In Australia, marriage celebrants are people who conduct legal wedding ceremonies, particularly non-religious weddings, which are the main ceremony of legal import conducted by celebrants. Officiating at a marriage requires that the celebrant be an authorised marriage celebrant under Australian law
What is a Marriage Celebrant?
A marriage celebrant is a individual who is authorised and registered by the Australian Government to carry out legal marriages in accordance with to the Marriage Act 1961. The marriage celebrant is often use for non-religious wedding ceremonies (known as a civil marriage celebrant), however they may be a representative of a religious group (which is referred to as a religious marriage celebrant). Only authorised, registered marriage celebrants may perform marriages in Australia.
When and where can a marriage celebrant perform a wedding?
Marriage Celebrant Registration provides the legal authority to practice as a marriage celebrant the registered marriage celebrant will be given a registration number allowing them to practice. Once registered or authorised, the marriage celebrant can marry couples in almost any wedding ceremony location (e.g. beach, garden, boat, home etc) and at any time. The marriage celebrant is responsible for processing and filing all legal paperwork and registration for the marriage to be legal.
How did Marriage Celebrants begin?
Marriage celebrants were introduced to Australia in 1973 by the Federal Government; the Marriage Celebrants since have married many thousands of couples in civil ceremonies. Marriage celebrants were appointed based on geographic locality and the perceived need for a marriage celebrant in the region. This system proved to be overly restrictive.
What training do Marriage Celebrants require?
Thirty years on, after a broad review and the introduction of reforms by the Attorney-General, the marriage celebrant classification was changed. In September 2003, potential marriage celebrants have had to undertake Government-approved, qualified training to become a marriage celebrant, and meet the criteria introduced by the federal Attorney-General's Department to be acknowledged as a "fit and proper person" to hold the title of "marriage celebrant". Successful applicants are then required to join a waiting list for registration as a marriage celebrant by the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants. Appointments are made annually in September and throughout the year in if the area requires it. On 1 September 2008 the limit on celebrant numbers has been raised and anyone who completes the accredited preparation and meets the department's criteria will be able to be registered without delay.