Who can perform a marriage ceremony in Australia?

Only people who are legally authorised under the Marriage Act in Australia, may solemnise marriages.

The three categories of ‘authorised celebrant’ under the Marriage Act are:

  1. Ministers of religion who are registered by the States and Territories to solemnise marriages for a recognised denomination. These are referred to as ‘category A’ authorised celebrants. This category of authorised celebrants have a registration number beginning with a letter that relates to the state or territory in which they were registered (such as ‘W’, ‘S’, ‘V’, ‘N’)
  2. State and Territory Officers—staff of Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) or court officers—who are authorised to solemnise marriages as part of their employment. These are referred to as ‘category B’ authorised celebrants.
  3. Marriage celebrants (This is my category) registered by the Commonwealth under the Marriage Celebrants Programme. These are referred to as ‘category C’ authorised celebrants. This includes marriage celebrants who perform religious ceremonies (whether or not they are also designated as ‘religious marriage celebrants’) and marriage celebrants who perform civil marriage ceremonies (whether or not they are designated as ‘religious marriage celebrants’). Marriage celebrants in this category have a registration number beginning with the letter ‘A’.
  • Religious marriage celebrants are a subcategory of Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants under Subdivision D of Division 1 of Part IV of the Marriage Act (category D celebrants). In order to become a religious marriage celebrant, a person must first be a marriage celebrant registered by the Commonwealth.

Chaplains of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF), and ADF marriage officers, who solemnise marriages overseas under Part V of the Marriage Act are also authorised celebrants under the Act.


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