Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

Your initial celebrant training experiences

CoCA is keen to ensure celebrants are well equipped for viable work as independent celebrants.

Second Public Consultation for new celebrant training now open - click here

  • Did you consider your initial training equipped you to start work as a competent independent marriage and/or other celebrant?
  • What suggestions do you have for change?

Whether you are a member of a CoCA association or not,  you may fill in the Message Box below to give us your examples.

NOTE: When you click 'Submit Comment" your wording does not disappear!

  • You can edit or add to your comments. We will check and publish the latest. 
  • However comments are not published immediately as the author must be verified.
  • If your post does not appear within 3 days please contact us.

If you have previously registered your email address with this website, you will need to login first. Otherwise you will find a "Username or email address in use" message that stops your making a comment.


Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.

To protect your privacy, full names will not be published with your comment.

Please note: If you have registered on this website, you must log in to make a comment.


  • Comment Link Kenneth Livingstone Tuesday, 12 May 2015 20:43

    I haven't participated in any CertIV training having been appointed back in 2008 but I wanted to make a comment please.

    It was mentioned in the most recent newsletter that CoCa representatives would like existing Celebrants to access nationally accredited courses within the CertIV programme. I feel the appropriate time for this type of training should role off the back of the Compulsory Training OPD, this way we could work through sections of the course via a one day programme each year; even if we had to follow up after the day on line.


    CoCA NOTE: The recommendations for VET Training were for new authorised Commonwealth Marriage Celebrants, not existing celebrants, unless the latter wished to take up the opportunity.

    However CoCA has consistently recommended OPD credit be available to marriage celebrants upgrading their celebrancy qualifications like any other profession.

  • Comment Link Jo Jolley Tuesday, 05 May 2015 09:36

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
    As I am already had completed the initial Certificate of Attainment and then the Cert IV in marriage celebrancy, I had also undertaken other courses in celebrancy to up skills ie Funeral, Trauma, Grief and Loss Counselling as well as Life Celebration (embracing all aspects to celebrate ie birthdays, naming days, etc) thus giving me and Advance Diploma in Celebrancy. Thus offering a wider range of service to clients.
    If someone is wishing to advance further and be relevant to today’s society great idea to offer diploma. Hopefully it is still a choice of the Celebrant if they wish to advance beyond marriages and have updated skills to offer.


  • Comment Link Angela Finn Saturday, 11 April 2015 14:31

    The training I received to become a marriage celebrant was adequate, but it certainly did not provide training regarding the essence of ceremony. I suppose it comes down to offering various types of training. Some people just want a service whereby the legal requirements are undertaken and that's it.

    Others consider the marriage to be ceremonial and if so, that is where the training lacks. To offer ceremony requires a real understanding of the meaning of ceremony - the nature of the celebration or the rite of passage and how one can express this, not just in the written form but verbally and visually. I

    think trainee celebrants could benefit from gaining a broader understanding of ceremony.
    I think the profession could benefit from raising the standard of education.


  • Comment Link Di moore Friday, 10 April 2015 14:58

    I have a cert 4. When I began, I did not feel as competent as I would have liked but so much you learn once you get on the horse so to speak ! I would like more opportunity to be a funeral celebrant but find it very difficult to break into this area . No experience no appointment but if you don't get an appointment it's hard to get exp erience. I love my job and would appreciate any training to bring it up to a new level .


  • Comment Link Maggie Dovile Friday, 10 April 2015 09:28

    I felt my initial training was very comprehensive, because the yearly OPD was introduced straight after my training I have found that the two sessions I have attended since did not introduce anything new at all.I am booked for this years OPD in May and I do not think this will be anything more than an expensive refresher. I would think an online quiz with possibly a two or three yearly study day would be adequate. The exception to this would be if major change occurred e.g same sex marriage being legalised. These comments not meant to be negative just that newly appointed celebrants are incurring costs that long term celebrants never did.


  • Comment Link Noni Johnson Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:40

    I was trained at Box Hill TAFE in 2004/5 by an excellent trainer. She was a very experienced and professional celebrant. I felt completely competent to go out and perform marriages with a good knowledge of the legal requirements and such a good practical knowledge of details relating to the process of marrying couples. I was very blessed that our trainer was willing to share so much of her vast knowledge of celebrancy with us, her students.


  • Comment Link Pauline Clark Wednesday, 08 April 2015 09:41

    I initially completed the basic 8 day training which was very basic . 2 years later , I then completed the certificate 4 which i believe everyone should have this qualification to maintain registration . There are too many celebrants who lack the basic interpretation of their role, which has a high level of responsibility and professional engagement with the community. Attending an OPD session with 30 or more celebrants ,where the questions asked by experienced celebrants is an embarrassment!
    Diploma level of education should be encouraged.


  • Comment Link Jude Wednesday, 08 April 2015 07:44

    I did my training nearly 5 years ago online and my Tutor was excellent. I felt comfortable that I knew all the legalities and my obligations as a Celebrant. The OPD courses each year are an excellent way to refresh our knowledge and keep us up to date with any changes.


  • Comment Link STAN KARASINSKI Tuesday, 07 April 2015 19:25

    Let sleeping dogs lie, don't tamper with a poorly setup system any more


  • Comment Link Patricia Mary lee Tuesday, 07 April 2015 19:06

    I chose to cover all aspects of Ceremonies in my comprehensive training with The Academy of Celebrancy Australia. It required me to enrol for three separate units for marriages, funerals and then other Life Celebrations and Ceremonies. I have no wish for further training myself but can recommend this extra enrichment as an option for all Celebrants.


  • Comment Link Sharon Norris Tuesday, 07 April 2015 18:23

    I was able to gain registration in 2004 by completing the single unit of competency needed in 2003/04 - CHCMCEL401A. I had a very competent trainer and it took a week of full time study in a face-to-face classroom setting to complete this unit. But I knew my journey as a celebrant had only just begun, and I spent a lot of time looking at the Act and Regs over the following years.

    I later enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Civil Ceremonies at Monash University (sadly no longer offered). I wanted to build on my knowledge but also offer my clients a celebrant service grounded in rigorous training beyond the VET level of my previous qualification. The GDCC is currently the highest qualification in celebrancy in the world.

    I think any form of qualification that celebrants can obtain only serves well for them and their business, but also encourages life long learning. Celebrants need to keep up with what's happening in the industry and the law, and I know lots moan about having to do 5 hours OPD per year but it is a necessary evil given the work that we do and the serious situations that confront us in our work. Very few of us have legal training and yet what we do changes a person's legal status. We need to be properly trained.

    However, having seen the appalling level of training that emerged from *some* RTOs providing celebrant training several years ago, what I fear is that without some form of regulation, independent RTOs can design their own courses based around VET requirements and there is no checking to ensure they offer proper training. If a full Cert IV (14 units) can be offered by some of these organisations in a weekend, how long will a full diploma level course take if delivered by shonks and cowboys? A week? This is the big worry.

    There's a lot to learn about weddings, but factor in the other types of celebrancy and it would take some time to get through a diploma level course. We need trained people working in this industry - not people flying by the seat of their pants, some of whom don't know how to register a marriage but hold a certificate of competency as a marriage celebrant. Unfortunately, that's what happened with some of the Dodgy Brothers training offered up a few years back by Those Who Shall Remain Nameless.

    The MCLS doesn't want to know about other forms of celebrancy that don't concern it - fair enough. But they should at least vet the VET studies in relation to marriage celebrancy. Some of the funds they are collecting from us could be used to do this. I know CoCA is a volunteer group but perhaps CoCA should have a role in this too. Make these providers accountable for what they are providing at great cost to those wanting to join the industry or improve their skills. We don't need shonks and cowboys growing fat and rich at the expense of celebrants thinking they are being properly trained when they are not.

    Thanks for asking for our thoughts on this.


  • Comment Link Judy Flanagan Tuesday, 07 April 2015 17:42

    I completed the Certificate 1V in Celebrancy with the International College of Celebrancy in Melbourne in 2013. The course was very comprehensive with what was covered in class and also the written work which was required. Having design a ceremony to role play a wedding rehearsal and ceremony and also a funeral ceremony were invaluable experiences.
    Whilst I have other tertiary qualifications which may have assisted, my view is that with access to the annual ongoing professional development, I feel adequately prepared to conduct both weddings and funerals. If a diploma was made compulsory, I would hope there might be some recognition of prior learning exempting some celebrants from completing this.

    I am also aware that Monash used to run a Diploma course which was no longer available when I was looking to complete my qualification.


  • Comment Link Trevor Rice Tuesday, 07 April 2015 15:38

    My Qualifications
    2/7/2004 Plan, conduct and review a Marriage Ceremony
    11/10/2004 Namegiving Training
    4/1/2005 Funeral Training Course
    23/10/09 Cert IV in Small Business Management
    23/10/09 Cert IV in Marriage Celebrancy
    5/10/10 Cert IV in Celebrancy

    In some instances the Cert IV in Celebrancy listed as the minimum Qualification is insufficient to train a new celebrant as other aspects of celebrancy are not covered. When I did my initial training I did other courses in namegiving and funerals to better prepare me for all areas. When offered other training I was an early adopter as being an educationalist I firmly believe in lifelong learning. I am also a member of the AFCC and regularly attend conferences.


  • Comment Link cathlyn Woollard Tuesday, 07 April 2015 12:36

    I was quite happy with my initial training, but if I wasn't good at marketing and have the confidence to speak in front of large crowds I would not have got anywhere. I know that most of the class by the 1st anniversary hadn't done a ceremony. But like all businesses if you don't promote or do further learning, then your business wont survived. I have done the further training. People seem to think that if they train in something - then they will have a great business - its how you run that business, profile, marketing, stationary, presentation, manner etc, that's how you become busy.


  • Comment Link Emma Dickson Tuesday, 07 April 2015 12:09

    No, I don't feel it prepared me. I think more face to face training is required, as well as more on-the-job experience (not sure how this would work, maybe a mentor program?). Learning about things that can go wrong on the day would really help, troubleshooting etc. I think that the training should be more in-depth.


  • Comment Link Francoise Gouges Tuesday, 07 April 2015 10:58

    My initial training was quite adequate and left me very equipped to work competently. It was mainly due to the excellent trainer. However, I am not against a diploma - I believe that knowledge is never wasted, provided we do learn new subjects/topics that, ideally, will help us in better performance of our job.


Back to top