Why every Celebrant should be part of a Celebrant Association
If you work as a wedding celebrant or have recently trained to become one, you probably know that celebrancy can be an exciting but somewhat daunting career path. With the responsibility of creating and conducting one of the most important days of people’s lives, it’s so important that celebrants invest in their career to make sure they give the best possible service to couples, as well as looking after themselves and supporting their fellow celebrants.
There are some fantastic organisations out there, such as the Association of Independent Celebrants (AOIC), that provide a wide range of benefits for their members. We spoke to Sophie Easton of the AOIC to discuss the top 5 reasons why every celebrant should be part of a celebrant association.
Celebrant support and networking
Celebrancy is becoming a hugely popular career choice, driven by the growing demand in the wedding market for more personalised and meaningful ceremonies. But being an independent celebrant generally means being self-employed and building a business on your own, which comes with many challenges.
Being part of an association means there is always a network of fellow celebrants to call on when a question arises. It also means you’re sure to find someone to cover your ceremonies or pass bookings onto in the event that you are unable to carry out a ceremony.
A good celebrant association will provide a wide range of support and networking opportunities for members to utilise when they need to. The AOIC also provides help in the form of emotional support and counselling via Professional Help Ltd, as when times are hard it can really help to speak to someone impartial about whatever’s on your mind.
Many people love to work independently, but no celebrant is an island! Support and networking opportunities may not be needed every day, but it can be hugely reassuring to know they are there at your fingertips.
Celebrant training and CPD
To be a good celebrant, the right training is essential. But most training courses are over relatively quickly and it can be afterwards that celebrants need the most support. That’s where CPD (continuing professional development) comes in. Being part of a celebrant association will give you access to CPD recourses that will continue to educate, inform and inspire you.
At the AOIC, for example, continued training is provided in the form of monthly online CPD sessions, regular networking opportunities with local celebrants, an annual conference, celebrant podcasts, and more.
Furthermore, with increasing levels of regulation now coming into the wedding industry, there’s a good chance that CPD could eventually become not just best practice, but compulsory for professional celebrants. So best to get ahead of the game!
Being self-employed, a celebrant carries with them a lot of responsibility when conducting ceremonies, whether at registered venues or private residences.
Many new celebrants wonder if it’s necessary to take out insurance to protect them against any potential mishaps or misunderstandings during the course of their work. The simple answer is – yes! No matter how dedicated and careful you are, no one ever knows what’s around the corner, so comprehensive insurance will provide you with both protection and peace of mind.
Furthermore, many venues now ask to see the insurance credentials of all suppliers they work with, so if you want venues to recommend you and continue working with you, this level of diligence is essential.
Insurance can be purchased separately, but it’s an added bonus if it comes as part of your celebrant association membership. The AOIC provides insurance cover for all its members in the form of £5m public liability and £1m professional indemnity covering all celebrant-related work. The AOIC will also support its members with any claim they may have to make.
Celebrant marketing and promotion
Jennifer Patrice Celebrant conducting wedding of deserving NHS couple. Image by David Christopher.
It probably goes without saying that marketing and promotion is essential for celebrants in order to launch, grow and maintain their careers. To get bookings, a celebrant needs to be out there, both in person and online, telling couples about the wonderful service they offer.
But again, this can be a daunting prospect for new celebrants. Building a website, designing leaflets, setting up at wedding fairs – these can all seems like mountains to climb. But that’s another way a celebrant association can really help. A good celebrant association will be able to provide you with lots of marketing advice to really help you get your name out there!
Before deciding which celebrant association to join, it’s a good idea to check that you can list yourself in a directory on their website (and check their website’s ranking on Google). The more listings you have online, the greater chance of couples finding and making contact with you.
Top tip: Did you know that AOIC members are entitled to a discount on their first year of advertising on Guides for Brides?
Campaigning for change in the wedding industry
You may be aware that lots of change is afoot in the wedding industry! The Law Commission has spent the last few years conducting a hugely detailed review of the weddings law of England and Wales and is due to release its final recommendations to government in July 2022.
The Law Commission’s provisional report, released in 2020, proposed moving to an officiant-based system in England and Wales, which would mean licensing the officiant and not the venue. If this recommendation sticks, then within the next few years there’s the potential for celebrants (both independent and humanist) to carry out legally binding marriages and civil partnerships. What a result that would be for couples – to be able to hold a personalised, meaningful ceremony with a celebrant without having to do the legal part separately.
However, for change to happen, the Government needs to be made more aware of why reform is needed and what modern couples require from their wedding ceremonies. So whichever association you join, make sure they will be there to speak up on the issues that matter most.
The AOIC is running a big campaign around this and the more celebrants that come on board, the greater chance the celebrant voice will be heard by key decisionmakers. You can find out more about these changes via the AOIC’s wedding law reform articles.
So there’s our top 5 reasons why every celebrant should be part of a celebrant association. Whatever stage you’re at in your celebrant journey, we hope you’re enjoying the ride and hope that joining a supportive association will make your career even more special!