What Are Celebrants?
Celebrants are appointed individuals by the government of Australia that can oversee, perform, and be consulted on legally binding or extra-legal ceremonies. This includes (but is not limited to):
- A civil marriage ceremony (including same sex marriages)
- Funerals and memorials
- Naturalisation (of citizenship) ceremonies
- Renewal of wedding vows and anniversaries
- Any formal ceremonies required by the community
It’s technically possible to become a celebrant and hold ceremonies without getting licensed, but such ceremonies aren’t recognised in the eyes of the law, which can present a ton of legal problems in the future.
What Do I Need To Do To Become A Celebrant?
Becoming a celebrant is particularly straightforward, as there are only two steps required.
First, you need to receive formal education and training. This means taking a celebrant course with a registered organisation, university, or online. The aim of the course is to get a Certificate IV in Celebrancy, which is essential for any aspiring marriage celebrant in Australia.
After that, you’ll need to submit an application to the Attorney-General’s office, answer a questionnaire proving your knowledge, and submit the required paperwork to the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants. If there are no flags in your application, then congratulations, you’re officially a celebrant now!
You can also look into further celebrant training, especially if your region has different languages or dialects. Most celebrants will take legal classes about interacting with the judicial system and the different kinds of paperwork required for legally binding ceremonies. Further legal requirements such as cost and other qualifications can be found on the site of the Attorney-General’s Department.
Overall, the process should take you a little over a year to complete. With the majority of the requirements (even application) done online, it can be very simple to get your celebrant’s license!
Qualities Of A Good Celebrant
That does it for the official, by-the-books-on-paper stuff, but being a celebrant is more about the license. Aside from the official knowledge about the ceremony and the legal framework, celebrants must be:
Comfortable with public speaking: You’re holding a public event, no matter how intimate the ceremony is. Can’t afford stage fright when there’s an important occasion that you’re celebrating!
Culturally sensitive: Many people will request that celebrants conduct a ceremony that’s in accordance with their own beliefs and traditions. A good celebrant should be able to honour their request.
Empathetic: Sometimes you’ll be called upon to officiate a sombre occasion, like a memorial or funeral. Being able to read the room is an important skill in this regard.
Where Can I Get Celebrancy Training?
There are a couple of places that you can look into to get your Cerf IV, but be advised that some of these only allow people from a specific territory to enter, while others can be done online:
- Celebrants Training College (Online or in Melbourne)
- In Class At Rose Training Australia (Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast (Southport), Sunshine Coast, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney, Perth)
- The Gordon Institute (Victoria)
- Rose Training Australia (Online)
- Australian Celebrations Training (Online or in Queensland)
But What About The Cost And Salary?
There’s quite a bit of upfront cost to becoming a celebrant. Courses can range anywhere from $800 to $2000 AUD, not to mention the $600 AUD application fee you’d need to pay to the office of the Attorney-General and the $240 annual registration charge. Fortunately, there are exemptions to theses fees, as noted on their official website.
However, there’s a growing demand for celebrants across the country. CareerHQ puts the employment opportunities for celebrants at “a greater than average” rate. With more people opting for simple, civil ceremonies, it’s likely that marriage celebrants will see more opportunities in the future.
It’s important to note that becoming a celebrant SHOULDN’T be a full time career. The Coalition of Celebrant Associations says that “whilst being a marriage celebrant may be a nice retirement hobby, it will certainly be a very expensive one.” If you are looking to become a celebrant, it’s better if it’s a side gig, or if you’re partnered with a company or brand that can guarantee a steady income stream.
Say ‘I Do’
Becoming a celebrant is a little bit like the nature of celebrations itself. There’s a part of it’s that glamorous and wonderful, and a part that’s built on a lot of hard work and sacrifice!
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