Questions you need to ask yourself before you become a celebrant

So you want to become a celebrant #3

White question mark in lights in article by Sussex wedding celebrant Claire Bradford of Creating Ceremony

If you’re anything like I was, you’re probably reading this because you really want to become a celebrant (and why wouldn’t you?!) It might be that all paths seem to lead to celebrancy, that you can’t stop thinking about it, and that you feel, deep in your heart, that this is the thing you were put on this earth to do.

It’s a delicious feeling, isn’t it?

But it is a feeling and, before you skip merrily down the path towards booking on to a celebrant training course, it’s important to back up that feeling with careful thought and research. Otherwise, you could end up in the highly frustrating position of having spent a lot of money on training but have no viable way to put it to use.

You can start by grabbing a notebook or having a conversation with an impartial friend, and working out your answers to the following questions. There is no right or wrong answer – it’s down to you to be completely honest with yourself. And don’t worry – even if the answers don’t end up being quite as optimistic as you had originally hoped, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t become a celebrant. It just might mean you plot a longer journey to getting there.

Ready? Here goes:

What aspect of celebrancy do I feel most drawn to? Weddings and family (including namings, vow renewals etc), funerals, or both?

What’s your gut feeling? Do you have a ‘back story’ as to why you feel this way? Explore this further.

What’s my availability like? Do I want to work at weekends? Evenings? How flexible can I be with my time?

The majority of weddings still happen on weekends in the UK, and wedding fairs and other promotional events are often at the weekend too. Also, you may well find that your couples can only meet you in the evening or at weekends. This is ideal if you are thinking about running your fledgeling celebrant business alongside a Monday-Friday job, but not so ideal if weekends are your family time etc. Funerals almost always happen on weekdays, and most of the time the meetings are on weekdays too. Funerals also have quite a short turnaround, so it’s best if you can be flexible with your time. Don’t forget to factor in time for your meetings (allow 2 hours plus travel) and for writing your script (up to 6+ hours) when you are thinking about timings.

Do I have the right skills and qualities to become a celebrant?

Check out this post for some of the skills it’s important to have. It’s good to enlist the help of an impartial person for this question to give you an honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t forget, you can always work on things you’re not so good at…

What support do I have around me if I become a celebrant (emotional, practical and financial)?

Starting any kind of new venture requires a lot of time, energy and courage. Starting a new business also needs knowhow, experience and money. In addition, starting a celebrant business needs tenacity, determination and emotional resilience.

It’s quite a tall order, but the good news is that you’re not on your own. Having a supportive partner, family and close friends is the ideal situation, but if you don’t have these (or even if you do) it’s worth having a go-to person or people (paid or unpaid) for the following things:

  • Financial support, if you’re not running another job (especially in the first couple of years)
  • Emotional offloading (especially if you’re a funeral celebrant)
  • Cheerleading (when you’re doubting yourself or it’s tough-going)
  • Techy stuff (hardware and software)
  • Website design and creation
  • Marketing know-how
  • Business support and advice

What’s my bottom line financially?

What’s the minimum you could earn and still pay the bills and have a roof over your head? If starting a celebrant business is a retirement project for you, you have a partner who is able to cover the mortgage or you’re a squillionaire, then you don’t need to worry too much here of course. If you have lots of mouths to feed and you’re the main earner however, you need to be realistic. Can you run another job alongside your celebrant business, at least at first? Speak with other local celebrants and research what’s a realistic earnings goal for the first few months, working on the time you have available.

As a guide to get started with, celebrants typically earn between £180-240 for a funeral and £500-800 for a wedding.

How much time, energy and resources am I willing to put in behind the scenes in order to become a celebrant?

You’ve already thought about your availability in terms of working ‘in’ your business (meetings, writing, conducting ceremonies). But in order to get those ceremonies to write and conduct, you need to work ‘on’ your business as well. And (sorry!) that’s going to take more time, energy and resources (specifically, money).

You’ll need to do more at first, of course – setting up your website, designing your systems, getting your leaflets printed etc – and that can be quite a costly time. But even when you have all these things in place, you will still need to factor in regular time and energy for things like blog post writing, social media posting, visiting FDs (or venues, suppliers etc) and networking.

This list isn’t meant to scare you but to enable you to get a clear idea of the sorts of things that will demand your time and attention once you have become a celebrant, so you can decide how to fit it in.

What’s my why?

You know WHAT you want to do (become a celebrant), but what is your big WHY about doing it? What drives you? What inspires you? What deep-seated values of yours does becoming a celebrant fulfil for you?

If you haven’t already, watch Simon Sinek’s fabulous TED talk on the power of why (and if you have watched it, watch it again).

Knowing your ‘why’ will be your guiding star on your celebrancy journey, help to motivate you when things are getting tough, and give you a huge advantage when it comes to your marketing later on. Skip this question at your peril!

Getting clear on the answers to these questions will prepare you well for taking the next step: deciding which celebrant training course is the best for you.

Want some help with these questions? Need to talk things through or ask about something different? Book a chat in today!

Or, if you’re ready to go, check out the course I developed for the Celebrants Collective and fill out the application form if you think it would be a good fit!