How much will I make as a celebrant?

There are some professions in life that we clearly do for the love of it... and celebrancy is one of those.

While celebrants certainly charge their clients a fee, there are just too many celebrants and not enough weddings to go around for it to be a full time job for everyone.

Sure, there are some celebrants who are able to conduct weddings as a full time career and will perform 100+ weddings in a year, but some/most will do between 0-20.

This could be due to a number of variables:

  • location
  • what competition you have in your area
  • advertising
  • social media presence
  • business acumen
  • your availability
  • what fees you charge
  • the types of ceremonies you perform
  • how many paid ceremonies you obtain
  • your appearance and personality
  • your image
  • your knowledge and skills

Without doing any research on the topic, you might be lead to believe that Celebrants make a lot of money charging anywhere between $300 - $1,500+ per wedding, especially when people who are not celebrants think that all we do is just turn up on the day and talk for 20 minutes.  What they don't see is that there are hours of 'behind the scenes' work that go into creating a ceremony, not to mention face to face meetings, phone calls, emails, rehearsals & travel time... you can spend 10+ hours on a wedding before the wedding day.

Most couples seem to prefer to get married on Saturdays at around 3pm and there are only 52 Saturdays in a year and the number of weddings dips considerably during the winter months, so the chance that you are going to be booked for a wedding every single weekend is slim.  Yes, some couples will choose a Sunday or weekday or even a morning, but they are certainly not the majority.

So due to these constraints, you might be looking at: (completely hypothetical)

  • 10 weddings in a year
  • $600 per wedding on average (celebrants set their own fees, so this will vary for every single celebrant)
  • = $6,000 per year gross.... you've still got to pay all your expenses.

Even if you charge top dollar at say $1,500 per wedding and you manage to marry 30 couples in a year = $45,000 gross.  While that's not anythign to sneeze at, it still probably not enough to make it your only avenue of income.

The truth is that a large proportion of existing celebrants:

  • will not recover their real set-up costs in less than five years, and
  • will never earn incomes over what the Tax Office considers a "hobby" income
  • will not receive a professional hourly rate for their wedding work, after all expenses covered

The Celebrants Network Inc. recommends that before you enrol in the Certficate IV in Celebrancy course that you attend a Setting Up A Small Business Seminar or Workshop

Most State Governments, have a small business website, with a range of valuable information - on line learning, or you can attend seminars/workshops at very low cost or for free.

If you're still keen to go ahead, here are some set up costs you need to be aware of:

Set-up Costs
* proportioned across number of years practice
* Need to be covered before any "real" additional

Training Costs
- 13 units of Certificate IV in Celebrancy course fees
- associated administration and travel costs for course

Set-Up Small Business
- office equipment (computer, printer, software, camera, desk, phone, filing cabinets, safe)
- office stationery (business cards, certificates, ceremony planners)
- mobile phone, reliable motor vehicle, umbrella, PA system
- Celebrant website (website builder, domain hosting)
- Celebrancy library of legal and other resources
- Celebrancy clothing (higher quality than day-to-day wear)

This will depend upon
* How much of this equipment you currently have
* Whether it needs upgrading
* What quality and quantity of the items your prepared to or can afford to buy

Ongoing Costs
* Phone & Internet costs
* Electricity and office cleaning costs
* Clothing - dry cleaning and repairs
* Batteries, printing cartridges and other "disposables"
* Printing and stationery supplies
* Advertising costs
* Small business networking costs
* Website maintenance and upgrade costs
* Other Advertising - print and internet
* Promotions budget - eg wedding expos
* Office equipment maintenance and replacement budget
* Celebrant associations / network memberships
* Ongoing Professional Development 

Another hypothetical:

Let's look at conducting 50 weddings per year (one a week), TEN times the estimated average number available per celebrant per year.
At $600 each wedding, this equals $30,000 pa gross

Your time for 50 weddings requires approx 10 hours of your time each (500 hours) 

Plus 5 hours per week spent in working on your celebrancy practice (250 hours)

Hourly Rate for 50 weddings pa:
Net Income ($30,000 - $8,000 for set up and ongoing expenses) equals $22,000 now divided by the (total 750 hours or 21.5 weeks of yours and your family's life)
= $ 29.30 per hour.

In 2016, the Coalition of Celebrant Associations (CoCA) Inc conducted a survey of civil marriage celebrants showed:
Note: these percentages would have decreased over the pandemic years, but starting to come back)

67% of celebrants earning less than $10,000 pa gross.

78% of celebrants earning less than $20,000 pa gross.

6% of celebrants earning between than $20,000 and $30,000 pa gross.

and only 10% earning over $30,000 pa gross.

 Question 15 CoCA Survey


Last modified on Thursday, 12 October 2023 18:30

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