Lindy Cooke Celebrant

WHO IS AUTHORISED TO MARRY YOU IN AUSTRALIA?

Soon after you become engaged, your thoughts will no doubt turn to planning your wedding day.  One of the first things you’ll need to know is who is authorised to marry you in Australia? Once you have this information, you can research the websites, Reviews and social media of local celebrants to narrow down your search.

 

4 different categories

There are 4 different categories which make up the list of people authorised to marry you in Australia. These are:

 

Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants

The first civil celebrant in this category was authorised to marry couples 50 years ago in 1973. Celebrants in this category (like me) now make up the largest group of people who are authorised to marry you in Australia. They are able to do this in any state or territory, on any day of the year, at any time of the day, with as much or little personalisation as they are willing/able to provide. They must also adhere to the Marriage Act 1961 by including all relevant legal elements in each ceremony.

Both Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants and Commonwealth-registered religious marriage celebrants must comply with certain training criteria.

In the years from 2003 onward, training has been compulsory. From 2003 to 2009, it consisted of one mandatory unit of study from Certificate IV in Marriage Celebrancy.

From January 2010 there was a further requirement that all candidates needed to complete the whole Certificate IV in Marriage Celebrancy.

In late 2015 a new version of the Certificate IV in Marriage Celebrancy became endorsed.

In addition, each year, authorised celebrants must complete Ongoing Professional Development through the Australian Government in order to retain their registration.

You’ll be able to access a list of all celebrants currently registered in this category by heading over here: https://marriage.ag.gov.au/commonwealthcelebrants/all

 

Commonwealth-registered religious marriage celebrants

The Marriage Act was changed to reflect the new definition of marriage on 9.12.17. Before this, the law stated that “Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” The law now states that “Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

Celebrants in this category are those who were given the opportunity to advise the Attorney-General’s Department between 10.12.17 and 9.3.18 of their religious beliefs and request protections in accordance with those beliefs. In other words, they could not be accused of discrimination if they refused to marry, for example, a man to a man or a woman to a woman.

After 9.3.18, celebrants (existing or new) were unable to choose this option and thus all celebrants after this date fall into the category of Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants (regardless of their religious beliefs.) Over time, as celebrants retire or pass away, the Commonwealth-registered religious marriage celebrant category will get smaller and smaller and, eventually, no longer exist.

You’ll be able to access a list of all celebrants currently registered in this category by heading over here: https://marriage.ag.gov.au/commonwealthcelebrants/religious

 

Ministers of religion who are from a recognised denomination

This category is self-explanatory and covers those ministers who are aligned with a particular religion. Celebrants in this category were, traditionally, the main contact for couples seeking to marry in Australia. Celebrants in this category also have protections in accordance with their religious beliefs.

You’ll be able to access a list of all celebrants in this category by heading over here: https://marriage.ag.gov.au/statecelebrants/other

 

State and territory officers

These officers are employed by Births Deaths & Marriages in the state or territory in which they reside and are able to marry couples in their state or territory premises. Many people refer to these as “registry weddings”.

You’ll be able to access a list of all officers in this category by heading over here: https://marriage.ag.gov.au/stateofficers/officers

 

Where to next?

So, if you’re searching for a Commonwealth-Registered Marriage Celebrant on the Northern Rivers of NSW, I’d love to chat with you.

You’ll find further information on my website, including many Reviews from couples I’ve married, to help you with your research. If you feel we might be a good fit, please feel free to get in touch with your names, proposed date/time of your wedding and venue (if known.) I’ll be happy to reply with further details on my wedding packages.

 

Note: Each of the above 4 lists, detailing the categories of celebrants in Australia, is maintained by the Attorney-General’s Department under the heading “Get Married”.

 

 

108 – 03/02/2024 – ©Lindy Cooke Celebrant

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