Are you thinking about becoming a marriage celebrant just to officiate at your friends’ or family members’ weddings? That’s a beautiful sentiment, but there’s a lot you need to know and consider before taking this route.
The Real Financial and Time Commitment
Becoming an authorised marriage celebrant in Australia isn’t something you can do overnight or for free. If you’re planning on being an excellent celebrant, we heavily encourage you to study the Certificate IV in Celebrancy.
Here’s what you’re looking at:
- Course Costs: A Certificate IV in Celebrancy can cost around $2,500 to $5,000, depending on where you study; we offer the course and you can find more information here.
- Time Investment: The course usually takes around 12 to 18 months to complete.
- Application Fees: After successfully finishing your course, you must apply to the Attorney-General’s Department, which incurs another fee and approximately three months’ wait time.
- Annual Fees: To maintain your authority to officiate weddings, there are yearly registration costs.
If you’re not planning on making this a business, these become sunk costs, and it all of a sudden becomes a lot more cost and time effective to hire a professional celebrant.
Business Costs to Consider
If you do decide to make a celebrancy business out of it, there are other costs to budget for:
- Marketing: Website, social media advertising, expos/fairs, and networking.
- Equipment: A good quality PA system, microphone, and tablet computer.
- Transport: Travel costs for destination weddings and even just driving around your own city.
- Time: Preparing for ceremonies, meetings with couples, and the wedding day itself takes considerable time.
Alternatives to Becoming a Celebrant
Before you commit to this pathway, let me offer you some alternatives. Instead of going through the financial and time commitment of becoming an authorised celebrant, you could consider involving a professional.
You can find a celebrant who aligns with your style and values via celebrant.xyz. Here are some ways you could work with an authorised celebrant:
- Pre or Post-Ceremony Legalities: The authorised celebrant can take care of all the legal elements before or after the actual ceremony day.
- Morning Legalities: On the day of the wedding, perhaps in the morning while everyone’s getting ready, the authorised celebrant can handle the legal words and paperwork.
- First Look Legalities: Minutes before the public ceremony, after a first look if there is one, the couple and the authorised celebrant can complete the legal obligations.
- Address the Crowd: Though this is my (Josh’s) personal least favorite because it interrupts the ceremony flow, the celebrant can handle the legals publicly during the ceremony.
As an example, when I marry couples overseas, I usually handle the paperwork either ahead of or after the international trip since I have no legal authority to marry them in foreign nations like Italy or Iceland. But in Australia, I can handle the legalities, usually before the ceremony in the morning or perhaps during the first look.
I’m all for more amazing celebrants joining the industry, and if you think you can bring something special to the role, then by all means, pursue it. But if you’re considering it solely to marry your friends, weigh the costs and commitments carefully. There are alternative ways to be part of your friends’ big day without becoming a celebrant.
Feel free to reach out if you have more questions about the journey to becoming a celebrant or finding alternatives.