6 Questions About Celebrants

What a Celebrant Is, Does, Earns and How to become one.

Thanks for coming and taking a read of this blog post. I assume you’re either getting married and doing some research about celebrants or you’re wanting to become a celebrant yourself.

There’s lots that can be said about those who pursue this path of work, from the reasons that they become a marriage celebrant, to the way they each have their own personal style, to the personalities that shape every aspect of their business.  

I’m a Melbourne marriage celebrant who does weddings in the city, Macedon ranges, Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong and plenty more areas. I’ve written some short answers to some of the common questions I hear asked about celebrants, so please get ready and enjoy one celebrants perspective on the unique individuals who live and breathe weddings each week.

Learn about Pete’s journey on becoming a Melbourne Celebrant

What is a Celebrant?

A Celebrant is the person who officiates the ceremony for a couple who are getting married at their wedding. In Australia their legal title is Commonwealth-registered Marriage Celebrant and more commonly known as a Civil Celebrant or Wedding Celebrant.

Others who can marry couples in Australia can also be a commonwealth registered religious marriage celebrant and ministers of religion, like a priest or pastor and then a state or territory officer.

What’s the difference between a Marriage Celebrant and a Religious Minister?

The main difference are the rites used to marry a couple, a civil marriage celebrant in Australia marries couples according to the Marriage Act 1961. Religious ministers marry couples according to their own religion. In Australia, around 80% of couples choose a marriage celebrant over the choice of a religious minister*.
*(Australia Bureau of Statistics from Easy Weddings 2021 Annual Report)

yarra valley wedding photo with celebrant

Photo taken by Michael Briggs at Zonzo Estate

How much do celebrants cost?

While each celebrant charges differently, Easy Weddings announced in their 2021 Annual Survey the average price is $780. This price includes all types of celebrants, from individuals who registered to do a friend’s wedding and all the way to full time celebrants who do 60-80+ weddings a year. From conversations with celebrants I know, I don’t know anyone under $1000 and up to $2000.

Why do Celebrants cost so much?

A common misconception is that a celebrant works for 30minutes in total, so how can they charge so much? To begin, a wedding celebrants price will vary depending on their experience, availability and overall value to couples.

One thought exercise is to imagine what would happen if all the celebrant did was simply work for 30minutes; does this mean they arrived at the same time as the bride?
Probably not… they would have arrived 45minutes early to make sure they were set up. What did they set up? They would have setup their sound system, which they paid for and provide for the couple.

Most likely they would triple check all the legal documents; something they had to do a course for, which they paid for. Then they had to register as a celebrant after the course, which they also had to pay for.

They would probably even practice the story once more, the story they spent hours writing and re-editing so it was perfect.
How did they find out the couples story? They probably sat with the couple for a few hours getting to know them, and then meet again for a runthrough/rehearsal.

Infact it’s estimated (again by Easy Weddings) an average of 13 hours is spent with each couple. Then once the celebrant receives their average rate of $780, is whittled down to around $471.90 after 10% GST, 20% Tax and 9.5% Super.
So in reality they earnt $36.30 p/h for their time, not including all the other expenses of sound system, suit or dress to look good for the wedding or marketing costs.

There is also this myth that whenever anyone mentions weddings, that vendors write another ‘0’ at the end of their ‘original’ price. Haha! This may be true? However the truth is more likely to be that a wedding is an incredibly significant event in a couples and even the individuals life. Extra care, time, attention and cost will need to be spent by vendors to make sure they provide quality service.

How do you become a Celebrant?

To become a Marriage Celebrant you need to study a Certificate 4 in Celebrancy and then apply to the Attorney General; as mentioned above there is a cost involved. You are also not guaranteed to become a celebrant simply because you complete the course, it depends if on the AG’s decision.
If you do want to the Cert IV, I highly recommend training with Sarah Aird through Celebrant Institute, she’s amazing and you may even get to do training with another amazing Celebrant, Matt Finch.

melbourne celebrant

Sarah Aird is ready to train you in Cert IV Celebrantcy

Is it hard to be a Celebrant?

It doesn’t involve manual labour, so it’s not hard in that aspect.
However it requires a fair bit of administration, a willingness to get to know new people as you work with couples and then the huge task of public speaking.
As public speaking is the main focus of your role, you will find it hard if you don’t enjoy doing that.

If you want want tips, stories and suggestions on how to make your day all the more special, subscribe here and don’t miss out!

Planning your wedding and need a Melbourne Wedding Celebrant – Look no further, you’ve found me! I’ll guide you through the whole process; vows, paperwork, story writing and stand by you on the day to deliver the ceremony you desire. Let’s talk!

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