Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

From the Attorney General’s Department – Annual Marriage Celebrant Returns

Below are a set of figures on Civil Marriage Celebrant work supplied by the Attorney General’s Department over a decade ago.

These figures show that
  • civil marriage celebrancy has NOT been an occupation capable of sustaining a full-time income for the vast majority of civil celebrants for at least the last 15 years.
  • then, as now, the vast majority of civil marriage celebrants (96%) have subsidised their celebrancy work in time or money.
Today 60% of weddings conducted by commonwealth appointed celebrants, 5% BDMs and 35% recognised religious celebrants.

On these figures, that means approx 72,000 weddings for 10,300 celebrants. The Regulation Impact Statement issued by the Attorney General’s Department (AGD) verifies the numbers as 6.6 weddings per celebrant pa.

To return to the 1999 average of 35 weddings per celebrant pa would require de-registering 80% of celebrants and even then a Registration Fee would NOT be justified given the fact that marriage work cannot sustain a full-time income.

Registration Fees may be justified for professions that do offer full-time employment and / or income to sustain a full-time wage, but not for one where part-time wage equivalents for the majority of professionals is evident.

Source: A-G’s Dept. and ABS  
CIVIL Marriage Celebrants – UNDER Section 39.2.
October 2000 No. of Civil Marriage Celebrants = 1671
In 1999 No of ALL Marriages in Australia 114,300
  % Performed by Civil Marriage Celebrants 51.3%
  No. Performed by Civil Marriage Celebrants 58,636
CIVIL Marriage Celebrants – UNDER Section 39.2

Figures in Blue were supplied from the Attorney General’s Department (no of CIVIL celebrants) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. NOTE:
Number of CIVIL commonwealth Appointed Celebrants, excluded the non-aligned religious, special needs language groups, special needs disability groups = 1671

This shows in 1999 the average number of weddings per celebrant was 35

ie approx 1 wedding per fortnight averageThis compared with 1995 Ratio:
1 celebrants per 64 weddings pa

Table 1 – CIVIL MARRIAGES 1999
Number Of Weddings

Per Annum






6.78 %


1 – 10

29.53 %


11 – 25

26.20 %


26 – 50

21.70 %


51 – 100

12.08 %


101 – 150

2.53 %


151 – 200

0.95 %


200 plus

0.25 %


Figures in Blue were compiled from the Annual Returns submitted by celebrants and supplied by the Attorney General’s Department (AGD). The figures in black were extrapolated from the figures supplied by the AGD.Without Annual Returns, there is no objective data to verify the distribution of the number of weddings per celebrant.

Recommendation: collection of statistics of number of weddings per celebrant pa be collected and built into the new database / web portal.

Average No. of Weddings per WEEK


Total No. of CIVIL Celebrants


Percentage of CUMULATIVE TOTAL NOS of CM Celebrants  
1 or less 1406 84.21 % 84 %
Over 1 268 15.81 % 16%
Over 2 63 3.75 %  
However these figures caution assuming the Marriage Celebrancy can sustain a full-time income. Given the fact that civil celebrants must supply their own resources and wage, an average of two or more weddings per week would be required to make a sustainable income from wedding work alone.

Only less than 4% were able to sustain a level of work to make a sustainable wage.

that civil celebrants earn a lot from wedding
that civil celebrants subsidise their wedding work, from their own personal wealth or other employment.
Read more … see TABLE OF CONTENTS
The aim of this recommendation is to allow celebrant associations to establish a planning team of local marriage celebrants to host information sessions with representatives of Relationship Education Services, Legal Services and marriage celebrant groups.

It is recommended that funding for marriage information sessions for the general public be provided to CoCA associations.

These sessions would focus on information about the different styles of marriage ceremonies, the importance of marriage and the support services available to support marriage. It would:
  • Encourage prospective marrying couples to use the services of a marriage celebrant who is a member of a celebrant association, recognised religion, or registry office.
  • Maximise the services of celebrant associations in hosting information sessions on marriage to the community.
Cost Recovery

Some of various stakeholders in this exercise already receive state or federal funding for these roles. Part of the fee proposed via all marriages or all marriage celebrants as outlined in Recommendation 13 would assist increasing community information about marriage and both civil and religious marriage celebrants.

Read more … see TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Coalition of Celebrant Associations (CoCA) Incorporated invites journalists and other media personnel to contact us for information about the role of civil celebrants in Australian society, the range and types of celebrants offering services to their communities, and the range of ceremonies including weddings, namings, aniversaries, funerals and memorials. CoCA also advises the Government on the Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant Program, the Australian Marriage Act 1961 and its impact on marriage celebrants and marrying couples.

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