Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

Appendix 1: Rationale behind Limiting Approvals

Note: The figures quoted in this Appendix were provided by the Marriage Celebrant Section in the early 2000’s as part of the Consultations conducted at that time, as well as from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

An annual fee will not deter people becoming celebrants even at $600. Naively people would think - ”that’s only one wedding” in the same way they will think about advertising costs when starting as a celebrant.

But an annual fee may
  • force out lots of competent celebrants, who do not have private wealth or other income at around the 5 year mark,
  • mean a constant flow of new inexperienced celebrants coming in.
High uncontrolled numbers will mean that most celebrants will never get the breadth of experience that long term celebrants (pre 1995) have of around 1000 weddings after a 20 year career.

The net effect of that on the sector is a backward one.

The government has no evidence to support the assumption that the majority of civil celebrants can earn a sustainable full-time weekly wage equivalent from wedding work alone.

National Average Rate under Needs Based system:

1995 = 64 weddings per celebrant pa;
1999 = 35 weddings per celebrant pa;

Under “open market”

2011 = 6.6 weddings per celebrant pa;

Under “Professional Celebrant Fee:

Loss of 10% of celebrants only raises no of weddings per celebrant to 8

Loss of 30% of celebrants only raises no of weddings per celebrant to 10.2

To make a full-time weekly wage equivalent from wedding work alone, a civil celebrant would need to average 100 weddings pa.

With 72,000 weddings pa nationally that means 720 celebrants in total and the consequent need for the government to remove:
  • 93% of the current 10,300 civil celebrants now appointed.
  • 50% of civil marriage celebrants every year to maintain this number as 700+ new celebrants are appointed each year.
An average of one wedding per month per celebrant = 12 pa
An average of one wedding per fortnight per celebrant = 24 pa

It takes 3 to 5 years to get established in a community. So under the current ’unlimited’ numbers approach, the chances are that many celebrants will decide at around 5 years, that the time and money they put in, cannot be justified despite their work satisfaction. This will affect especially those celebrants who do not have private wealth or who need a full-time wage for their family to survive. This has nothing to do with their competency as a celebrant.

If one has to work full-time at another job plus prepare, rehearse and deliver weddings, there is little time to think, research and practice new approaches – a negative for the continuing development of a professional. The net effect of all this is a backward step for marriage celebrancy.

The MLCS state that they are receiving 50-80 applications presently per month.  So the intake is still above retirement/de-registration rates.

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