Thursday, February 9, 2012

“You Want How Much!?…For 20 Minutes!?”

Because of the expense and budget concerns in planning a wedding, I hear brides often lamenting over the cost of hiring a wedding officiant.  One bride even calculated that an officiant who charges $350.00 for 20 minutes of work makes $1,050.00 an hour!  Trust me…if that were true, I wouldn’t be here writing a blog! 

Unfortunately, inherent to the job of a wedding officiant is that people only see the end results (20-30 minutes worth) of his or her work on the day of the wedding.  On top of that, if your officiant is good, he/she can make what they do look very easy and effortless…making one wonder, “What was so hard about that that I had to pay $350.00?”

So allow me to pull up my iCal and let you take a peek at my typical schedule in preparing for one custom wedding ceremony…from booking the date to driving home after my duties are completed at the wedding ceremony.

        -  Initial inquiry and setting of an appointment to meet the couple: 15 min.
        -  Travel to meet with couple: Round trip – 30 min. to 1 hr.
        -  Initial Meeting time: 1 – 2 hours.
        -  Email and phone correspondence: 1 hour
        -  Writing of ceremony: 3 hours
        -  Ceremony revisions: 1 – 2 hours
        -  Travel to rehearsal: Round trip – 30 min. to 1 hr.
        -  Rehearsal: 1.5 hr.
        -  Travel on wedding day: Round trip 30 min. to 1 hr.
        -  WEDDING DAY: (early arrival, ceremony, photos, reception) 2 - 4 hours
        -  Travel home from reception: Round trip – 30 min. to 1 hr.

Now when you look at the 12 to 18 hours spent and divide that by the $350.00 fee, it actually works out to be $19.00 to $32.00 an hour.

In addition, when you hire a professional wedding officiant, you are hiring someone who will also be flexible enough to adjust, add or delete items from the ceremony as late as the rehearsal day.  Your professional wedding officiant will be handling the signing and mailing of your marriage license, dealing with surprises (both man-made and natural) during the ceremony, offering last minute vender referrals due to unexpected vendor cancellations or changes, and making those very uncomfortable “on the spot” announcements to the guests if the bride and/or groom decide not to go through with the marriage on the day of the wedding.

So, there you have it. Not bad for someone you absolutely need at your wedding in order to get married! How many other vendors at your wedding will you be paying less than $32.00 an hour, or less?

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