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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 apply for registration as a marriage celebrant, you must have either:

  • a Certificate IV in Celebrancy from a registered training organisation (RTO)
  • a qualification in celebrancy, awarded by a university specified in the Marriage (Celebrancy Qualifications or Skills) Determination 2018
  • skills in celebrancy

Celebrancy skills are:

  • fluency in an Australian Indigenous language and the ability to liaise with clients and other members of the Indigenous community if appropriate, in planning a marriage ceremony
  • ability to conduct a marriage ceremony and to complete and deal with the required documentation in accordance with the Marriage Act and Marriage Regulations
  • effective communication.

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

Section 39 of the Marriage Regulations 2017 has information about the ‘skills in celebrancy' criterion.

If you are fluent in an Australian Indigenous language, there are different criteria for the application process. You can email us for further 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 do not have to complete OPD in the year you are registered if you were awarded a Certificate IV in Celebrancy within the last 12 months of your registration date. If you meet this requirement we will inform you and the exemption will be automatically applied.

You will be required to complete OPD in the calendar year after your registration.

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, non-refundable application fee when you apply to be a Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant. The application fee is currently $600.

From 1 July 2021, the application fee will be $400.

Your first year's annual registration charge is due if your application is accepted.

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, and
  • there is not more than 1 marriage celebrant who 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.

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