Types of Ceremonies you May Perform

How To Become a Celebrant

As a fully qualified celebrant with a Certificate IV in Celebrancy, you are trained to perform not only marriage ceremonies but also several other specialist ceremonies. Whilst you may choose to perform primarily weddings, there are other opportunities for you to grow your income.

As a professional celebrant, you will also be able to administer:

  • Commitment ceremonies.
    A commitment ceremony is for couples who have made a commitment to one another and want to declare their love before their family and friends without committing to a legal marriage. Commitment ceremonies are also sometimes called ceremonies of union, and they follow a very similar format to a wedding. They can include readings, poetry, ring giving, messages from special guests, music, and signing of commemorative words. Similarly, for couples that cannot get married for cultural or legal reasons, they may opt for a celebrant to perform a civil union ceremony to mark the occasion and their love for one another.
  • Renewal of vows ceremonies.
    Many couples choose a milestone anniversary as an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment and love for each other and hold a renewal of vows ceremony. Vow renewal can also be undertaken at any other point. A celebrant is not legally required to perform vow renewals, but many couples choose to have a celebrant perform the ceremony to bestow a sense of occasion on the day and make it feel official.
  • Naming ceremonies.
    The birth of a baby is one of the most wonderful occasions that a celebrant can experience. A naming ceremony gives a family a chance to recognise significant people in the baby’s life and the ceremony can include anything from traditional wording to something totally custom to the family and baby.
  • Funerals 
    Sadly, many of us will have to arrange a funeral at some stage and many people elect to have a celebrant present alongside a funeral director to ensure that the funeral is a meaningful, sentimental and appropriate celebration of the deceased’s life that honours their memory.
  • Graduation ceremonies.
    Increasingly, families place great significance on their children graduating from high school and/or university and want to commemorate these occasions with a formal party and recognition of the child’s achievement within a private family and friends setting.

Celebrants also must be well versed in alternative ceremony requirements in all of the above, including rituals to signify the occasion.

These rituals can include a sand ceremony, handfasting, butterfly release, glass smashing, rose ceremonies or unity candle ceremonies.  To date, marriage ceremonies are the only ceremonies that legally require a qualified celebrant to officiate, however many opt for celebrants to be present at the above to bring a sense of occasion.

As a celebrant, you may wish to perform all sorts of ceremonies or you may wish to niche down and perform only certain types of ceremonies… it all depends on what you hope to achieve, what brings you fulfilment and where you see the best opportunities to earn revenue.

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How to Become a Celebrant in Australia?

How To Become a Celebrant

Are you looking for a career path that will give you emotional fulfilment and joy? Then being a marriage celebrant may just be the right career for you! As a celebrant, your work is to help your clients have the best day of their lives and share their love with their family and friends.

In recent years in Australia and around the world, there has been a huge shift away from traditional church ceremonies to civil ceremonies that provide a more modern and flexible approach. This is great if you’re planning on becoming a professional celebrant as you know the industry is in demand!

There are thousands of registered celebrants in Australia so competition is tough, but if you’re dedicated, work hard and bring something special to your clients that other celebrants don’t offer, you can build a wonderful reputation for yourself.

What does a celebrant do?

A Civil Marriage Celebrant is someone who is appointed by the Australian Government’s Attorney-General’s Department as authorised to solemnise and legalise marriages anywhere in Australia. This is in accordance with the Marriage Act of 1961.

Marriage celebrants are legally required to undertake ongoing professional development every year to ensure that they remain trained and qualified. Marriage celebrants are subject to strict codes of practice and laws (including the Marriage Act 1961, the Marriage Regulations 1963 and the Celebrants Code of Practice). In a post-secular time in society, there is a growing demand for alternatives to denominationally governed marriages. Marriage celebrants give this professional option and can provide a civil ceremony that is emotional, sensitive, joyous and wonderful as any denominational ceremony.

Many couples prefer to use a Civil Marriage Celebrant as it gives them the freedom to be inventive and creative in how their ceremony is performed, and many couples these days prefer to customise the order and content of their ceremonies. A marriage celebrant will also accommodate a couple’s choice of location for their marriage ceremony.

Marriage celebrants will conduct a range of exciting ceremonies for weddings including themed, formal and informal wedding ceremonies. For couples wishing to also include some religious content into their wedding ceremony (such as having a friend or family member ready out a prayer), celebrants can also accommodate this. Celebrants can work alongside a range of denominations so this gives couples who wish to have their marriage blessed by someone from their local church without having a church wedding a great deal of flexibility.

A Marriage Celebrant will also advise couples on all the legal documentation associated with marriage and handle this process for them from start to end.

A celebrant’s work includes:

  • Meeting with couples
  • Responding to enquiries about ceremonies
  • Checking identity and legal documentation
  • Witnessing and receiving Notices of Intended Marriage
  • Assisting with wedding planning and ideas
  • Preparing drafts of ceremonies
  • Assisting with rehearsals of ceremonies
  • Preparation of certificates and ceremonial keepsakes
  • Attending the ceremony and providing agreed equipment such as PA, signing tables and carpet runners
  • Conducting ceremonies
  • Ensuring all legal requirements are met
  • The forwarding of signed marriage certificates and documents for approval to the appropriate Registries
  • Giving information on ordering marriage certificates
  • Seeking feedback from couples to help promote their services
  • Establishing a personal brand and marketing themselves
  • Ongoing professional development to ensure legal compliance
  • Staying up to date with the latest changes in the law

Being a celebrant may look easy, but supporting all of the above activities requires a lot of planning, marketing and organisation to ensure the business runs effectively.

And at the heart of it, professional celebrants truly care about making a couple’s wedding special!

What training do I need to become a celebrant?

Marriage celebrants play a very important role in the community and as such, being a celebrant attracts legal responsibilities and training. Contrary to what you may have seen on some TV shows, any old person can’t just quickly take an online exam, print out a certificate and become a celebrant!

If you become a registered celebrant, you will be required to meet professional development requirements on an ongoing basis, make sure there’s no conflict of interest in our business and pay the applicable fees and charges.

Before you apply to be a marriage celebrant and Commonwealth registered, you are required to complete a Certificate IV in Celebrancy through a registered training organisation (RTO), which includes units on being a marriage celebrant.

Celebrants are only legally permitted to advertise their services, accept Notice of Intended Marriage forms and actually perform marriages once they are fully trained, certified and registered as a marriage celebrant.

Alongside the costs of qualification as a marriage celebrant, aspiring celebrants are also required to pay an application fee of $600 to receive their registration license. If your application is successful you will also need to pay a $240 registration charge, which is payable annually in July for each year that you are registered as a celebrant.

Ready to become a celebrant?

Being a professional & qualified celebrant is an incredibly rewarding career choice and you’ll be responsible for bringing (and sharing in!) happiness with all of your clients. You’ll also get to be creative,  thoughtful and leave a lasting impact with your work in the memories of your clients, their friends and family. Of course, it’s not all glitz and glamour and the reality of being a celebrant isn’t always highly paying. And like any other job, there are highs and lows.

But, if you love what you do then the rewards of being a celebrant may outweigh the downsides. Once you know that you want to become a celebrant, it’s time to do your research, get trained and qualified and then complete the application process… then the real rewards begin as you spread happiness to your clients!

It’s important to know that especially in the early stages of your career as a celebrant, your income may be patchy and as your business grows, you’ll need to set some financial targets. Most celebrants are self-employed so you’ll need to be familiar with the logistics of running a business.

In Summary

Step One: Make sure you do your research about the industry and what’s expected of you, whether the rewards outweigh the risks, how to market yourself and how to get qualified.

Step Two: Pick a registered training organisation and obtain your Certificate IV in Celebrancy – plus any additional learning that you wish to undertake to enhance your offerings as a celebrant in Australia. Then, apply to become a registered Celebrant.

Step Three: Once you’re qualified you can then officially market yourself as a celebrant and start taking clients.

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How Much do Celebrants Earn?

How To Become a Celebrant

To become a marriage celebrant is to embark on a journey of deep personal fulfilment as you bring happiness to the special days of your clients.

Many people may have seen ads online that promise that anyone can become a celebrant, start performing weddings and make big money… but is that really true?

Unfortunately, the reality of being a celebrant is that it will likely still require you to have a second job or adequate other resources to support your celebrancy business.

What do celebrants earn?

In Australia, the annual average income before tax for independent civil celebrants in the wedding business is just $5,000 – $10,000 per year.

No, those figures aren’t missing a zero! Most celebrants perform an average of 10 weddings per year and after subtracting all the expenses associated with being a celebrant, and considering the average hourly rate for a celebrant is around $19, we can quickly see how becoming a celebrant isn’t alone going to give you an early retirement!

So, if you’re dreaming of becoming a celebrant and haven’t yet done the research on the costs involved and how you will sustain the business, take this moment to do you due diligence and fully understand what may be involved for you.

The harsh truth of the wedding industry is that many celebrants will not recover their business set up costs within five years. So starting a business as a celebrant will usually require some start up cash to get you through!

There are also many registered celebrants in Australia so competition for jobs is high. There are on average 120,000 marriages each year in Australia performed by 8,000 registered marriage celebrants.

How do I work out my expected hourly rate as a celebrant?

First, work out your annual gross income that you hope to earn, then the annual net expenditure required to achieve that income. Then, establish the number of hours you plan to work in planning, conducting and reviewing the ceremonies that you’ll deliver (this includes preparation time, not just your time in front of wedding guests!)

Your hourly rate as a celebrant will then be your net income divided by the total number of hours you work.

The rate that you can charge will also depend on other factors including your age, level of experience, any other special skills, your location, competition in your area and industry fluctuations.

When calculating your start up expenses, make sure to consider everything carefully! These expenses can include your training costs, set up of a business (such as equipment, software, stationery, mobile and internet connections, website and marketing, clothing, PA equipment, signing tables etc).

Why do people become celebrants if it can be so difficult to make money?

Professional celebrants reap other rewards – it’s not just a financial issue. Weddings are joyful and fun as well as meaningful so for many celebrants, the emotional rewards of the job are enough to offset the lower income.

Many celebrants also have other part time jobs and don’t treat their celebrancy with the urgency that a full-time income can provide, so this takes the pressure off.

If you’re aiming to be a full-time celebrant, be aware that less than 2% of celebrants in Australia are able to generate a full-time wage equivalent from ceremonial work.

So although the wage is likely going to be low for many marriage celebrants, their fulfilment may come from:

  • Being able to promote marriage as an important part of society
  • To have a nice hobby that allows them to meet new people and earns some money on the side of their regular/other jobs
  • To give a sense of importance in the community or personal identity
  • To allow for a creative outlet
  • To share in the joy of helping people celebrate their love


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Should I Become a Celebrant

How To Become a Celebrant

Are you considering becoming a celebrant and aren’t sure if it’s right for you? Before you commence any training or qualification, have a careful think about it and ask yourself, “Should I become a Celebrant?”

Ask yourself, are you…


Marriage celebrants need to do lots of careful planning and there are some strict legal timeframes that need to be adhered to in order to facilitate a marriage occurring.


Couples can become very stressed in the planning of their weddings as there are lots of details to consider, and getting married is a big decision. As such, you’ll need to be empathetic, considerate and compassionate to the way your clients may be feeling. They may ask you lots of questions and it’s important not to get impatient with them, similarly they may project some of their stress onto you – and whilst this isn’t acceptable if they become abusive, you will need to come to terms with dealing with people that are in a heightened emotional state.


Clients will only come to you when they know that you exist – otherwise you’ll be practically invisible in a sea of other wedding celebrants! This means that you need to work hard to market yourself, get referrals, build strong relationships with your clients and establish a presence for yourself online.

A confident public speaker?

As a Civil Celebrant, although some ceremonies will be small and intimate in other situations you will be speaking in front of large groups of wedding guests. This means that your skills as an MC must be strong, you must be able to control and entertain the crowd and you must always display a level of appropriateness when dealing with the crowd as per what the individual couple has requested of you. Naturally, this requires you to be mature and intelligent as a celebrant.


There are loads of celebrants so you’ll need to stand out from the crowd – and on such a big occasion as someone’s wedding day, clients these days don’t want a boring, out of the box ceremony. Couples will commonly ask their marriage celebrant to help them plan ideas for the ceremony to make it a fantastic day, so you’ll need to be full of good ideas. You must also have flair and creativity in your writing skills.


As a Civil Celebrant in Australia, you’ll be dealing with legal responsibilities and this means that you need to be on the ball, compliant and diligent in tying up all loose ends with the paperwork for your clients’ marriage licenses. You’ll also need to assume responsibility for related legal matters such as occupational health, copyright and confidentiality.


This means financially (as you will need start up cash), having a car or other reliable transport, having all the office equipment necessary etc. Also, you will need to be emotionally prepared and willing to take on the emotional stresses of being a celebrant.

If you answered ‘yes’ to the above then congratulations, being a celebrant may just be the right career path for you! Of course, you’ll need to ensure to get proper training and become qualified in order to be a celebrant, but knowing for sure that you want to become a celebrant is the first step to embarking down this highly rewarding path. The happiness you’ll help bring to couples is an incredible feeling!

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