Weddings Officiants and Marriage Celebrants: How They Work
Celebrants of weddings are the officiants, or those authorised to perform marriage ceremonies.
In Australia, marriage celebrants are people designated specifically to officiate weddings. Although celebrants in a broader definition are those who lead ceremonies, the specified function of marriage celebrants is to lead and officiate weddings. Marriage celebrants have the authority to perform ceremonies not limited to legal ceremonies, such as the renewal of wedding vows.
In weddings, marriage celebrants are those who conduct the ceremony, and it is not uncommon in Australia for a non-clergy member to officiate such a legal ceremony. This act of designating marriage celebrants as the wedding officiant was meant to substantiate the idea that non-religious ceremonies such as basic weddings were no less important, official, or legal than a religious ceremony.
In Australia, only marriage celebrants authorised by the Australian government may perform the legally binding rite of wedding officiants, whether they are religious celebrants or marriage celebrants who perform as wedding officiants.
The social function of marriage celebrants is to be the wedding officiants in a dignified manner for the sake of couples who wish to have weddings performed in a non-biased, non-religious environment, thus bypassing the need for a clergy member to perform such weddings and ceremonies. The legal authority of any marriage celebrants must be granted by the local or relevant government and these marriage celebrants must be legally authorised to perform and officiate weddings.
The increase of marriage celebrants authorised specifically to perform legal, non-religious ceremonies such as weddings occurred mainly due to the widespread rejection of many church-based standards, especially with regard to weddings and marriages.
Non-religious marriage celebrants allow couples to have weddings regardless of their previous marital status and regardless of their respective religions.
Additionally, an increasing number of those declaring themselves non-religious, agnostic, and atheistic required changes to be made. Weddings performed by civil celebrants as wedding officiants allowed these people to become legally joined in matrimony without having to conform to religious standards that they themselves did not agree with.
In modern Western culture, the term usually applied to a person who performs as wedding officiants and other legal ceremonies is “officiate,” but this term has the broader definition of inclusion of such people authorised to perform legally binding ceremonies such as marriage celebrants, notaries, ministers, and Justices of the Peace. Marriage celebrants, though, is a term that specifically applies to those designated to legally perform as wedding officiants.