Law and Celebrants Section
1800 550 343
Outside Australia: +61 2 6141 3111
marriagecelebrantssection@ag.gov.au
3-5 National Circuit BARTON ACT 2600