A marriage celebrant is a person who has been legally trained to conduct marriages. A marriage celebrant is sometimes called a wedding celebrant, a civil celebrant, an officiant or a wedding officiant. This training includes a course in the law of marriage, as well as an examination covering religious requirements and legal requirements for solemnising marriages.
What does a marriage celebrant do?
An authorised celebrant is authorised by the Australian Government to perform legal marriages according to the Marriage Act 1961. An authorised marriage celebrant may be from a religious organisation (such as a priest), or someone providing non-religious weddings (a civil marriage celebrant). In Australia, only authorised (registered) marriage celebrants have the authority to perform marriages.
Australia was the first nation to appoint non-clergy celebrants. The goal was to allow for a wedding ceremony to bear as much cultural significance as a church wedding. Civil celebrancy was established by the Australian Commonwealth Attorney General Lionel Murphy on 19 July 1973. Over time civil marriage celebrants branched out into other ceremonies such as funerals and namings, and the term was shortened to civil celebrant.
How popular are civil celebrants?
As of 2018, 79.7 per cent of marriages in Australia were performed by civil celebrants. At a state level this number varies between 75% and 85%. As such, it is clear that civil celebrants, like our members, are indeed a very popular choice in making your marriage ceremony a memorable day.
Types of marriage celebrants
The rules may vary slightly from state to state, buy there are generally 4 types of marriage celebrant who are authorised to marry:
Commonwealth registered marriage celebrant
Regulated by the Attorney-General’s Department, these celebrants generally perform civil ceremonies. Civil ceremonies are non-religious.
Religious marriage celebrant
Regulated by the Attorney-General’s Department, these celebrants generally perform religious ceremonies. They don’t have to perform ceremonies that don’t align with their religious beliefs, however, they have to make it clear in their advertising that they are a religious marriage celebrant.
Minister of religion
Managed by the registry of births, deaths and marriages in their state or territory or their religious organisation – these celebrants must be a part of a recognised religion in Australia.
State and territory officer
Managed by the registry of births, deaths and marriages in their state or territory – these celebrants perform non-religious marriage ceremonies also known as civil ceremonies.
How to find a marriage celebrant
The simplest way to find a marriage celebrant is to search our directory of experienced celebrants. Because requirements may vary from state to state, we allow you to search for marriage celebrants by state:
- Marriage celebrant in NSW
- Marriage celebrant in Victoria
- Marriage celebrant in ACT
- Marriage celebrant in Queensland
- Marriage celebrant in Tasmania
- Marriage celebrant in South Australia
- Marriage celebrant in Western Australia
- Marriage celebrant in Northern Territory
- Marriage celebrant in Australian Islands
What can civil celebrants do?
Civil celebrants can be involved in:
- naming (namegiving) ceremonies
- renewal of wedding vows
- significant birthday celebrations
- commitment ceremonies
- scattering of ashes ceremonies
- boat-naming ceremonies
- dedication of new home or office ceremonies
- graduation ceremonies
- naturalisation (citizenship) ceremonies
- becoming a teenager (coming of age)
- and other ceremonies.