Ceremony FAQ

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General FAQ's

  • How much can I expect to pay for a celebrant?

    There is no regulated fee structure for celebrancy services. Each celebrant sets his or her own fee, and the range of fees can differ considerably depending on geographical location and type of ceremony. Bear in mind that celebrants will spend time in taking care of legal requirements (where necessary), meeting and consulting with you, preparing for the ceremony, and performing the ceremony. Therefore the only way to compare price is to ensure that you are comparing value for money. And value includes how much effort the celebrant will put into the preparation and development phase as well as in the delivery phase. While price does not always guarantee quality, generally, you will get approximately what you pay for. Ceremonies are important occasions for making memories so the cost of a cheap ceremony could be unhappy memories. Budget between $350 and $600 depending on the type of ceremony and the amount of effort the celebrant will put into the ceremony. Expect to pay more for an individually crafted ceremony than if you are offered a selection of ceremonies to choose from or "mix-and-match" from a selection of pre-written ceremony sections.

  • How soon should I book a celebrant?

    It is best to book the celebrant as far ahead as possible to ensure you can have your celebrant-of-first-choice.

  • What types of ceremonies do celebrants perform?

    Celebrants perform a wide range of ceremonies. If you have something in mind, consult with a celebrant.

    Ceremonies for Couples
    Wedding
    Weddings can only be performed by a Marriage Celebrant authorised by the Attorney-General. Marriage Celebrants can be Civil Marriage Celebrants (CMC) or Religious Marriage Celebrants (RMC).

    Civil Marriage Celebrants are appointed by the Federal Government, and have an authorisation number with the alphabetical prefix A. They perform civil or secular ceremonies, although, at the request of the couple, some religious references or content, such as a prayer, may be included. Religious Marriage Celebrants can be aligned or nonaligned. An aligned Religious Marriage Celebrant is a member of the clergy attached to a congregation of a religious denomination recognised as a mainstream religion by the Australian Government, for example, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Jewish clergy. These celebrants are appointed by the State Registering Authority, rather than the Federal Government, and the alphabetical prefix to their registered number denotes the state, eg. Q1234 if registered in Queensland. These celebrants can only marry within the state that they are registered and can normally only marry people of their own faith.

    Non-aligned Religious Marriage Celebrant are appointed by the Federal Government on the basis of their role as a member of the clergy within a religious denomination that is not considered to be main line by the government, eg Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Assemblies of God, Jehovah's Witness. The alphabetical prefix to their Authorisation number is A and they can perform marriages anywhere within Australia. However, they are restricted to marrying members of their own faith. A wedding requires legal documents to be lodged at least one month and one day before the day the ceremony takes place, and legal documents signed at the ceremony by an Authorised Marriage Celebrant and two adult witnesses.

    Renewal of Vows/Reaffirmation of Vows
    A ceremony during which a married couple reaffirm their commitment to each other and to their marriage. It cannot be a repeat wedding.

    Commitment
    A ceremony during which a same-sex or heterosexual couple affirm their commitment to each other and to their relationship. The ceremony has no legal standing but can be a beautiful affirmation of love.

    Engagement (Betrothal)
    A declaration of intent to marry

    Ceremonies for Transitions
    Funerals
    A funeral ceremony may take any form. The funeral Director will assist with the organisation and arrangements, however you are free to choose the celebrant. You may also work with a celebrant to plan your own funeral. Registering your wishes in advance with the celebrant of your choice can ensure that your wishes are carried out.

    Interment/Scattering of Ashes
    May take place at any time after the funeral

    Memorial
    A ceremony to remember and pay tribute.

    Unveiling
    Unveiling of a permanent memorial, such as a headstone

    Companion Animal Funerals
    A funeral ceremony for beloved pets.

    Divorce
    Separation, formal statement of continuing commitment to children of the marriage, new beginnings

    Housewarming/House Blessing
    A ceremony to make your house your own and formally state all you wish for those who live in it and those who visit

    Family and Milestone Ceremonies
    Naming
    A secular alternative to a religious christening

    Birthdays
    Honouring milestones for any age.

    Anniversaries
    An opportunity to celebrate and remember past events

    Coming of Age
    Ceremonies can be held at 13 (entry to adulthood), 18 (legal majority) and 21(traditional majority).


  • Do all celebrants do ceremonies and celebrations other than weddings?

    Some celebrants do the full range of ceremonies, others specialise in particular ceremony types. Our members have their specialities listed in their details on this site.

  • Can we write our own ceremony? And if we can, where can we find information to assist us?

    All professional celebrants can assist you to write your own ceremony by providing information and guidance. Alternatively you can find information and resources both in books and on the internet. Some celebrants will write a ceremony for you in line with your specific requirements. Others will provide you with a selection of ceremonies that you can mix and match from to craft your own ceremony.

Getting Married

  • How do we get a marriage license?

    In Australia there in no Marriage license as such. There is, however, a form known as The Notice of Intended Marriage. This form is normally obtained from the celebrant that you choose to solemnise your marriage. However, it may also be downloaded from the Attorney-General's site.

  • How much notice do we need to give the celebrant before we can be married?

    The current Marriage Act requires that a Notice Of Intended Marriage MUST be lodged with the solemnising celebrant a MINIMUM of one calendar month plus one day before your marriage can take place, and a maximum of eighteen months.

  • What documentation do we need to supply before the marriage can take place?

    The celebrant is required to sight the following ORIGINAL documents.

    COPIES CERTIFIED BY A JUSTICE OF THE PEACE ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE

    1. Original certificate of birth (This may be an Extract or Full Certificate)
    2. If a birth certificate is not obtainable an OVERSEAS Passport (The Australian Government will NOT accept an Australian Passport for this purpose)
    3. If you have been previously married, the Decree Absolute or Divorce Certificate
    4. If you are a widow or widower, the Death Certificate of your late spouse
    5. If any certificates are written in a language that the solemnising celebrant cannot understand a Translation by a registered translator is required.

  • Do we need to have all our documentation when we lodge the Notice Of Intended Marriage?

    No. However, you MUST produce all the relevant documents before the marriage can take place.

  • Can we get married in less than one calendar month and one day?

    Yes this is possible, but only under specified extenuating circumstances. Discuss your particular situation with your celebrant who will advise you as to how to obtain a shortening of notice. Authority to shorten notice cannot be given by the celebrant, it must be obtained from a prescribed government authority. It is an offence to participate in a marriage ceremony less than one month and one day after the Notice of Intended Marriage is formally lodged unless you have formal authority.

  • How old do I need to be before I can be married?

    The minimum age for marriage is 16 years, however, at least one party to the marriage must be 18 years of age or over, and the party under 18 must have consent for the marriage from that person's parent(s) and a Judge or a Magistrate. Marriages between two parties under 18 cannot be performed under any circumstances, and marriages of such parties performed overseas are not recognised in Australia.

  • Can visitors to Australia be married in Australia?

    Yes, provided that the Notice of Intended Marriage form is lodged with the celebrant at least one month and one day before the ceremony. Overseas visitors do not have to be resident in Australia for the full notice period. It is possible for a person to arrive in Australia, produce the relevant original documents to the celebrant and be married all on the same day.Consult your chosen celebrant to make arrangements to forward a duly notarised Notice of Intended Marriage to him/her.

  • How can a person living overseas or in another State of Australia lodge the Notice of Intended Marriage?

    The form may be obtained, completed and witnessed by an approved person and then faxed or emailed to the celebrant so that the celebrant receives it at least one month and one day before the date of the wedding. If the form is emailed, it must be scanned as the celebrant is required to see all signatures. THE ORIGINAL FORM MUST BE PRODUCED TO THE CELEBRANT BEFORE THE MARRIAGE CAN TAKE PLACE.

  • Are there any restrictions on time or places that a marriage can take place in Australia?

    Marriages in Australia can take place at any time and in any place, providing that the ceremony does not cause a nuisance to other people, and that you are not trespassing on private land. Check with the local council if you wish to have your ceremony in a park.

Naming Ceremonies

  • Are there any restrictions on when and where a naming ceremony can be held?

    A naming ceremony can be held anywhere and at any time. This is a matter of negotiation between you and your celebrant. Generally speaking professional celebrants are happy to perform a naming ceremony at the venue of your choice and on the day and time of your choice. Just bear in mind that most naming ceremonies are held during the day at the weekend, and weekends are usually heavily booked, so if you can be somewhat flexible you will have a better chance of being able to book your celebrant of first choice.

  • How much notice do I need to give to the celebrant?

    A naming ceremony is not a legal ceremony, and therefore there is no legal requirement to submit notice to a government department, thus there is no legal requirement for a period of notice for a naming ceremony. However, because naming ceremonies are held at the weekend, and professional celebrants can be heavily booked, it is best to book your celebrant as early as possible.

  • Can single parents, unmarried and same sex couples have a naming ceremony for their child?

    The marital status of the parent(s) is of no concern to a civil marriage celebrant, and therefore civil marriage celebrants will perform naming ceremonies for the children of single, unmarried and same sex couples. You will need to check with individual religious marriage celebrants as to the protocols of their particular faith.

  • What documentation do I need to supply for a naming ceremony?

    There are no legal requirements to supply any documentation for a naming ceremony.

  • Can we write our own ceremony? And if we can, where can we find information to assist us?

    All professional celebrants can assist you to write your own ceremony by providing information and guidance. Alternatively you can find information and resources both in books and on the Internet. Some celebrants will write a ceremony for you in line with your specific requirements. Others will provide you with a selection of ceremonies that you can mix and match from to craft your own ceremony.

  • What can we expect for our fee?

    All professional celebrants will perform the ceremony at the venue of your choice and provide a naming certificate. The detail of what each celebrant provides needs to be discussed with the celebrant, and what your fee covers may differ from celebrant to celebrant. It is up to the client to determine whether what a particular celebrant's fee covers is value-for-money.

  • Can Godparents be appointed at a naming ceremony?

    You can, but do not have to appoint Godparents as part of a naming ceremony. While a naming ceremony differs from a Baptism or Christening in that the Godparents are not required to accept any religious responsibility, most people in our society now understand the term Godparent to mean an older adult who acts as a friend and mentor to the child and supports his or her parents in the parenting role. Many people do appoint Godparents, and may use the term Guardian, Mentor, Sponsor or something similar to describe them. It is perfectly acceptable also not to appoint Godparents.

  • One of the people I want to appoint as Godparent cannot be at the ceremony, can I still include him/her?

    By all means. The person will be mentioned by name, and you can have them sign the certificate at a later date.

Wedding Vow Renewals

Divorce Ceremonies

Commitment Ceremonies

  • Who can have a commitment ceremony?

    Anyone! A commitment ceremony is held between two people who love each other, but for personal or legal reasons cannot or do not wish to marry. The ceremony gives public recognition to their love. Traditionally a commitment ceremony has been used as a marriage ceremony surrogate (though without any legal standing) by same sex couples. However, heterosexual couples who do not wish to enter into a legal marriage may also have a commitment ceremony. Because the ceremony focuses on the emotional and community aspects of the relationship it can be very moving.

  • How much notice do I need to give the celebrant?

    A commitment ceremony is not a legal ceremony, and therefore there is no legal requirement to submit notice to a government department, thus there is no legal requirement for a period of notice for a commitment ceremony. However, because commitment ceremonies are often held at the weekend, and professional celebrants can be heavily booked, it is best to book your celebrant as early as possible.

  • Do we receive a certificate, or is there anything to sign?

    Yes, all celebrants will provide a certificate as a memento of the occasion.

Handfasting

  • Can we include handfasting in our wedding ceremony?

    Handfasting is becoming increasingly popular as part of a legal marriage ceremony. It is frequently used as the marriage vows are being exchanged, but can be used as a separate ritual at any time during the ceremony. Your professional celebrant will advise you on the best way to incorporate this ritual in your ceremony.

  • Does a handfasting ceremony have any legal status in Australia?

    No, it does not. Of course, if you include a handfasting ritual in a legal marriage ceremony, the marriage is legally recognised, but as a result of the legal vows not as a consequence of the handfasting.

  • How much notice do I need to give the celebrant?

    A handfasting ceremony is not a legal ceremony, and therefore there is no legal requirement to submit notice to a government department, thus there is no legal requirement for a period of notice for a handfasting ceremony. However, because commitment ceremonies are often held at the weekend, and professional celebrants can be heavily booked, it is best to book your celebrant as early as possible. If you are including handfasting in your wedding ceremony, then the legally required period of notice (one month and one day) is required.

  • Who can have a handfasting ceremony?

    Anyone! Traditionally only people with particular beliefs practised handfasting, but nowadays it is popular with all sections of society, particularly as a ritual included in a marriage or commitment ceremony.

  • Does handfasting have to be a part of a legal marriage ceremony?

    No. A handfasting can be held as a separate ceremony, incorporated in an engagement or commitment ceremony, or incorporated in a legal marriage ceremony.

  • Do we have to have a priest or priestess conduct our handfasting?

    No. Many professional celebrants will conduct a handfasting for you.