Existing celebrant- wondering about continuing?

Existing celebrant- wondering about continuing? Pixabay 335446

Great - you have experience on your side !

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr ........... bah humbug

"With all this competition, it feels more to me like there's nothing left in the cupboard. And I'm too old, tired, depressed, angry, confused and/or anxious to do anything about it."

Is there really

Are you really


What can I do to continue as a Celebrant?

See in this section: 10 Steps to take 

Nothing left in the cupboard.

As far as wedding work is concerned, this feeling is close to accurate, if you want to or need to do more than the average number of weddings per celebrant per year.

This is based upon the following facts:

  • the estimated average number of weddings per civil celebrant is 7 per year
  • •some celebrants will be able to do more than this average, for a variety of reasons (such as word of mouth, less competition, better marketing, know more people). 
  • As the pool of available weddings has basically not increased over the last 20 years, this means there will be many celebrants who do less than 7 pa or no weddings, because the wedding cake is basically fixed.
  • Marketing campaigns to encourage more couples to get married are unlikely to be successful, even if celebrants could afford to fund them

As far as other ceremony work is concerned, the cupboard does not have to be bare!

However we need to go out and stock it up!

For every wedding (couple) there are at least:

  • 2 Welcome to Family(Naming)
  • 2 Coming of Teenage/ Adolescence
  • 2 Coming of Age (18,21st)
  • 2 Graduations
  • 1 Engagement/ Betrothal
  • 10 Birthdays
  • 1 Home Warming
  • 1 Companion Animal Funeral
  • 2 Coming of Wisdom Age
  • 5 Wedding Anniversaries (only one of which may be a Renewal of Vows)
  • 2 Retirement
  • 1 Closing the Gate (move to retirement/aged care facilities)
  • 2 Funerals and/ or Memorials
  • and ?

ie 33+ other possible ceremony options to each wedding possibility.

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I'm too old

This may be the case if you are mentally and/ or physically not up to the challenge of "being an old dog new tricks".

If that is the case, decide to retire or wind down. There is no disgrace in that.
Think of all the wonderful experiences you have had and given to others, that are set in history and hearts and minds of the participants and guests, that give forward into the future through their children and their children's children.

However, if you think this is simply a matter of age, think again.

Facts are:

  • a significant portion of new celebrants are the same age or older than many longer term celebrants
  • you have experience and on-the-job training, if you have kept up with the recent trends in wedding work. That can mean you have much more to offer than a new celebrant starting out.
  •  except for wedding ceremonies, where your age and sex may go against you for some superficially minded young couples, your age can be an asset

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Too tired? Too depressed ? Angry ?

These may be symptoms of burnout. When did you have your last holiday ? Or a change of routine ?

Or symptoms of grieving the loss of a celebrant life you once had. A grieving that has been hard to define and drawn out with little end in sight, if ever.

These feelings can be valid and reasonable responses to the massive upheaval that civil marriage celebrants have had to face in the last 10 to 15 years.

The original Civil Marriage Celebrant Program, where people of standing in their communities were appointed to serve those communities as a type of specialised JP had huge merit. But it also had some problems. A training and appointment process and accessible complaints system some aspects needing addressing.

The move away from "needs" based to "open market" appointment for agents of the Crown has brought many difficulties. So far a dropping of the average number of weddings per celebrant per annum from 17 to 7. This means less skills practice, less income to maintain standards, more shopping around by couples, more stress.

However the changes have also brought new possibilities. Either way the question is, if this is how you feel, what can you do about it ?

Doing nothing will affect your health, your family and your work.

  • Discuss your options with a celebrant colleague and your family
  • Visit your doctor for a check-up.
  • Review your health and anti-stress routines
  • Make a decision
    - Retire?
    Then choose a new interest. Ask a celebrant to hold a Retirement ceremony and a wake.
    - Fade away?
    Then choose a new interest and get on with your life.

    Take action?
    Review and revitalise your celebrancy career. See our suggestions - 10 Steps for R and R 

    Stuck as still angry about the changes?
    - Anger can be a form of grieving. Either hold a wake or decide what action to take, for example:
    * lobby your celebrant association and
    * your MPs for a review of the Marriage Celebrant program
    * do what you can to inform other celebrants of the history and issues.

The Celebrants Network welcomes information for its celebrant pages on celebrant issues and history. Contact us

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Too Confused?

Many celebrants want to continue their celebrant work, can see the difficulties facing them but can't see how to tackle the problems.

Not enough weddings !
Not enough namings, and they are difficult !
Funerals too stressful or now also too competitive !

Again probably a realistic assessment, if one sees one's role as a celebrant
* for the big three - Hatchings, Matchings and Dispatchings - and
* in a passive mode.

What may be missing here is a clear direction and a plan to tackle the issues

A new direction needs to be one where you change your definition of your role to "Family Celebrant for All Occasions".

As we pointed out above, there are many times more ceremonial work opportunities if we think about all rites of passage. Not just the big three.

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Too Anxious?

Well trying something new is always anxiety provoking, especially if one is not sure how to go about it and what support is on offer in the process.However, if we think back to our first ceremony, we would be likely to find that we were very anxious then too.

But we were passionate about making sure that important occasion was the best we could, confident in the knowledge that
• the ceremony was a once in a life-time occasion
• would touch hearts and minds for years to come.

So isn't trying a newer style ceremony very much like that ?

We need to find our passion and confidence that what we do IS important.

Do these statements resonate with you?:
  • every major life milestone would be enhanced by ceremony
  • celebrants can bring wisdom, compassion, understanding and a unique perspective to family functions
  • meaningful and memorable ceremonies can touch the hearts and minds of family members, in ways not easily gained in any other way.

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But isn't this suggested expansion into other ceremonies just a way of trying to beef-up business for ourselves ?

Well there is always some self interest in everything we do Cool

But stop to think about parties for family events, such as birthdays, anniversaries, house warmings, retirement, that we have attended:

  • how often does the party break up after the cake cutting ?
  • how often have there been speeches of substance ?
  • how often do you come away knowing more about the guest or guests of honour, their interests & relationships ?
  • how often has there been entertainment provided by family members or friends ?
  • how often have you been inspired to hold a similar event for your family and/or friends?

Could not we as celebrants bring more enjoyment and meaning to such a event to make it truly memorable ?

  • Does not everyone deserve some affirmation for their life and their contributions to the world around them before they die ?
  • Wouldn't you want to make a family celebration a gift of love for someone in your family ?
  • And if for your family, why not others ?

If you feel in any way inspired to make meaningful and memorable celebrations, then join with us and work to make it happen.

New situations may need new responses.

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 September 2020 15:04

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