I’m sure that all of you have familiarised yourself with the Marriage Act of 1961, so you probably don’t have to read this, but on the off chance that Sarah Aird has schooled you, like she’s just schooled me, on some things in the Marriage Act, I thought I’d share them here. These are new changes since marriage equality was legislated.

Today we’re talking about section 39G, Obligations of each marriage celebrant.

A marriage celebrant must …

conduct himself or herself in accordance with the Code of Practice for marriage celebrants prescribed by regulations made for the purposes of this paragraph

So here we’re taking about reading the Code of Practice, and hopefully exceeding it’s expectations of us. It’s all pretty standard stuff, but there’s a few interesting points some of us should note.

For example, wedding rehearsals, I don’t like them, but I – unlike some others – still do them if requested because the Code of Practise requires it of us. Another section mentions using a PA system, and I know personally of two celebrants who do not.

Have a read of the code and make sure your service offering is up to the absolute minimum set by the government, then maybe try and out-do it, for the love of god please!

undertake all professional development activities required by the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants in accordance with regulations made for the purposes of this paragraph; and comply with any disciplinary measures taken against the marriage celebrant under section 39I;

Do your OPD, it’s not that hard and it’s just the law. Put it in your phone reminders and set it to repeat every year. Do it.

notify the Registrar, in writing, within 30 days of: a change that results in the details provided by the person to the Registrar no longer being correct; or the occurrence of an event that might have caused the Registrar not to register the person as a marriage celebrant if the event had occurred before the person was registered;

Part of this is about your personal and contact details, and part of it is about making sure you’re still able to be a celebrant. Interesting side-note, many of us don’t have the Certificate IV in Celebrancy, I wonder if we probably should?

disclose that the celebrant is a marriage celebrant, and whether or not the celebrant is a religious marriage celebrant, in any document relating to the performance of services as a marriage celebrant (including advertisements) by the celebrant. Note 1: If a marriage celebrant fails to comply with these obligations, the Registrar may take disciplinary measures under section 39I. Note 2: For subparagraph (1)(c)(i), a person may notify the Registrar by updating the person’s details using a portal provided by the Registrar.

Your advertising has to say you are a “marriage celebrant”. Seems simple, but lots of marriage celebrants say “celebrant” or other varieties. The other side point here is that the law asks that “the celebrant” discloses the the celebrant is a marriage celebrant. My reading of that would be that “the celebrant” has to be identified. Simple stuff but I see lots of celebrant advertising that doesn’t mention the celebrant’s actual name. This is just poor branding, but I’d say it goes some way toward getting yourself a slap on the hands from the AGD.

Without limiting subsection (1), the regulations may require a fee to be paid in respect of an application for an exemption from requirements prescribed by regulations made for the purpose of paragraph (1)(b).

This is about the annual fee. Pay that annual fee, won’t you.