Who is authorised to be a Marriage Celebrant in Australia?
Who is legally able to perform marriage ceremonies in Australia?
The Marriage Act 1961 provides for three categories of authorised celebrants who may perform, or solemnise marriages in Australia:
A. ministers of religion of recognised denominations (who are registered under Subdivision A of Division 1 of Part IV of the Act)
B. State and Territory Officers (who are authorised by virtue of Subdivision B of Division 1 of Part IV of the Act)
C. Commonwealth -registered marriage celebrants (who are registered under Subdivision C of Division 1 of Part IV of the Act)
This category contains both celebrants performing civil ceremonies and ministers of religion who are not aligned with a recognised denomination.
I fall under the third category (C) above. I am an authorised and registered civil celebrant with the Attorney General's Office Australia. If you are in doubt of if someone is authorised or not, you can easily search for authorised and registered celebrant's within the Find a Celebrant search feature on the Attorney-General's website.
What do you need to do to become an authorised and registered Marriage Celebrant?
Commonwealth -registered marriage celebrants are registered under Subdivision C of Division 1 of Part IV of the Marriage Act. Since 1 September 2003, such celebrants have been registered by the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants. The Registrar is an officer of the Commonwealth Attorney -General’s Department. A Commonwealth -registered marriage celebrant has a registration number beginning with the letter ‘A’. A person is only entitled to be a Commonwealth -registered marriage celebrant if the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants is satisfied that the person:
(a) is aged 18 years or over; and
(b) has the necessary qualifications and/or skills as determined by the Registrar; and
(c) is a fit and proper person to be a celebrant.
From 1 July 2014, a fee of $600 is payable by a person who applies to become a marriage celebrant. If registered, that person is required to pay an annual registration charge of $240 (or a smaller amount pro -rated depending on the time of year a new celebrant is registered), accurate as as 31/12/2017.
More information can be found on the Attorney -General’s Department website.
Detailed information about how to become a Commonwealth -registered marriage celebrant, including the application fee and annual registration charge, the qualification/skills requirement, and the factors the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants must consider in determining whether a person is a fit and proper person to be a celebrant, is available on the Attorney -General’s Department website.