Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

2016 Additional statistics - post CoCA Survey

Rohan Verco
Marriage Law and Celebrant Section

Attorney-General’s Department
Canberra ACT 2600

Friday 6th October 2016

Dear Rohan

As discussed at the last Stakeholders Meeting and yesterday, it would be helpful for our profession to have more information upon which to plan training, professional development and other services for celebrants.

There may be other ways to collect some information for improving the Marriage Celebrant Program and assisting Workforce development needs (e.g. an entry survey, exit survey as well as the annual survey) at the same time.

It would also be beneficial for the AGD to compile a statistical fact sheet each financial year summarising this data (Items 1 to 11) and publish this on the AGD website for the information of all celebrants. If possible, retrospective comparative data would be very useful to show changing trends. If not, CoCA may be able to assist by searching our records of previous meetings with the Department for some of those figures.

In particular, the Coalition of Celebrant associations would like to know how representative our survey sample of the Commonwealth marriage celebrant population is. To assist the following would be helpful:

1.     Statistics currently provided by the Department.

CoCA appreciates and recommends that the following statistics continue as previously supplied:

1.     Registrations

2.     Applications for registration

3.     Number of new registrations – and type (civil/ religious)

4.     Application fee exemptions

5.     De-registrations – and reason

6.     Number of Exemptions from the annual fee

7.     Incoming correspondence

8.     OPD compliance

9.     OPD exemptions

10.  Complaints – by type (Statutory/ Non-statutory)
Statutory complaints relate to the solemnisation of a marriage; non-statutory complaints relate to any other matter raised about a celebrant

11.  Complaints – by description for both types.

The following additional information would make the statistics more meaningful:

Item 1: Registrations

Add type of celebrant (civil/ religious/ both) at comparative date (e.g. 1st July each year)

Add gender (male, female, no sex, intersex)

Add by age: 18 to 29; 30 to 39; 40 to 49; 50 to 59; 60 to 69; 70 to 75; 76 or older

Add number of Commonwealth Marriage Celebrants by states and territories

Add number of Commonwealth Marriage Celebrants by date of appointment - 1973 to 1984; 1985 to 1994; 1995 to 2002; 2003 to June 2010; July 2010 to June 2014; July 2014 to now

Add Highest Education Qualification gained – SC, HSC, Cert IV, VET Dip., VET Advanced Dip., Degree, Gradate Dip. Masters, Phd.

Item 2: Applications for registration

add gender, type of celebrant (civil/ religious)

Item 3: Number new registrations

add gender, type of celebrant (civil/ religious)

Item 5: Reasons for de-registration – and reasons

The Form used by the department needs to collect information to assist with future planning.

1.     Gender
2.     Highest Education Qualification gained
3.     Year of Authorisation
4.     Year of De-registration
5.     Age at De-registration
6.     Reason for Resignation/ De-registration
        - De-registration due to age
        - De-registration due to health and/or disability
        - Not proceeding due to   
        - costs of maintaining authorisation   
        - lack of work   
        - other
7.     Did your training adequately prepare you to establish an independent celebrancy business?
8.     Did your ongoing professional development assist you in developing your celebrancy career?
9.     Any recommendations to improve the Marriage Celebrant Program?

Item 7: Incoming correspondence

Add inquirer type – public, state/territory celebrant, Commonwealth celebrant

Add type of inquiry – about becoming a celebrant, about the program (e.g. opd, fees), legal information, other information or however they are grouped in your records.

2.     Statistics from the Annual Return

At the last stakeholders meeting there was mention of an annual survey in January. There were nine questions on our survey that would be useful from a workforce development perspective to compare with a survey of all Commonwealth Marriage Celebrants.

Question 1: Are you currently a financial member of a celebrant association?

  • yes
  • no - however I am a member of a celebrant association that does not charge  fees
  • no
  • don't know
Question 2: If you are NOT a financial member of a celebrant association, why is this the case?

  • not applicable
  • don’t know what they do
  • don’t do enough ceremonies to pay for the  fees
  • too busy to receive their support
  • got all I need from my training
Question 3: If YES to question 2, how many celebrant associations are you a current financial member of?


  • ·       one
  • ·       two
  • ·       three
  • ·       more than three
Question 4: Are you covered by a CAL Celebrant Copyright Licence?

  • yes
  • ·       no
  • ·       don't know
  • ·       other
Question 5: Do you currently have Celebrant Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance cover?

  • yes
  • no
  • don't know
Question 6: If YES to question 5, is this Individual or Group Cover?


  • not applicable
  • individual
  • group
  • don't know whether my cover is individual or  group
Question 7: In the last calendar year (Jan – Dec), how many wedding ceremonies did you perform?

1 to 9; 10 to 19; 20 to 35; 36 to 49; 50 to 75; 76 to 100; over 100

Question 8: Is celebrancy a major source of your income?


  • Yes
  • No
Question 9: Using a Registry Office fee for a comparable state or territory below as an approximate guide, what would be your average Saturday fee for the following styles of marriage ceremonies?
  • A basic wedding with only the legals included   
  • A personalised wedding   using common readings and rituals
  • A, one off unique ceremony, with original text, rituals, choreography etc.
< Will need to be checked at the time of publication >

Day-time Saturday BDM fees $507 NSW; $490 Victoria; $400 Queensland; $280 SA; $240 NT. ACT and Tasmania do not provide marriage ceremonies and WA only provides mid-week weddings @ $355.


  • ·       I do not charge for weddings
  • ·       less than the registry fee
  • ·       about same as the registry fee
  • ·       about $100 –  $250 more than the registry fee
  • ·       about $250 - $500 more than the registry fee
  • ·       about $500 or more than the registry fee

The following questions were used as part of the CoCA Survey. It would be appreciated if these could be incorporated into the Annual Return Survey and, if the Department is planning a survey on ongoing professional development in association with its review of the OPD, then such a mechanism may also be useful.

Question 1:  In regards to ongoing professional development for Commonwealth marriage celebrants, how would you rank the OPD options available through the current approved OPD program in relation to these 4 areas?
  • ·       access to what I consider my priority needs
  • ·       access to the latest trends in marriage and other ceremonies
  • ·       ability to strengthen existing skills
  • ·       ability to learn new skills
  • ·       not available
  • ·       excellent
  • ·       good
  • ·       satisfactory
  • ·       poor
  • ·       don’t know
Question 2: Skills required for marriage work can be strengthened by opportunities to practice those skills for other ceremonies. What ceremonies would you like to see available as part of approved elective OPD options?

  • ·       funerals
  • ·       memorials 
  • ·       interment//scattering of ashes 
  • ·       divorce or new beginnings
  • ·       namings 
  • ·       coming of adolescence and coming of  age
  • ·       birthdays 
  • ·       ceremonies for seniors e.g. retirement, eldering
  • ·       wedding anniversaries
  • ·       marriage vow renewals
  • ·       commitments
  • ·       same sex unions
  • ·       ceremonies for the LGBTIQ
  • ·       none of the above
Question 3: With regard to skills, which skills would you value as part of approved OPD? 

  • ·       planning a ceremony for any occasion 
  • ·       building client rapport 
  • ·       networking 
  • ·       marketing analysis 
  • ·       small business planning and evaluation
  • ·       social media
  • ·       performing as Master of Ceremonies 
  • ·       creative writing 
  • ·       research
  • ·       organisation and management 
  • ·       application of psychological, social and cultural knowledge to  ceremonies  
  • ·       celebrant presentation and performance  skills
  • ·       IT and computer technology
Question 4: Do you consider approved celebrant associations could be more involved in the approval and provision of ongoing professional development activities as is the case in other professions?

  • ·       yes 
  • ·       no 
  • ·       don't know
Question 5: There are a range of educational activities available via Universities, CAE’s, TAFE, continuing education centres etc. Would you like some of these educational activities approved as elective OPD options available to marriage celebrants?

  • ·       yes  
  • ·       no 
  • ·       don't know 
Question 6:  What ways do you suggest OPD be improved? Please Comment


We would be very pleased to dialogue further with the Department about this matter.

Kind regards

Rona Goold
CoCA Secretary

Coalition of Celebrant Associations (CoCA) Inc.
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