The best wedding & marriage celebrants in Canberra

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David Campbell, one of Canberra’s most recommended wedding and marriage celebrants. Photo: File.

Between catering, location, invites and music, organising and planning your wedding is one of the greatest and most important tasks many of us will take on in our lives. Securing the perfect wedding celebrant in Canberra may feel like just another item on your never-ending to-do list, but it isn’t. Instead, your wedding celebrant has the power to make or break your big day.

If you have chosen a non-religious wedding, then you need to find a civil celebrant to ensure you are legally married in compliance with both state-level and national requirements. Marriage in Australia is legislated under Commonwealth law and all civil celebrants must be registered with the Attorney-General’s Department to be able to marry you. But beyond all the legal stuff, how do you decide whether or not a wedding celebrant is right for you and your partner?

In this article, we’ll run through some of the most important things to consider when choosing your celebrant, as well as a list of some of Canberra’s best.

What makes a great wedding & marriage celebrant?

Before you go out and book any old celebrant, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for first. To help you gain some clarity, we suggest keeping an eye out for these must-have traits:

  • All legal certifications. First and foremost, ensure the wedding celebrant you choose is recognised by the Attorney General’s Department. Without this certification, your ‘I dos’ won’t result in a legal marriage.
  • Confident and experienced. The last thing you need on your big day is a celebrant that hasn’t a clue what they’re doing. Instead, they should be confident and experienced.
  • Friendly. No one wants an uptight wedding celebrant. Look for an individual with a personality that matches yours – they could be humorous, romantic, serious, or downright silly.
  • Organised and reliable. The best in the business always show up on time and organised enough to ensure the ceremony runs smoothly. No hiccups allowed!
  • Creative. Your wedding day will be one to remember, and your celebrant can add a touch of memorable creativity and personalisation to your ceremony.

The best wedding & marriage celebrants in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

David Campbell Religious Celebrant

David Campbell Religious Celebrant

David Campbell Religious Celebrant helps couples celebrate one of life’s major milestones—marriage—in a memorable and meaningful way. As a part-time Chaplain and more than 20 years in the Navy, David has a unique understanding of ceremony. As a husband of over 30 years, he also firmly believes that marriage should be established on a solid foundation, whether through a traditional wedding or a legal-only wedding for those wishing to elope.

Tailoring wonderful ceremonies, with passion and sensitivity, is a hallmark of David’s services. Each ceremony incorporates the many important aspects of a dream wedding. This could include the couple’s own words, choice of music, and meaningful readings or poetry. It may also include symbols or traditions that can be celebrated by the couple, their family and friends.

David is a member of the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants. He offers a professional and consultative approach in helping couples plan their special ceremony. Wedding ceremonies are affordable and held at a number of locations around Canberra. David will look after all legal requirements, from notification through ceremony to certificate.

15 Wearing Street
Higgins ACT 2615

Shannon O'Heir - Marriage Celebrant

Shannon is a young, modern and fun celebrant who is a self-confessed love addict and also loves a wedding! She loves creating authentic memorable and personal ceremonies that make for a great start to a married life. Shannon is more than happy to catch up for a coffee just to hear your love story.

Facebook reviewer Lishaye said,  “Right from the beginning, she was just amazing. We felt so comfortable, and knew without a doubt that she was the one for us.”

Gina Callen - Licensed to Wed

Gina is an authorised Civil Marriage Celebrant who believes that ceremonies should never be created with a “one size fits all approach”. She provides completely unique ceremonies that include a couple’s personal story and a ceremony that reflects who you are as individuals and as a couple, whether it be small or large, formal, informal, traditional, contemporary or thematic.

Facebook user Jessica Ye writes in their review, “Gina did a great job ensuring our wedding ceremony was exactly the way we wanted it. She listened to our needs and delivered. Gina is such a pleasure to work with, thoughtful and kind! We highly recommend her!”

Pat Coehlo - CBR Celebrant

Pat Coehlo is a young, fun and charismatic celebrant. His only intention is to ensure that your big day is everything you dreamed of and more, by providing you with a completely unique ceremony and his complete attention the entire day and walking you through the step-by-step process of everything you need to know to get married, so that you don’t have to worry about a single thing on your special day.

Jacinta Giselle Lo had the following to say about their experience with Pat, “Pat was the most calming, professional and fun influence over our wedding day. He tailored the ceremony to suit our needs and made us feel comfortable every step of the way. I’d highly recommend him to everyone (and have!). Thank you so much Pat!”

Hitched by Hannah

Hannah Noller’s philosophy as a celebrant is that rules are made to be broken. All about creativity and originality, Hannah is here to make sure that your ceremony is just as fun as the reception. She creates ideas for ceremony design completely from scratch, so couples can truly feel like they are getting a personal experience that is completely tailored to their authentic selves. If you want to think outside the box a little when it comes time to planning your ceremony, you’ll be in more than capable hands with Hannah.

Google reviewer Susannah Crispe wrote the following about their experience with Hannah, “It was love at first wine when we met Hannah! Every step of the process with her was an absolute pleasure – she made us laugh and cry and feel completely at ease. I truly don’t think my wedding would have been my dream day without her and if I could give her more stars than 5 I would.”

Ceremonies by Sharyn

Sharyn is an authorised and accredited marriage celebrant who has been helping Canberrans commemorate their most special moments including baby naming ceremonies, funerals, vow renewal, commitments – and, of course, weddings. Whether your celebration is spiritual, traditional or unorthodox, Sharyn is committed to making it memorable, personal and loving, and promises to handle everything with respect and professionalism.

As Brooke C. writes in their Google review, “Sharyn was the celebrant at my wedding recently. Sharyn was professional, personable, accommodating, fun and I would highly recommend her as a marriage celebrant.”

Julie Rattenbury - Marriage Celebrant

Along with professionalism Julie also has a strong passion for people and for love. With over a decade of experience Julie is caring, calm and genuinely loves her role. Julie understands the importance of a wedding, and therefore highly respects unique needs to ensure that you and your partner forge a memory that will be remembered forever. Her reputation throughout the Canberra region is well earnt with every single Google review being 5/5.

One Google reviewer, Natasha Culley, had this to say, “Julie was an amazing celebrant, she made our day so special. She made us feel relaxed through the whole process and we just had fun. We would highly recommend her for your big day!”.

Judy Aulich Celebrant

Full time marriage celebrant Judy is an active member of the professional association: Australian Marriage Celebrants. She is also a published writer and a highly experienced public speaker. Needless to say, you’re in good hands with Judy and her friendly disposition is the icing on the 3 tier wedding cake.

Happy couple and Google reviewers Cassie and Zac said, “Judy provided us with what we can only explain is THE best customer service experience we have ever encountered to date.”

If you’re looking for more services in Canberra that can help you on your special day, our articles on Canberra’s best wedding venues and best wedding photographers may be very useful to you.

Your experience with wedding & marriage celebrants in Canberra

Thanks to our commentators who have provided insightful feedback on the best and worst Canberra wedding celebrants.

If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Please comment below detailing your experience with Canberra based wedding celebrants. Who would you recommend? Who would you use again? Who would you steer clear of?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a celebrant and an officiant?
While a wedding officiant is responsible only for the technical, legal side of making your marriage official, a celebrant will also help plan the whole ceremony. On top of providing the appropriate documents, a celebrant can advise you on the structure of the ceremony, any meaningful rituals you might want to include beyond the exchange of the rings, and even help you pen your vows.
What can I expect from a marriage celebrant?
A civil marriage celebrant is authorised by the government to perform legal civil marriages in a dignified and culturally acceptable manner, for those who choose a non-religious ceremony. You can also ask your celebrant to advise you on the structure of your ceremony, any meaningful rituals you might want to include beyond the exchange of the rings, and even help you pen your vows.
When should I start looking for a celebrant?
Finding a celebrant should be a top priority for the wedding planning - after all, without the celebrant you can't actually get married. Given how many choices you have to make when looking for a celebrant and the wide range of services available, plan to allow yourself enough time to find the perfect fit.
What documents do I need to give my celebrant?
At least a month before the ceremony you will sign with your celebrant a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM). Your celebrant is required to see proof of identity confirming who you are plus the date and place of birth. So you will need to show your original birth certificate (not a copy) and drivers licence, or just your passport. If you use your passport you will also need to know the full names of your parents (including your mothers' maiden names) and their country of birth. If either of you has been married before your celebrant will need to sight proof of how the last marriage ended. The next thing to be completed is the Declaration of No Impediment to Marry. This must be done before the ceremony but can be signed a week or so before. The final paperwork is completed after the ceremony when you, your witnesses and the celebrant sign the Marriage Certificates.
Where do I find a marriage celebrant?
The Attorney General’s Department holds database for all registered civil celebrants. You can also search through the Celebrant Association Directories – such as the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants (AFCC) and the Australian Marriage Celebrants Inc (AMC).

What's Your Opinion?


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8 Responses to The best wedding & marriage celebrants in Canberra
mao yize mao yize 2:43 pm 19 Nov 20

I will recommend David. He was our celebrant and he provide excellent work. My family likes his humor and he is reliable.

Sami Cobson Sami Cobson 9:01 am 17 Nov 20

I would recommend David. Did an excellent job for us.

Nalini Baker Nalini Baker 10:39 am 26 Jul 20

Hitched by Hannah!!!

Jules Anne Jules Anne 8:56 am 26 Jul 20

Sharyn Gunn. Inclusive, adaptable, empathetic, considerate, thorough and will travel. Plus she is just beautiful inside and out. Weddings by Sharyn. Awesome

Marnie Thomas Marnie Thomas 9:48 pm 24 Jul 20

I would totally recommend Val Lambert (values all love) she is the most down to earth, lovely celebrant you could have! I would recommend her to anyone. Val even travels, we are from Canberra and we’re married down at Lincoln Downs and Val was there! Awesome lady, knows her stuff

CBR Celebrant CBR Celebrant 9:25 pm 24 Jul 20

Thank you SO MUCH for the mention! I am truly honoured. 😍

Mon Mon Mon Mon 10:49 am 24 Jul 20

Sharyn Gunn - we absolutely adored having her as our marriage celebrant.

Jeff Bradley Jeff Bradley 10:59 pm 23 Jul 20

Try Amanda Mackenzie.

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