How much for does a marriage celebrant cost? (Or how much is that celebrant in the window?)
...The one with the waggily mic? OK, sorry. I ear wormed myself then.
So you want to know how much does a celebrant cost here in Australia? OK, fair question. But seriously, how long is your piece of wedding lace? Cause lordy me, there are a lot of us celebrants out there. Yep, more and more every day as people look for new career options. And guess what? Each celebrant charges exactly what they w
ant. There are more variations in celebrant fees than there covers of Ed Sheeran songs at wedding.
They can range from $250 to $2500+ (the 'celebrity celebrants' charge more I do believe)
But I am just going to talk about me (well done Jo, stick to what you know). I don’t have too many variations – just two options really. Personalised/bespoke vs. legals only/elopement style. That’s it. Each year I stick my finger in the air and decide if I will increase. Its part based on the market and part on my gut and values. Many think I should charge more, and that’s OK for them to think that. I will stay with what I am comfortable with.
BUUUUUT back to your question. And counter with a question for you gentle reader - how important is the wedding ceremony to you? Do you want a personalised, engaging ceremony that focuses on you both and ‘brings everyone into the room’, so to speak, about why we are there? Or do you want to be legally married without the pomp and pageantry, that it’s just you two hitching your respective wagons together for life?
No judgement. Your wedding – your way (many in the industry have coined this phrase).
But the above two scenarios create different workloads for the celebrant and will be reflected in their pricing. The longer, more personalised ceremony takes more writing on the celebrants’ part, interviewing the couple and being at the even longer. It’s at least 2 or 3 times more work.
Where as a legals only ceremony generally follows a more stripped back agenda with usually only the couple vows being personalised (by the couple). So, less work for me.
You will see here on my website my two packages but in short
- All the wedding bells’ n whistles – which is the full package include my great sound equipment and a bespoke ceremony is $990 for 2021
- Short n sweet n full of love/legals only – which is more an elopement, quickie package with no more than 18 guests is $650 for 2021.
The other costs I might need to add could be for travel which will vary obviously depending on how far the venue is from Sydney CBD. The only other cost is if you want me to apply for the official marriage certificate for you after the wedding is registered. I only charge what Births, Deaths and Marriages charge which in NSW is $60
So why do celebrants charge so differently for a similar product? Hhhmmm because we are all running our own businesses with different overheads, motivations and experience. We might all have similar qualifications, but you can’t compare all these gorgeous apples. There’s tropical fruit basket going on here and they can’t be compared.
Some celebrants (ones at the lower end of the scale - say under $500) might do a bit of preparation by changing one of the three templates they have. Maybe they told you that you could choose from Ceremony A, B or C and that is IT. It’s all pre-written, they just ‘find/replace’ the names, print off the paperwork and turn up on the day. Hopefully they won’t screw the names up. These celebrants might be churning through ceremonies, maybe even have three or four on some busy weekends. I truly don’t know how they stay sane.
I am NOT one of those celebrants (though my sanity can sometimes be questioned if someone tries to snatch a bowl of fries away from me).
No, I work very differently. I will pour myself into each couple. Whether it’s a big wedding-palooza or a quick legals only elopement. They all mean something to me. And that’s not to say that those amazing celebrants who do multiple weddings don’t do the same – I am just not at that level with these legends.
But don’t celebrants just rock up on the day, say a few words, sign a few papers and knock back a few glasses of champagne before nicking off? ANSWER - I WISH.
Look, you aren’t just paying for my time on the day. I put in around 10 - 15 hours on every couple. There’s the first meet and greet to see if we are a good fit. There’s the ceremony planning, the back and forth on ceremony content, working with you both on writing vows and saying I DO. There also signing and printing the official documents the registering your marriage after the wedding.
And I take time to craft a personalise ceremony for you. I will listen to all you have to say, I will watch how you interact and from our first meeting I am taking notes. All so I can craft something special, unique and engaging for you and your guests.
Don’t forget my costs such as travelling to the meetings and wedding or my annual registration and insurance costs. There’s operating costs and my ongoing learning and development so I can get better and better. And there’s those intangibles that set each celebrant apart. The skills, the professionalism and my sparkling wit and warmth (my humility comes for free). My clothing and other expenses, well they are on me, but I try to fit in on your wedding day so my wardrobe matters and I my equipment such as my iPad, PA and microphone and other bits and bobs I bring along to make every ceremony 'extra'? Well these are the best around and an investment that I take good care of.
So, what about discounting for couples that have a budget but really want you? I say all the above to pre-empt this point - don't be two quick to haggle down the one legally required thing you need to actually be married.
Oh and side bar - I haaaaaate negotiating on price. I know, I know a wedding is mucho expenso. Those coloured napkins, those super pretty invites and decent wines, the robes for your six bridesmaids – well, they are important. I know there is lots of advice out there saying “ask your wedding vendor for a discount, all they can say is NO”. This is awkward but the fact is - if you want to be married then you NEED an authorised marriage celebrant. Otherwise it’s just a fancy party with very pretty outfits.
I REALLY don’t want to skimp on any parts of my service that I offer. I want to share all my knowledge and skill so I can help you have a wedding that far exceeds what you even dreamed possible. I think very long and hard about my pricing and try to stay in line with what my wonderful fellow celebrants are charging in my geographical area. Ultimately, I have set my price at what I THINK I am worth. What I think my time and intelligence and skill is worth.
There will ALWAYS be someone cheaper and it will always be impossible to compare celebrants cause we aint all apples. We are all very different. You can’t really compare skill and creativity.
So, sit down and figure out the type of ceremony you want. Do you want it quick and legal or an engaging love fest that sets up the wedding reception party to follow?
I think I am worth every cent that I charge. Don’t believe me? Check out the testimonials on my website here.
Come talk to me about your ceremony and tell me what YOU really want, and I can guide you from there. But please don’t make the mistake of thinking “celebrants are all the same – let’s just go with the cheapest” cause seriously you will totally get what you paid for. Promise.
If you want to chat or debate the above, just send me a message here via my contact page and I will take it from there.