How to Become a Marriage Celebrant (2019 Update)
Marriage celebrants are more in demand than ever. Find out how to become one and what you'll have to do as a marriage celebrant in this guide.
Do you love weddings? Or do you simply love the idea of playing an integral part in someone’s big day? Being a marriage celebrant can be a great way to do something you enjoy whilst also running a business. Read this guide to find out how to become a marriage celebrant.
Being a marriage celebrant means that you’ll be playing an important role in the community. You will need to conduct all of your marriages in accordance with the Marriage Act 1961 (the Act). This includes receiving the required documents and checking that there are no reasons why the couple cannot legally get married.
Requirements to become a Marriage Celebrant
Under section 39C of the Act, you need to satisfy the following to be a marriage celebrant:
- You must be 18 years or older;
- You must have obtained all certifications and qualifications as required by the Registrar; and
- You are a fit and proper person.
Once you have met these, you will need to pay the requisite fee ($600 as of the date of this article). After you have done this, you will be able to register with the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants.
Qualifications and certifications needed
To become a fully certified marriage celebrant, you will need to complete the required training and further, know your way around the Act (you will be tested on this). You will need to complete a Certificate IV in Celebrancy, which can be obtained at many registered training organisations.
Fit and proper person requirement
The Act states that the Registrar has the discretion to decide whether you are a fit and proper person once you have completed your certificate. Some of these factors include:
- Whether you’ve been convicted of a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment of one year or longer in Australia
- Whether you will be committed to being a celebrant
- If there are conflicts of interest apparent
- Whether your position as a marriage celebrate will result in any benefits for other businesses
- Whether you have good standing in the community
Fees and obligations
If you want to become a marriage celebrant, it’s important to know the costs involved and what’s expected of you. An application to the Registrar incurs a fee (see above). If successful, you will be required to pay an annual fee of $240 every year.
There are two exceptions from having to pay the $600 application fee. These are:
- If you live in a very remote area
- If there are no other marriage celebrants who work in the same area or postcode as you
However, there is a $30 non-refundable fee you must pay in order to apply for an exemption.
After you’ve become a marriage celebrant
Beyond having to pay the $240 annual fee, there are other obligations you will be required to satisfy each year. This includes completing five hours of ongoing professional development each year and complying with the marriage celebrant Code of Conduct.
If you want to make a business out being a marriage celebrant, you may have to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). This is especially important if you will be invoicing customers or earning more than $75,000 per year.
Becoming a marriage celebrant means that you can do something you love whilst earning an income from it. Each marriage celebrant brings their own unique style to the way they conduct ceremonies, so it’s also a vocation where you can be creative. If you’re unsure what your obligations will be when running your business as a marriage celebrant, it’s worth consulting with a business lawyer.
Logan is a Paralegal working in our content team, which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. With a passion for commercial and media law, his research explores how the law is adapting to emerging technologies and how this affects consumers and businesses alike.