Every Celebrant has times – professional and personal – when they have to explain (and, lets be honest, justify) the cost of their services.
Sometimes it’s to potential client who wants you to drop your fee to fit into their budget. Sometimes it’s to a friend or family member who can’t understand why you charge what you do for “just an hour’s work”. Sometimes it’s to other Celebrants who are looking for advice to set their own prices.
The cost spectrum for a Celebrant is as wide as the wedding and events industry itself. From those specialising in high-end, luxury events to those who work with clients on a tight budget.
When it comes to booking a Celebrant it’s important to consider a few things:
1. What Is Your Budget?
Are you staying below a financial line for your special day or is money no obstacle?
For most of us there will be a limit to what we can spend on our wedding celebrations. Use that limit to set a realistic cap on how much you are willing/able to spend on a Celebrant. Be honest with yourself and also be prepared to be a little flexible; you might find the perfect person is a little pricer than you expect.
Don’t look at Celebrants whose fees fall way outside your price range. This will lead to disappointment if you find someone you love that is way beyond of your means. Or you might find yourself in the uncomfortable position of being told no, when you ask for a discount.
Celebrants are skilled folks, with years of experience and craft behind them. Expect to pay for that and please don’t disrespect (or yourself!) them by bargaining for less.
2. What Kind Of Wedding/Event Is It?
The range of Celebrant types is as vast and varied as the unique individuals that do the role. You will find Celebrants whose style and service fits perfectly into a day of glitz and glam. You will also find Celebrants (like me!) who are most comfortable in a field or in your back garden as part of a homemade, DIY wedding day.
Look for Celebrants that suit the kind of day you want and be aware that this can have an impact on cost. The luxury wedding industry, for example, operates on a financial scale far different to that populated by DIY weddings.
Expect your Celebrant to be operating within the range that suits their style.
Some Celebrants offer a range of styles and therefore a range of prices; they may have tiered services that offer different elements for different levels of cost. Knowing the style you want from your event will help guide your choice for the perfect ceremony and Celebrant.
3. How Much Does This Mean To You?
If the ceremony is the most important part of your day then don’t be surprised when you have to pay for it.
There is a common misconception that a wedding ceremony should cost very little. Not too long ago, ceremony choices were limited to religous or civil and both options appear relatively cheap on the surface (though often aren’t!) and why shouldn’t they be? The officiant uses a pre-written script with minimal personalisations and changes. They use that same script for every couple/family they work for and they aren’t really expected to do a stellar job performing it.
I have been to weddings in churches and at civil venues where the delivery of the ceremony has been lacklustre at best; but no-one complains because they don’t expect much. Often, the ceremony is the admin part to be sat through before the ‘real celebrations’ begin.
A Celebrant works in a totally different way. We meet with you multiple times, to build a relationship that goes well beyond learning your names. We spend hours writing a script that is unique to you; there’s no cut and pasting going on.
We often help answer questions, source items, and plan rehearsals. We liase with venue staff and family or friends to be sure the ceremony goes off without a hitch.
Arriving early we help set the space and check eveything is as should be before finally standing before you for 20-30 minutes, deliveringyour ceremony with as much presence, personality, and love as we can muster. Not to mention using our hard-earned skills and experience to semlessly manage the inevitable moments when things go a little awry.
If the reception is the thing you are most looking forward to then investing in a Celebrant may not be for you. But if you believe that making your vows before family and friends is the real reason you are all gathering then investing in a Celebrant shouldn’t feel like a burden. It’s a gift you give to yourself.
4. Quality Is Not Cost
Celebrants aren’t the same as hotel rooms or airlines. One who charges more isn’t guaranteed to provide you with a higher quality service.
We are human beings and while a lower price can sometimes indicate a Celebrant is less experienced, it is more likely that they have different needs and factors to take into account when setting their fees.
Location, holding down other professions, and the means of their ideal clients all help shape what a Celebrant charges. Some Celebrants (like myself) see their role as partly pastoral which can also affect pricing choices. Others offer a variety of extras alongside their standard service, to increase the overall value of their service and thus the price.
When you are booking a Celebrant, remember:
Cost is not a reflection of quality, but of individuality.
This is a uniquely skilled human who wants to share their services with you, on their terms. The prices they have chosen come from hours of personal consideration and reflection; taking into account a range of things, from the quantifiable (hourly rate, experience, qualifications, expenses) to the more ephemeral (location, community, style, and apporach).
It is up to you, as the client, to find the person that fits you best – personally and financially – and to respectfully accept the price tag that comes with them.
They will be worth every penny!
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