Office of Marriage Celebrant (Get me away from the church!)

NSW Couples Turn Away from Religious Wedding Ceremonies

Source: CathNews

NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages figures show that celebrants performed 60.6 percent of ceremonies in 2008, compared to 39.4 percent for religious weddings.

The figures show that couples are shunning religious wedding ceremonies in record numbers and going down the civil path to marriage to gain control and avoid pre-marital counselling, the Sunday Telegraph says.

Religious weddings outnumbered civil ceremonies until 2001 when they reached a 50-50 split.

The number of civil marriages has steadily risen to hit a high last year, the paper says.

Social researchers say the trend is driven by second and subsequent marriages, older brides and grooms, along with the decline of religious observance in Australia and couples’ desire for greater freedom in designing their ceremony.

“Most churches have a reasonably non-negotiable policy of having to have some pre-marriage counselling or be involved in some sort of premarital course,” demographer Mark McCrindle said. “In a commitment free era that is one of the limitations.”

The above news is not a surprise.

I also saw the below write up on a website ( for marriage celebrants. Maybe I read it with filtered glasses but is it a farfetched view to form, based on the below write-up, to say the premise or idea for creating the office of marriage celebrants is to exclude the institution of the church?

It is the extension of the age old problem of sin – rejection of God and His ways. Don’t tell me what to do, I will decide what is right for me. I don’t want God (the church) to tell me how I should have my wedding – I want to do it in a way that suits me.

A marriage celebrant facilitates that. The office is designed to do that.

Doing things to suit one-self is not in itself, problematic. It becomes problematic if the driver of seeking to do things which suit one-self, is the exclusion of God and institutions which represent Him. In doing that, we are simply following the ways of a society which has clearly rejected God and His ways.

Notice also the lies in this write-up. Couples are seldom precluded from organising weddings to suit what they want design wise or aesthetically. All you need to include in the ceremony was God and His word along with what flows from that. I’d say if you are true to the teaching of God and the traditions of the church, the designs and aesthetics take on even more meaningful levels. The biggest lie of course, is that God and the church makes you miserable and you can only be happy if you free yourself from its clutches. It’s a lie which says you can only find happiness in yourself and away from God. Why we as a church would want to identify ourselves with such an office and practice, is a curious thing for me.

Here’s the write-up (emphases in bold – as was the extracted news item – are mine).

In Australia, a celebrant is a professionally trained creator and conductor of all nature of ceremonies. Australia is unique in the world, in that non-religious persons, or persons with spiritual beliefs that are not aligned to a particular church, can become legally qualified to perform rites of marriage.

Celebrants in Australia have been performing rites of marriage, commitment, funeral, naming and other ceremonies since the late 1960’s. The Find Your Celebrant. pages will help you find the right celebrant for your occasion.

Australia Leads the World In Civil Ceremonies!

Have a good look at the couple above. (Sorry, picture left out) What a wonderful scene! Off camera 50-100 guest are clapping with happiness too. It wasn’t always so!

Before the appointment of Civil Marriage Celebrants by Attorney-General of Australia, Lionel Murphy, in July 1973, this couple would not have had such a happy smile. They probably would not have been smiling at all. Lionel Murphy, changed the face of the marriage ceremony in Australia for all time by appointing Queensland mother and teacher, Lois D’Arcy as Australia and the world’s first civil celebrant. Lionel Murphy’s vision was to see non-religious couples enjoy a marriage or other ceremony that was to be emotionally satisfying and in accordance with their desires.

Due to his untiring efforts, and further amendments by Attorney-General Daryl Williams QC, you are able to choose everything about your wedding ceremony that you could desire,
vows, words, music, poetry, venue, day and time.

Without their efforts, our couple would have had to get married in a Registry Office*
on a week day in office hours. They would have had to queue up on a long dreary bench,
they would only have been allowed two witnesses and one photo. Their ceremony would
have been purely legal and would have taken, at the most, two minutes.

Because of the work of AG’s Murphy and Williams, this couple could and did, choose their own place (Overnewton Castle -Melbourne), their own time (11am), their own day. They chose their own professionally trained celebrant (by the International College of Celebrancy, of course), Genevieve Messenger DipMC. They invited as many guests as they wanted to. The guests heard every word. A PA system amplified Bride, Groom, Readers and Celebrant – another PA system played music at an appropriate volume and level. Most of all, the couple worked on, planned, chose and wrote, then rehearsed with the celebrant on site, their own ceremony of substance.

Not even Prince Charles and his bride Camilla Parker-Bowles had this much freedom in their ceremony!

We know You want YOUR Ceremony to be Special and Unique to You!

Call the Celebrant Centre on (03) 94190460 and obtain our books and booklets on ceremony. Author Dally Messenger is a pioneer of civil celebrancy in Australia. Many couples prefer to read these books first so they have a few ideas before they see a celebrant.

You Should Choose Your Celebrant Wisely!

Even if your wedding is low key, it often requires more time and organization than you can imagine. Ceremonies are like everything else in life, the more you put into them, the more you get out of them. This applies to you as Bride and Groom. It also applies to your professional celebrant.

Choose your celebrant on the basis of the services they provide plus their professional manner, their conduct, training, attitude; look in Find Your Celebrant: to find celebrants who are recommended on the basis of their commitment to you and the successful outcome of your day. Our brochure ‘Your Wedding Ceremony’ is a valuable aid to understand the services and celebrant qualities you should check for.

Choose Carefully

Choose a celebrant who has attained a Diploma of Marriage Celebrancy from the International College of Celebrancy. Our courses are designed, presented and assessed by practicing celebrants.

The celebrant movement, so unique to Australia, has brought wonderful opportunities. The main privilege a celebrant ceremony brings is choice. All the choices are yours. It is within your power to choose a ceremony with deep and lasting meaning, providing an indelible memory which will help you sustain a loving relationship.