Marriage Celebrant’s Code of Practice

Australian Marriage Celebrants’ Code of Conduct

Did you know that Australian registered marriages are bound by a code of conduct?   Paragraph 39G(a) of the Marriage Act requires Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants to
comply with the Code of Practice in Schedule 1A to the Marriage Regulations. The Code of Practice
imposes legal obligations on all Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants.

Some of the key elements of the Marriage Celebrants’ Code of Conduct are listed below:

Item 4 requires Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants to solemnise marriages
according to the legal requirements of the Marriage Act, to observe the laws of the
Commonwealth and of the State or Territory where the marriage is solemnised and ensure
there is no unlawful discrimination in the provision of marriage celebrancy services.

Item 5 lists a number of requirements relating to the preparation for, and the conduct of,
the marriage ceremony. Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants must:
– respect the privacy and confidentiality of the couple
– ensure secure storage of all records relating to the solemnisation of any marriages
– ensure they are available at the venue for the ceremony no later than the time agreed
with the parties
– if the celebrant has agreed to perform more than one marriage ceremony on the same
day, be available at the venue for each marriage ceremony at least 20 minutes before
the agreed commencement of each ceremony (unless consecutive ceremonies are being
held at the same venue)
– ensure marriage documents are completed accurately and the relevant marriage
paperwork is forwarded to the relevant State or Territory BDM for registration of the
marriage within 14 days of solemnising the marriage, and
– inform couples that they are able to make a complaint if they are unhappy with the
Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant’s service, and provide couples with
information provided by the department on how to make complaints.

Item 6 requires Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants to maintain up-to-date
knowledge about the range of information and services designed to enhance and sustain
marrying couples throughout their relationship, not just in the period immediately preceding
the marriage ceremony. Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants must also inform
marrying couples about this range of services. Meeting this obligation requires ongoing
action by Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants. The family relationship services
available in their area should be reviewed by them annually at least to ensure the
information they provide to marrying couples is up-to-date.