22nd April 2024

Voco St John's, Solihull

Voco St Johns conference room

A convention just for celebrants!

The National Celebrants Convention is back!

The AOIC team are excited to be running this wonderful one-day event just for celebrants, packed full of speakers, workshops and exhibitors.

Our speakers have been selected based on the feedback received from previous events, with all sessions specifically tailored for working celebrants and covering the topics you've been asking for.

For the first time we'll be holding the convention at the Voco St John's hotel in Solihull, West Midlands. This venue offers fantastic conference facilities, with accommodation available too for those who wish to stay overnight.

If you require accommodation, please contact the hotel or book a room online at

Voco St Johns conference room

About the day

Monday 22nd April 2024

We have a great day planned, packed full of learning, interaction, networking and of course good food!

The convention will run from 10am-5pm. We will open for registration at 9am, so come early if you can, grab a coffee and browse our exhibition.

The first talk will take place at 10am, with six talks scheduled in total throughout the day. We will also be running several workshops and drop-ins, so you are free to pick and choose the sessions you attend.

Many of our confirmed speakers and exhibitors are detailed below. We will be adding to the list in the coming weeks, so keep checking back here and follow the AOIC for updates.

Bookings are now open at just £99 per person and will remain open until 8th April. Tickets are limited, so please do put the date in your diary and book your place as soon as you can. All celebrants and celebrant organisations are warmly welcomed.

If you are interested in exhibiting at the Convention, we would love to hear from you. A delegate pass is included in all our exhibition packages.

We can't wait to see you there!


Event Schedule


welcome coffee


Park Suite Foyer

The registration desk will be open from 9am, when refreshments will be available.

The exhibition will also be open from 9am and throughout the day, with exhibitors on hand to welcome you to their stands and answer your questions. We will also leave a 15-minute break between each session to give you time to browse the exhibition at your leisure.


Grace Jevons Awards crpd

Welcome & Introduction

Grace Jevons, Host

Brueton Suite

Our event host, Grace Jevons, CEO of the Association of Independent Celebrants, will open the Convention with a welcome message and a summary of the day's schedule.


Becca Pountney

Brueton Suite

Why 4 out of 7 potential clients are ignoring you... and how to stop it

Becca Pountney 

What's the difference between you and those celebrants who are charging double your prices and are always booked out? How can you keep your pricing fair and simple, without devaluing what you do?

You may be an amazing celebrant; you probably LOVE being a celebrant, and you may be incredibly creative... but running a business is a steep learning curve, and sometimes you might feel like just giving it all up.

In this energising, inspiring and practical session, marketing expert Becca Pountney will give us the knowledge and tools we need to find those elusive 'dream clients', limit the time wasting, and get us on the path towards making a full-time living from the work that we love.


Brueton Suite

Celebrants and registrars working together

Adam Cooper

Law Commission image

Head of the Staffordshire Registration Service, Adam Cooper, will join us to share his thoughts about joint working between registrars and celebrants.

Adam will share his experience of running the 'Combined Ceremony' scheme in Staffordshire, along with ideas on how such collaboration could be rolled out more widely for the benefit of couples who request more choice in their marriage ceremonies.

This will also be an excellent opportunity to open the floor for discussion about the future of wedding ceremonies, and how celebrants could become more involved in helping couples personalise their marriage ceremonies as we await the outcome of wider reform.

Malvern Suite

How to get more from your Google Business Profile

Eimer Duffy

Eimer Duffy - FIT Social Media

Knowing how to effectively set up, use and utilise you Google Business Profile can be a game changer for celebrants when it comes to being found online by potential customers. In this interactive workshop, marketing specialist Eimer Duffy will show you how to get more from Google Business in just a few simple steps.

Eimer specialises in marketing consultancy and social media training for funeral professionals. She understands the work of celebrants well, so whether you work in funerals, weddings or both, her insights are sure to help you improve your online visibility.

Bring your laptops along if you can for this session - Eimer will be on hand to assist you so you can leave the Convention with an even better online presence than when you arrived!


Brueton Suite

Naming, renaming, unnaming, deadnaming

Rev Arek Malecki

Rev Arek Malecki

Join us for a session led by Rev Arek Malecki (he/him) exploring the essential nuances of preparing trans naming ceremonies.

Drawing from his personal experience and insights gathered from conversations with trans individuals, Arek will shed light on sensitivities that even the most compassionate celebrants may miss. Through interactive case studies and group discussions, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the complexities involved and discover practical strategies for crafting inclusive and meaningful ceremonies, celebrating the true identities of trans individuals.

Whether you're a seasoned celebrant seeking to enhance your practice or a newcomer eager to learn, this session promises invaluable insights and practical strategies for creating meaningful naming ceremonies.

Malvern Suite

Effective interview technique for funeral celebrants

Ruth Graham  


Ruth Graham is an experienced celebrant and author of two Amazon books: A Thousand Goodbyes and Coffins & Confetti. Based on her previous career as a journalist, she has honed her interview technique to create the most personalised ceremonies possible, gathering the golden nuggets of people's life stories and crafting these into beautiful services.

In this interactive workshop, Ruth will focus on interview technique for funeral ceremonies - using role play to show how she garners meaningful information in a sensitive, empathic way. She will then work alongside attendees to begin turning this information into a eulogy.

Whether you are a fairly new celebrant or have years of experience, you are sure to come away inspired and refreshed!

12:45 - 1:45


Brasserie six5one

A delicious buffet lunch will be served in Brasserie six5one, located within the Voco centre. Lunch is included as part of your delegate ticket, along with refreshments served throughout the day.


Close up of playing cards
Sarah Wickham

Play Your Cards Right with Obitus!

Brueton Suite

Obitus will treat us to an interactive mini workshop as a post-lunch energy lifter!

Join us for a game of ‘higher or lower’ Play Your Cards Right approach to some facts about the most popular chosen music for funerals and weddings.


Brueton Suite

Using directories to meet current wedding trends

Nikita Thorne

Nikita Thorne sm

As Head of Strategy at Guides for Brides, Nikita is a wedding industry expert with her finger constantly on the pulse of current wedding trends and statistics. Using a data-driven approach, she works to support wedding businesses to ensure their marketing keeps up with what modern couples really want.

In this interactive session, Nikita will give a breakdown of the wedding trends they are seeing at Guides for Brides. She will draw on her extensive experience running a directory to give us some expert tips on how we can optimise our listings and reach more of our ideal couples.

Malvern Suite

What do funeral directors want from celebrants?

Kate Edwards 

Kate Edwards

Both celebrants and funeral directors want to offer the best level of service to those planning a funeral service. Effective teamworking is essential to this end, as is good communication between all parties.

In this workshop, Past President of the NAFD Kate Edwards will draw on her years of experience working alongside celebrants, identifying what she believes FDs want (and don't want) from the celebrants they work with.

This session is ideal for newly qualified funeral celebrants looking to connect with funeral directors, as well as for more experienced celebrants who would like to work more effectively with their local FDs.


Brueton Suite

Unique ideas for natural burial ceremonies

Sarah Wickham

Sarah Wickham

Natural burial is rapidly growing in popularity as society becomes more environmentally aware. And when it comes to ceremonies, these types of funerals are particularly beneficial - offering more time and space to say goodbye, celebrate and remember a life.

In this talk, celebrant and natural burial ground custodian Sarah Wickham will highlight the many benefits of choosing natural burial, both from an environmental and a ceremonial point of view. Focusing on how ceremonies at natural burial grounds differ from those in crematoria, she will offer some inspiring ideas for how we as celebrants can make these ceremonies extra meaningful - as well as offering some practical tips on how to prepare for the day.

Malvern Suite

Ribbon handtying workshop

Jacqui Harding 

Jacqui Harding

Jacqui Harding is a celebrant with a background in teaching craft workshops. A creative soul, she sees celebrancy as a wonderful form of expression, and loves the challenge of creating handtying rituals to fit her couple, whether that’s as simple as making their handfasting cords, or creating something that she’s never done before!

In this workshop, Jacqui will share her experience of handtying with multiple ribbons, what works and what can be a challenge. She will also look at creative ways of combining different styles of handtyings to fit different ceremony briefs. This is a practical workshop where attendees can try different roles, so you can confidently lead a ribbon handtying that fits the brief!


Yellow Tuxedo

Brueton Suite

How the heck do you stand out from the crowd when marketing in 2024?

Alan & Emily Braithwaite 

As founders of The Outside Bride and Baylily Bell Tents, husband-and-wife team Emily and Alan Braithwaite have a wealth of experience in weddings and events and know first-hand what it takes to make a business thrive.

Together they now run Yellow Tuxedo, helping a multitude of different businesses improve their online presence using a simple and jargon-free approach.

Emily and Alan are full of energy and enthusiasm and have a track record of building successful businesses that stand out from the crowd. So if you're looking to maximise your digital visibility in 2024 and beyond, these are the people to listen to!

4:45 - 5:00


Question time

Your chance to ask some final questions to our speakers before we close for the day.



Celebrant Supplies

Providing wholesale ceremony products for celebrants and registrars. 

Leedam Logo

Leedam Natural Burials

Natural burial grounds set within some of the UK's most scenic locations, offering peaceful, natural places to honour the end of a life.

AOIC-v7-round logo-03


A vibrant and forward-thinking trade association for professional celebrants across the UK.

civil ceremonies limited

Civil Ceremonies Ltd

Civil Ceremonies Ltd - Celebrant Training since 2002.


FIT Social Media

Helping funeral and bereavement services professionals and suppliers market their businesses.



Supporting families with expert audio visual experiences for funerals, including music, tributes, streaming and keepsakes.


We still have space for more, so please do get in touch if you would like to exhibit