The ICCA Philosophy & Standard of Service
for member celebrants
We are a national professional association and we encourage all our members to high standards of ceremony and upholding the Code of Practice for Marriage Celebrants. We are firm belivers in:
- providing choice of ceremony
- conducting ourselves in a professional manner
- maintaining cultural awareness with our services
- providing services of dignity and meaning
We also aim
To pursue excellence in all that we do.
To strive for Professionalism — for perfection in every detail.
To officiate at the best and most beautiful ceremonies possible.
To give top-of-the-range service to our clients and to the public.
To stay passionately aware that the ceremony is not ours but the clients: and their wishes, their choices, and their contributions are central.
To enjoy the happiness that we have the rare and unique opportunity to be paid to read poetry in public, and that the poetry, prose, music and symbols that we use in our ceremonies, and the artists we encourage, are a significant element in the artistic and cultural development of this country and humanity generally.
To be concerned about unity and cooperation among celebrants. To be motivated to cooperate with the other professionals with whom we operate.
To preoccupy ourselves with standards — standards of preparation, standards of service, and ethics and conventions of behaviour that result in ceremonies which please, thrill, console, and strengthen our clients and our fellow human beings.
To be open to new ideas, new possibilities and responding to needs with all personal ceremonies, public ceremonies, and to be ritually part of paradigm shifts in the social fabric.
Individual members agree to achieve a number of objectives for the Australian Community. They agree to contribute to the sum total of human happiness by facilitating the most appropriate, meaningful, aesthetically beautiful ceremonies possible for citizens in our pluralistic and multicultural society.
The member celebrant is entrusted with the challenge of sensitively working out the cultural needs of their clients when they decide on a Rite of Passage, such as marriage. In this sense the Civil Celebrant has an important role in developing Australian culture as expressed in the way significant occasions are marked and celebrated. In this way valued relationships will be psychologically strengthened and the Institution of Marriage and the family unit will enjoy social and cultural esteem and support within our society.
Therefore the Association Member Celebrant should seek:
(1) To avoid all attitudes of pretentiousness, authoritarianism and self importance; or of an overbearing style which would intimidate a couple from exercising their rights or their wishes about their ceremony.
(2) To inform clients of sources for personalised ceremonies; i.e. prose, poetry, music and symbols, which will make their choice, and thus, their ceremony, truly meaningful.
(3) To avoid intruding personal beliefs, prejudices and/or preconceived ideas into arrangements for weddings wherein the client couple and their associates wish to express themselves in their own way.
(4) To avoid influencing arrangements merely to suit their own personal convenience.
(5) To see himself/herself as a catalyst of the culture — encouraging the artists of Australia; including composers, musicians, singers, poets, writers, actors, gardeners, designers and photographers.
(6) To be available to attend and assist with a rehearsal, preferably on-site, so as to ensure that the ceremony goes smoothly on the day.
(7) To dress as appropriately as possible, given the style of the ceremony, its level of formality, and the wishes of the bride and groom
(8) To present oneself, given the style of dress required, in the best possible way, neat, clean and dignified, in accordance with accepted standards.
(9) To arrive punctually at an agreed time, and a reasonable time before the commencement of the ceremony.
(10) To organise and orchestrate the ceremony as skilfully as possible, speaking assigned words or poetry (if any) with clear diction and a sincere voice, always keeping in mind that every client's ceremony is special, perhaps the most special, at least a very special moment in a lifetime.
(11) To avoid rushing out of the ceremony venue with unseemly haste, but to wait an appropriate time, so as to give the Rite its due importance and attention.
(12) To establish and maintain:
(a) an office where people can be interviewed in private and where proper records can be kept with privacy and confidentiality. This office should be equipped with the necessary computerisation and office equipment to carry out all appropriate administrative functions conscientiously and efficiently.
(b) a reliable and maintained motor vehicle with a respectable appearance.
(c) communications systems which ensure that clients have reasonable access to their celebrant.
(d) where necessary, sound and speaker systems so that the ceremony can be heard by all present.
(e) a wardrobe of suitable clothes so as to ensure that the celebrant presents herself or himself in an acceptable manner. Celebrants should always dress so that they fit in with the ceremony without in any way competing with the bride, groom and wedding party and with similar appropriateness at other ceremonies.
(13) The Law and Procedures. In the case of marriage ceremonies, to become acquainted, knowledgeable and expert regarding all the relevant sections of the Marriage Act; the conventions and interpretations commonly followed, and the procedures of the registering authorities. The Celebrant shall observe the spirit and the letter of the law under which he/she operates. All relevant forms and records shall be processed conscientiously and filled out neatly and clearly.
(14) Allied commercial interests. To ensure that couples, are free to approach the celebrant to organise a wedding or other ceremony without the chance, fear or possibility of being taken advantage of in any way. For this reason every celebrant's appointment should not be allied with any commercial interest external to the office of celebrant; e.g. in the case of a marriage ceremony, a celebrant should not attempt to sell to clients insurance, wedding rings, photography packages, travel, hire car catering, receptions or wedding venues. The purpose of this is to ensure that couples are free to make their own choices, without being in any way intimidated by the celebrant into any particular purchase; and so that the celebrant be the specialist professional of the central event, the ceremony itself.
(19) This does not preclude a celebrant giving clients a list of musicians, poets, or similar, in which lists the celebrant has no commercial interest or alliance.
(20) To speak out honestly to any appropriate authority which he/she believes that the law, regulations and practices exist which are not in the best interests of the Australian community.
(21) To constantly seek education to do the task better, and to engage in a continual process of self assessment and external assessment to ensure that he/she is not giving offence, and to observing a high standard of expertise in ceremonies which a acceptable to couples and to the public.
(22) Fees should be based on what is paid comparatively to the general community for equivalent work with equivalent skills i.e. in out-of-hours and weekend time. The fee should be such that an intelligent, informed person would judge it reasonable by the relative standards stated. The celebrant should individually determine the fees to be charged for his or her services.