How Wedding Celebrants Came to Be

It was July 1973 in Australia when the concept of a marriage ceremony was vastly altered through the efforts of then Attorney-General Lionel Murphy. On this date, the attorney-General Murphy appointed Lois D’Arcy, a mother and teacher from Queensland was appointed to be the first civil celebrant in Australia and in the world. Due to Lionel Murphy’s dream of one day seeing couples, without any affiliations to any religious or devout organizations to be united in marriage or other ceremonies that he made this particular appointment which really made concerned couples satisfied. Thirty years later Kelly Stables , another attorney-general, Daryl Williams QC made an extensive review then made duly reforms to the marriage celebrancy system. In September 2003 the marriage celebrancy reforms, where all prospective marriage celebrants were to undertake a Government approval accredited marriage celebrancy training and pass particular standards set by the Attorney-General’s Department; before he or she could be announced as a suitable individual holding responsibility and functions as a marriage celebrant. If the applicant succeeds in this initial screening, he or she is then added to a list of people waiting to be registered by the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants. Every year on September or at particular times within a year if believed to be necessary, appointments of celebrants are held. Applicants who have obtained the training and requirements are immediately appointed and registered as a marriage celebrant.

What makes Civil Marriage celebrants different from a Religious celebrant such as a minister or a priest? A marriage celebrant belongs to no specific secular organization and is not connected with any church or religious sect; a priest or minister on the other hand performs marriage duties in conformity to the rules and regulations defined by the religion and thus are often not compliant with the desires of the marrying couple for their marriage.

A wedding ceremony officiated by a marriage celebrant may be held anywhere the couple wish for it to be held from the beach and seashores to the mountains and forests. Unlike in a religious wedding ceremony, a marriage presided by a marriage celebrant could be customized according to the desires and wishes of the couple and this includes personalizing even vows, words, music, poetry, venue, day and time.

Before when AG Lionel Murphy has not yet created his appointment, couples were married within the bounds of the Registry Office and only on weekdays within office hours. If there are so many couples listed to be marriage on that day, the couple then would have to sit on benches as they await their turn. Two individuals are only then allowed to witness the ceremony which lasted mostly for two minutes.

As a result of AGs Murphy and Williams efforts, non-religious couples are now able to choose the time, day and location of their wedding. And they may choose from a number of appointed marriage celebrants who will oversee the marriage. The couple is not anymore limited to have only two witnesses but as many as they want. If they choose an outdoor location or any place where there is no existing or available sound systems, some celebrants may provide this need for them in addition to being present at rehearsals on site

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