9 Things Celebrants are NOT Allowed to Do

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © (
Celebrant | Wedding Legals  |
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Dictionary pages with phrase Against the Law
                      highlighted. Magnifying glass and sthe word
                      IllegalBreak the law? That's one thing that your marriage celebrant cannot do. We have to comply with all of the provisions of the Marriage Act and with all State and Federal laws, together with Council by-laws. We also have to comply with the Celebrant Code of Practice.

What that means is that we would be in serious trouble (like jail time or huge fines) and we would be de-registered if we do anything that is illegal. So FYI here is a list of things that your celebrant cannot do.

Marry anyone who is underage

The legal age for marriage in Australia is 18. If one person is 16 or 17 they must have permission from the Court to marry someone who is 18 or older. Two people under 18 cannot marry.

Marry anyone who is drunk, stoned, or under the influence of medications

You must be able to be able to give real consent to your marriage. If your decision-making capacity is impaired your celebrant must make you wait until you have sobered up before going ahead with the wedding.

Marry anyone who lacks the mental capacity to consent

If you are unable to understand what marriage is, and what getting married means, celebrants cannot go ahead with the wedding.

Marry anyone who is using a false name

A marriage where one or both parties use a false identity is a void marriage. It isn't legal. If you use a false name you won't be legally married and everyone involved will be in trouble.

Be party to a forced marriage

You must be marrying of your own free will. If the celebrant suspects that you are being forced or psychologically co-erced, or tricked into the marriage, the celebrant must refuse to marry you and report the matter to the Australian Federal Police.

Be involved in a sham marriage

Marrying a couple who don't know one another and will have nothing to do with after the marriage, usually for the purpose of obtaining a visa, is in breach of the Migration Act and can land everyone in jail.

Unlawfully discriminate

An authorized marriage celebrant cannot unlawfully discriminate on any of the grounds covered in the Anti-Discrimination legislation. Your race, religion (or lack of it), gender, who you love, your previous marital or relationship history, whether you are a parent, etc are not allowed to be used as a reason to refuse to marry you. As long as you comply with the requirements of the Marriage Act, that is.

Breach your right to privacy

There is a substantial list of things that a celebrant must do to protect your privacy, and an equally substantial list of things they must not do.

Your celebrant must
  • Only collect information required to provide you with the service
  • Store all personal information securely
  • Destroy copies of your ID documents, such as birth certificates, once your marriage has been registered

Your celebrant must not

  • Share your personal information without your consent - which means everything from identifying you and sharing information about you and your wedding on social media to outsourcing writing of your ceremony or parts of it
  • Post photos of you on social media without your consent, regardless of who took the photo
  • Ask you to provide information that is not relevant to marrying you, for example, your visa status,

Offer you an incentive for a 5 star review

Celebrants aren't unique in this one. The Competition and Consumer Act classifies any review for which a cash or kind incentive has been offered as a fake review. And it is illegal. The ACCC has the power to impose fines and insist that the review is removed.


The nine things on this list are breaches of the law that would not only directly affect you, but could also result in you getting into hot water.

Related information

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                        Jennifer Cram
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