How to become a celebrant - commonly asked questions

Here are some commonly asked questions that you need the answers for, before making an informed decision about doing celebrant training.

How many Weddings, each Year, are there in Australia?
  • There are around 118,000- 120,000 weddings each year in Australia - (the ABS reports on numbers each year)
    • 2019 - 113,815
    • 2020 - 78,989
    • 2021 - 89,164
    • 2022 - 127, 
    • 2023 - 
  • The number of marriages only varies very slightly from year to year, however the Covid pandemic put a dent in the numbers.
  • Given Australia’s population and marriage trends, it is unlikely there will be any significant increase of weddings from the pre Covid pandemic numbers.

How many registered Celebrants are there in each state?

This data below is taken from the AG website and the Australian Bureau of Statisitics - it gives new celebrants an idea of how many marriage ceremonies are happening in your state and how many you are likely to be in the running for.  

Of course, states in Australia are big places and celebrants sometimes only service their local area, whereas some will travel all over the state.  Also, some celebrants will only offer services to family and friends, where others make their celebrancy business a full time job and perform ceremonies multiple times a week.


What People/Places are authorised conduct to Marriage Ceremonies in Australia?

Weddings in Australia are conducted by

  • mainstream religious celebrants,
  • Commonwealth Registered marriage celebrants (independent civil marriage celebrants and non aligned religious marriage celebrants) and
  • Registry Offices throughout Australia.

The ABS 2021 report stated that 80.7% of all marrigage in Australia were conducted by Civil Celebrants.

How many Authorised Marriage Celebrants are there?

  • There are currently 10,244 Commonwealth registered marriage celebrants who perform civil ceremonies as at December 2023.
  • In addition there are 23,813 ministers of recognised religions and 576 religious celebrants - generally these are from less well recognised religious groups.

What do these numbers mean if you’re thinking of becoming a Celebrant?

  • Over 80% of marriages are performed by a civil celebrant (this includes marriages at registries)
  • The average number of weddings for each celebrant is now under 10 per annum, for civil marriage celebrants, appointed by the Attorney-General’s department, 
  • Prior to 2003, the average number of weddings for each celebrant was about 30 per annum average, when there was less than 2000 celebrants,
  • This is an average of course. Some celebrants conduct more and a great many conduct fewer – or none at all!
What costs are involved in setting up as a marriage celebrant?
  • There’s the initial training course to qualify for the required Certificate IV in Celebrancy
  • Initial expenses in being registered as a marriage celebrant (see the Attorney General's website)
  • Ongoing mandatory professional development costs each year - (as of 2021, the Attorney General's Department only requires civil celebrants to undertake 1-2 hours of free online OPD activities through the Celebrant's portal - this may change again in the future)
  • Ongoing registration costs each year
  • Each celebrant needs office facilities and equipment, a reliable vehicle, a public address system 
  • Each celebrant should have relevant insurances (professional indemnity, public liability, vehicle, office & equipment, sickness & accident, etc.).
  • Marketing can be a substantial ongoing investment (advertising, website, promotional materials – business cards, etc.).
  • Important Note: New celebrants should realise they may not recover their initial outlay or cover ongoing costs for some time – if ever.
How do I choose where to do my celebrancy training?
  • The AG website has links to information about  Registered Training Organisations that provide Certificate IV in Celebrancy Training.
  • Prospective students should ensure they choose a course that meets their needs.
  • On-the-job training for marriage celebrants is not available.
  • The Coalition of Celebrant Associations advises that  “the cost of any particular course should not be considered an adequate guide to the effectiveness of the training provided”.
How do I make an application to become a marriage celebrant?
  • Read the Attorney-General’s Department website (marriage section) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and request an information pack
Once Appointed what advice and support services are available ?

1.     Marriage Celebrant Associations

A number of associations, for marriage celebrants, are established in every State and Territory of Australia. Some are national bodies – others State based. Some include student celebrants, family and funeral celebrants. Other do not.  

Advantages & Benefits of membership of a marriage celebrant association

All celebrants, particularly new marriage celebrants, benefit from membership of an association of people with similar interests, occupations and interests. Celebrant associations provide their members with some or all of the following
  • regular meetings, conferences, workshops,
  • ongoing advice, representation,
  • email chat groups, websites and website listings,
  • newsletters, member functions,
  • access to insurance, etc.
  • getting to know other celebrants and giving and receiving referrals if and when necessary is of particular advantage to members.
Practical knowledge, experience and expertise, support and advice, available to celebrants within an association, is invaluable.

While the Attorney-General’s Department can provide information on the requirements of the Marriage Act, it does not provide legal advice to celebrants.

Registry Offices (Births Deaths & Marriages) can also provide information on the requirements and procedures for registering marriages. 

For more information about celebrant associations please see the Coalition of Celebrant Associations webpage

2.     Updates and Information for Marriage Celebrants on the AGD website

The Attorney General’s Department maintains a comprehensive marriage section on its website for the marrying public and for marriage celebrants.

The Marriage Section of the Attorney General’s website has:

a.     List of marriage celebrant associations and their contact information Australia wide.

b.     Useful downloads of forms and information required by celebrants (e.g. Copyright, Code of Practice, Prescribed Authorities, Complaints Procedure, etc.).

Authorised marriage celebrants will be informed of changes and relevant information for their appointments and their role as celebrants.

·       Every authorized marriage celebrant is responsible to regularly visit and check the  “What New Section” of the Attorney Generals website.

·       In general, the Department communicates by web or email rather than snail mail so keeping up-to-date on the website e-News changes is essential.

The What's New Section will cover:

a.     Notices of changes, additions, clarified or revised interpretation of Marriage Act and Marriage Regulations, etc.

b.     Information about Ongoing Professional Development requirements and providers.

c.     Updates to names of training organisations providing Certificate IV in Celebrancy and advice on selecting a trainer suitable to an applicant.
Last modified on Friday, 08 December 2023 21:44