Some of these reasons are:
- To be able to provide weddings as part of a range of other ceremonies the celebrant provides in a Civil Celebrancy practice
- To promote ‘marriage’ as an important relationship for families and society
- To have a creative and challenging role that offers a great variety of experiences
- To have a part-time or full-time flexible occupation that can fit in with other family commitments
- To have an official status or sense of identity
- To be where “love is”
- To enjoy working with people and the “theatre” of the occasion
- To be the centre of attention
- To make “lots of money”
- To have “nice retirement hobby”
The vast majority of marriage celebrants do not make “lots of money”from their marriage work.
- Independent civil marriage celebrants now work in a very competitive environment.
- The ratio of the number of celebrants per available weddings is very low. In 2012, this ratio was 7 weddings per Commonwealth celebrant per year.
- As this represents an average gross income of less than $4000 pa – many marriage celebrants do not cover costs, nor make an hourly rate for their work.
In 2012, the percentage of people able to make a full-time sustainable income from wedding work is 2%.
Therefore whilst being a marriage celebrant may be a “nice retirement hobby”, it will certainly be a very expensive one.
- Training and Set-up costs can be as high as $20,000
- Annual costs to maintain one’s marriage registration and marriage celebrancy practice are also high.
- Many marriage celebrants are not able to recoup their set-up costs, nor their ongoing costs.
So why do people become Marriage Celebrants if the financial rewards are so poor?
Weddings are joyful, happy and fun as well as being a very meaningful rite of passage ie a very ‘spiritual’ occasion.
Also professional celebrants can take pride in having given a service of great value even if couples are not fully aware of the work and effort the celebrant puts into their ceremony.
Many civil celebrants, like religious celebrants, have a sense of vocation about their celebrancy work and are passionate about the value of ceremony and ritual in our lives. These are usually celebrants who provide a range of ceremonies in addition to weddings.
That said, it is still true that many competent and skilled celebrants are forced to leave this work because there is an over-supply of independent marriage celebrants. The average income across the sector is less than $10,000 pa gross. Less than 2% are able to generate a full-time wage equivalent from ceremony work. That is many celebrants do not ave the personal wealth or other income to subsidise their efforts.
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