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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Celebrant Directory

How To Become a Celebrant

There are a fair number of celebrant networks and associations throughout Australia, to find the best choice for you we recommend visiting the Attorney-General’s Department website for more information. Here you can search

Looking for inspiration to get you started?  We have put together a list of our recommendations for the top celebrants in each state within in Australia.

New South Wales


Western Australia


South Australia


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Celebrant FAQs

How To Become a Celebrant

How do I become a celebrant?

To become a celebrant in Australia, you’ll need to undertake a Certificate IV in Celebrancy. You’ll also need to sit some admission tests via the Australian Government and demonstrate a sound understanding of legalities and marriage regulations. Read more about getting qualified here.

What qualities make a good celebrant?

A good celebrant will need to be knowledgeable in all things weddings, wedding planning and the legalities of marriage, plus a good speaking voice and skills in talking to a crowd are obviously essential! Most celebrants have an outgoing personality and are creative people at heart who love to use their writing skills to tell a story and celebrate a couple’s bond with each other. A good celebrant will need to be friendly, approachable and calm under pressure (this skill will come in very handy when dealing with stressed out brides!)

How much does it cost to become a celebrant?

Training costs for a Cert IV range from $1,000 to $2,000. You’ll also need to factor in the expenses of setting up a business and keeping it maintained, alongside the cost of any additional education and professional development that you undertake. There are some annual registration fees associated with being a professional celebrant too, you can read about those here.

What are my career path options?

As a qualified celebrant, most will choose to become a marriage celebrant. However your Cert IV will also train you in how to be a funeral celebrant or a baby naming celebrant should you wish to pursue those options. To aid in making more money, many qualified celebrants choose to also become qualified in wedding planning so that they can offer a complete package of services to their wedding clients.

How much do celebrants earn?

Less than you think! The average annual income for celebrants in Australia right now is between $5,000 and $10,000 so understandably most celebrants have other jobs to supplement their income or choose to be a celebrant as a retirement hobby (this is why celebrancy attracts many mature age people who have the time to enjoy it as a hobby without relying on it as a sole full-time income). Read more about that here.

How do I apply to become a marriage celebrant?

You’ll need to contact the Attorney-General’s Department and request an information pack. Your tutors in your Cert IV course should also walk you through how to apply.

How do I know if being a celebrant is the right choice for me as a career?

As celebrancy doesn’t bring in a large income, you’ll need to do some soul searching and decide why you want to become a celebrant… if it’s to earn big bucks, you’ll need to be realistic in that that will be an uphill battle and the odds may not be in your favour, especially as celebrancy is a highly competitive industry. If however you are looking to be a celebrant as a part time job, as a hobby or to find emotional fulfilment in the work that you do, then becoming a celebrant can be a very rewarding career path!


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