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Wikepedia says that:
A civil marriage celebrant is a private person authorised by the relevant government to perform legal civil marriages in a dignified and culturally acceptable manner, for those who, for whatever reason, do not choose a religious ceremony.
However, the reality is that a Marriage Celebrant does much more that this definition says.
A Civil Marriage Celebrant is required to undertake intense studies after which they are appointed by the Attorney-General’s department. Only after this process is completed are they authorised to solemnise marriages in Australia. Celebrants in Australia must abide by the Marriage Act 1961
An authorised Civil Marriage Celebrant is required to abide by a Code of Ethics (refer to General Information section on this site) and complete annual Professional Development. Civil Marriage Celebrants are now required to be registered annually by the Attorney General’s Department. If the strict guidelines aren’t met, then they risk losing their registration. A marriage celebrant should be able to produce a Certificate of Registration which is issued by the Attorney General.
Marriage Celebrants take care of all of the legal requirements and lodging of documents to ensure that your marriage is registered in accordance with the Marriage Act 1961.
Marriage Celebrants enable you to choose a location of your dreams for your ceremony. Marriage Celebrants provide an alternative to a religious ceremony or a marriage in a Registry Office. They can assist you to design your own wedding ceremony; create a personalised wedding ceremony for you; or combine your vows and ideas into a ceremony for you. If you wish to have a prayer or special religious reading, it can be accommodated within your ceremony.
Marriage celebrants are able to incorporate any rituals which you may want as a part of your ceremony. Some of the rituals are listed on Rituals for Ceremonies on this site. These are by no means all of the rituals that brides and grooms can share. There are many more available and your celebrant should be able to direct you to them.
Most importantly, a Civil Marriage Celebrant will work together with both the couple to ensure that they have a wedding ceremony that will stay in their hearts and memories for ever.
The Notice Of Intended Marriage is a requirement under Section 42 of the Marriage Act 1961. The NOIM is required “to be completed and given to the authorised celebrant solemnising the marriage”.
The Authorised celebrant then sends the Notice to the Registrar after the marriage. This information is used to register the marriage.
The Guidelines for the Marriage Act state:
The NOIM must be given to the authorised celebrant no earlier than 18 months and no later than one month before the date of the marriage.22 A notice expires after 18 months, and a marriage may not be solemnised if the NOIM was received more than 18 months before the date of the proposed marriage. Parties are encouraged to produce their evidence of date and place of birth as well as evidence of identity and the end of any previous marriage (if relevant) at the time of lodging the NOIM. However, this document may be produced at any time before the marriage is solemnised. For the purposes of complying with the timeframes required for lodging the NOIM it is sufficient for an authorised celebrant to sight scanned (emailed) or faxed copies of the documents at the time of lodgement of the NOIM, provided the originals are sighted by the authorised celebrant before the marriage is solemnised.
CODE OF PRACTICE FOR MARRIAGE CELEBRANTS
1. APPLICATION OF THIS CODE OF PRACTICE
This Code of Practice applies to marriage celebrants (being persons registered under Subdivision C of Division 1 of Part IV of the Marriage Act 1961).
Note: Under paragraph 39I(1)(b) of the Marriage Act 1961, if the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants is satisfied that a marriage celebrant has not complied with an obligation under section 39G of that Act, including this Code of Practice, the Registrar may take disciplinary measures against the marriage celebrant.
2. HIGH STANDARD OF SERVICE
A marriage celebrant must maintain a high standard of service in his or her professional conduct and practice.
3. RECOGNITION OF SIGNIFICANCE OF MARRIAGE
A marriage celebrant must recognise the social, cultural and legal significance of marriage and the marriage ceremony in the Australian community, and the importance of strong and respectful family relationships.
4. COMPLIANCE WITH THE MARRIAGE ACT AND OTHER LAWS
A marriage celebrant must:
(a) solemnize marriages according to the legal requirements of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth); and
(b) observe the laws of the Commonwealth and of the State or Territory where the marriage is to be solemnized; and
(c) prevent and avoid unlawful discrimination in the provision of marriage celebrancy services.
5. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MARRIAGE CEREMONIES
A marriage celebrant must respect the importance of the marriage ceremony to the parties and the other persons organising the ceremony. To that end, the marriage celebrant must do the following:
(a) give the parties information and guidance to enable them to choose or compose a marriage ceremony that will meet their needs and expectations;
(b) respect the privacy and confidentiality of the parties;
(c) maintain appropriate facilities to interview parties and provide office facilities, including facilities for the secure storage of records;
(d) within a reasonable time before the marriage ceremony:
(i) confirm all details with the parties; and
(ii) ensure the return of all personal documents belonging to the parties (unless it is necessary to keep the documents for the ceremony); and
(iii) sign any necessary declarations;
(e) if requested by the parties, conduct a marriage ceremony rehearsal;
(f) ensure that his or her personal presentation is of an appropriate standard for the marriage ceremony, and respect the expectations of the parties in relation to the ceremony;
(g) make efforts to ensure that the marriage ceremony is audible to all those present (using audio equipment, if required);
(h) ensure accuracy in the preparation of documents, and in the conduct of the marriage ceremony;
(i) arrive at the venue for the marriage ceremony no later than the time agreed with the parties;
(j) if the marriage celebrant has agreed to perform more than one marriage ceremony on the same day:
(i) ensure that the parties to each marriage receive a level of service that meets their separate and special requirements; and
(ii) be available at the venue for each marriage ceremony at least 20 minutes before the agreed commencement of each ceremony (unless, in the case of consecutive ceremonies, the ceremonies are to be held at the same venue);
(k) ensure that all relevant documents are completed and sent to the appropriate registering authority within 14 days after the marriage ceremony, as required by section 50 of the Marriage Act 1961;
(l) in relation to the provision of marriage services, accept evaluative comment from the parties, and use any comments to improve performance;
(m) give the parties information about how to notify the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department of any concerns or complaints they may have regarding the marriage services provided by the marriage celebrant.
6. KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS SERVICES
A marriage celebrant must:
(a) maintain an up-to-date knowledge about appropriate family relationships services in the community; and
(b) inform parties about the range of information and services available to them to enhance, and sustain them throughout, their relationship.