Wedding Ministers Officiants
Welcome to a few words about the wedding officiant minister fee you will pay and some food for thought – as in wedding officiant cost-thought.
Q: WHAT DOES A WEDDING MINISTER OFFICIANT COST?
A: Many professional officiants (like our associates here at WeddingMinistersOfficiants.com) are independent ministers officiants because they own and operate their own officiating affairs entirely. Which means that they set their fee amounts and what’s included the fee and what’s not included in the fee entirely. Which means that it’s all but impossible to effectively evaluate and compare one officiant’s fee amount with another officiant’s fee amount without knowing what’s included and what’s not included in each of the amounts. The fee amount is important but only part of the story. The fact that a fee is lower in dollar amount may sound great but it means little if you don’t know what’s included. The fact that a fee is higher in dollar amount may sound not so great but it means little if you don’t know what’s included. See the primary ingredient we see for wedding officiants: Step 2: Meet Ceremony Guides.
Q: WHAT IS THE OFFICIANT FEE RANGE?
A: The following information is not based on any statistics and is not claimed to even be accurate. It’s comes from the observations of the writer (me) from twenty years experience publishing and administering a U.S. nationwide wedding officiant finder service in dozens of wedding markets. Based on this, the officiant fee range is between $35 to $1500. Really. This dramatically wide range is based on 6 factors:
- The geo-area (larger metros, unique locations and popular locations typically have higher fees; smaller areas typically have lower fees); and
- The day of the week (weekends and prime times of the day, like late afternoons on Saturdays typically have higher fees); and
- The season (some officiants charge less during off-season months and more during the busiest months);
- The officiant’s experience (more experience, know-how, typically a higher fee); and
- The fee inclusions (what’s included and what’s not included) and
- The ‘negotiation factor’: everything is negotiable.
FEE MYTH #1: ALL OFFICIANTS PRETTY MUCH OFFER THE SAME AND THERE IS NOT ‘THAT’ MUCH DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM
Not true in our experience. We see it differently (see Step 2 wording on Home page). We see that officiant ministers widely vary in their handling and in their follow through with basic tasks. They also vary in how they define what a basic task is. Let’s take a look at a few common basic tasks.
It’s pretty safe to say that all officiants include in their definition of a basic task that the license is important and it gets filled out properly and then delivered on-time (mail or in-person) to the governmental body responsible to process and record it.
It’s pretty safe to say that all officiants include in their definition of a basic task being clear on the ceremony start time is, the ceremony location and how to get there and what time to leave for the location to be able to make it there on time.
It’s pretty safe to say that all officiants include in their definition of a basic task how to correctly pronounce the couple’s names when introducing them to guests and family.
Those are just a few basic tasks likely to be obvious to most or all officiants.
There are also tasks or approaches that are thought of as basic tasks to some and not to others. Examples: being personable towards family and guests. Some see being personable as basic as getting the license filled out properly. These officiants have a high value on connecting with everyone.
Some have value being appropriately dressed per the couple’s needs as they want to fit in, blend with the ‘look’ of the wedding (wearing shorts when everyone is not may not be what the couple wants).
Some officiant ministers will do vocal exercises while driving to the ceremony so that their voices are sharp and clear. Some may not have in their consciousness the importance of making it easy for everyone to hear them when presenting the ceremony.
Perhaps you’re seeing what we’re seeing: that wedding ceremony officiating is no different than any job: There is below average, average, above average and way above average. For some, the minimal works. For others, nothing short of giving their all works. There is no judgment here. Every officiant sees it how they see it just like everyone sees life as they see it.
Of course, though, when a couple interviews and hires an officiant they (hopefully) will get someone whose agenda is their agenda. That it’s all about the couple, not the officiant. All of which means that this discussion is really about information for you as engaged couple so you can make the best choice of an officiant minister that will meet your needs.
I want to give another example. If you’re a couple needing something ‘short and sweet’ as they say, someone to satisfy the legal requirement (“we just want to get married”), there are many officiants who do this perfectly just like there are basic cars that get you to where you want to go perfectly. In this case it’s a marriage ceremony that needs to get done and be legal.
But if you’re a couple wanting more than the basic vehicle, there are officiants with added features who offer a different ‘ride’ and experience that you will probably want to meet and interview.
Note: added features can also include that they are available for you both after the ceremony too.