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Established 1995 - Registered Training Organisation No 21737
Phone: 61-3-9419 0460, Fax: 61-3- 9419 0783 - or Enquiries - Diane Storey - 0417 106 275
PO Box 548, Richmond, 3121, Victoria, Australia

The International College of Celebrancy is a business name owned by Dally M Publishing and Research Pty Ltd ABN 29 006 569 099


Celebrant Training and Courses

or phone

Diane Storey on
0417 106 275
Email Diane

The College is a
Registered Training Organisation
No. 21737

You may study for

Certificate IV in Marriage Celebrancy


Statement of Attainment - Plan, Conduct and Review a Marriage Ceremony


Statement of Attainment - Perform General Funeral Celebrancy


College Qualifications

Diploma of Marriage CelebrancyDiploma of

Diploma of

Lynnette Olsen holds three Diplomas. Ribbons are awarded at Graduation Ceremonies.

by Email

Unit of Competency, Plan, Conduct and Review a Marriage Ceremony and ther Certificate IV in Marriage Celebrancy

To those Reviewing the Celebrancy course- in 2007

Sent to the Trainers list.
Novemeber 1, 2006

by Dally Messenger III

Principal, International College of Celebrancy
0411 717 303


1 November 2006


Dear Person in Charge of Reviewing


Unit of Competency, Plan, Conduct and Review a Marriage Ceremony and the Certificate IV in Marriage Celebrancy.


“What is a rite?” asked the Little Prince.

Those too are actions too often neglected,” said the fox.

“They are what make one day different from other days, 

one hour from other hours.”

Antoine de Sainte-Exupery


As someone who contributed extensively of my time and experience to previous submissions, only to have such submissions almost entirely ignored, you will understand, if I tell you with the utmost politeness, that I am loathe to waste my time with another detailed submission, which once again may end up in the waste paper basket. I am certainly available after January 2007 for serious consultation on serious curriculum.


But I'll have another try by enunciating the basics: Marriage Celebrants are about creating and facilitating ceremony with couples and families.



Human beings have evolved the contrivance we call ceremony for reasons - these reason are psychological, cultural and social and have (or should have) deep resonances in the overt memory and subconscious of the subjects, the participants and the onlookers of ceremony. No one should presume to participate in, let alone have a central role, in any review process who is not thoroughly conversant with the work of Arnold Van Gennep, David Oldfield (USA), Joseph Campbell, Ronald Grimes and other academics and intellectuals who have enlightened us on what ceremony means.



A "find" search of the syllabus of the Unit of Competency in Microsoft Word will turn up the "Marriage Act" 26 times but will not find the word "poetry" once. Doesn't that say it all? The law is important, it regulates and records a marriage, but it is NOT the Marriage Ceremony.


The elements should be centred on what constitutes ceremony - preparatory rituals, music, poetry, prose, personal and metaphoric stories, symbolism, choreography, sub-rituals, flow and continuity, and how all this is communicated, so that the inherent beauty and meaning of the ceremony creates memorable emotions. Sensitivity and knowledge of human dynamics, interview techniques and extensive resource and writing skills are necessary for best practice in this profession.



The same principle applies to the Certificate IV. The supervisor at Swinburne Uni, which teaches the International College of Celebrancy Course, under contract, spontaneously said to me. "This isn't about celebrancy. This is a course on how to run a small business." A medical course is about medicine. It is not about how a doctor should run his surgery in a businesslike manner. 


The small business course is useful but it is not celebrancy. A celebrant is not like a waitress in a restaurant, learning day by day with many customers. A celebrant is given the privilege of working on and presenting a "once in a lifetime" experience for a couple and their extended community.  A poorly trained celebrant inevitably goes on to "victim based" learning on unsuspecting clients.


The Certificate IV has a wonderful opportunity to teach creative writing, voice and speech, music choice/resources and the necessary "people skills" etc etc.etc



Only experienced celebrants should be allowed to teach celebrancy. The present system is so exploitable, whereby non-celebrants can teach other non-celebrants how to be celebrants, that it borders on the bizzare and the farcical. Equally farcical is the other notion that celebrancy can be taught in a few days - and have the bits of paper that are issued accepted by the Attorney General.  This is an indictment of the current workings of Nationally Recognised Training and is an offence to those educators who evolved its laudable principles. 


With celebrants there are two types who claim experience. Group One has done the same "ceremony" for many years, with no awareness, and calls it "experience". 


They often have rigid rules and falsely justified limitations not at all in line with the choice mandated by the celebrant Code of Practice. Group Two has moved with those who have improved with experience, improved indeed with every ceremony, motivated by the effects good ceremony has on the lives of people, and by the study of their profession. 



The public expects, and has a right to expect, that celebrants be properly trained. This is not happening and the fact that it is not happening with so many "trainers" is bringing the ANTA / DEEST / OTTE system, the Attorney-General's Department, and the profession of celebrancy into ridicule and disrespect.



I find it personally difficult to address a faceless person. I do not know if you are a celebrant, good or bad. I do not know if you are an educationist, good or bad. I do not know whether you are approaching this task with awe and humility or jocular arrogance. I do not know if or how many truly excellent Marriage ceremonies/celebrants you have ever witnessed.  What I do know is that you have enormous power.


I also do not know what is worse. A non-celebrant teaching other non-celebrants how to be celebrants, or a bad celebrant teaching non-celebrants  bad habits. At least in the former case, both the "teacher" and the "learner" must know they are engaged in fraudulent falsity.



What I would like to communicate is that you are dealing with a precious inheritance from a wonderful but much maligned statesman, Attorney-General and High Court Justice, Lionel Murphy (1973-74-86).


I have just spent a weekend in Canberra celebrating his achievements. Every event was booked out and there was standing room only for the main address by former NSW Premier, Neville Wran. Celebrancy hardly got a mention so great were Murphy's other achievements. (oops - sorry - should not History of Celebrancy be a part of Certificate IV?).


You need to understand, dear reviewer (if you have read this far), that Murphy's establishing of secular celebrancy and civil celebrants is unique in all the western world. It really is PRECIOUS to many of us, and we hope (against hope?)  that this time, you, whoever you are, get it right.


With best wishes


Dally Messenger

(currently in the USA with some excellent celebrants who only started in 2002)


© D and R Messenger 2005

Ceremonies and Celebrations contains model ceremonies for Weddings, Funerals, Namings and a full range of other ceremonies. It contains editorial advice for celebrants and their clients and a wide selection of readings.
$27A plus p&p

The Ceremonies and Celebrations CD contains all the readings in the book with permission to use and print for individual ceremonies only.
$33.60A plus p&p

from the Celebrants Centre.

03 9419 0460

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