One of the questions I hear most (after ‘what is a celebrant?’!), is ‘how much does a wedding celebrant cost?’
Like so many things, I think that this is because people don’t want to invest their time in finding out more and get interested, only to realise they can’t afford it.
I get it! And I can see why, on the face of it, a wedding celebrant is expensive.
At the time of writing (March 2018) I charge £600 to create and conduct a wedding ceremony within 30 miles of Worthing. One guy at a wedding fayre did a quick calculation and, incredulously, declared that my price worked out at £20 a minute for the ‘half an hour you’re standing up there!’…
…Which is why I thought it might be time for a bit of myth-busting!
So, in answer to that guy at the wedding fayre, and to anyone else wondering, here are a few answers to your question:
Why is a wedding celebrant ‘so expensive’?
Many people (like that guy at the wedding fayre) think that a wedding celebrant just rocks up on the day, says a few words and goes home again. Kerching! Easy money!
Only it’s not like that at all. As a guest at a wedding, you might only see the celebrant during the ceremony. Hopefully, you’d notice how relaxed and happy the couple are and what a well-crafted and super-personal ceremony it is, filled with their story, their personalities and a good helping of laughter. But it’s the hours you don’t see that make it that way:
You don’t see the long meetings I had with the couple – usually at least two and usually at their house or a place of their choosing. At those meetings, there’s a lot of shared stories and ‘getting to know you’ that goes on. Also, a lot of giggling normally (and often tea and biscuits!)
You don’t see me driving home from those meetings, their stories whirling round my head and my brain fizzing with ideas for ways we could create a ceremony that fits them beautifully.
You don’t see the time they’ve spent together answering the questionnaire I’ve sent them, and both the laughter and thoughtful conversation that answering it triggers. Or me, poring over those answers and taking hours and hours weaving them in to a carefully crafted, made to measure wedding ceremony script.
You don’t see the many, many funny emails, texts and phone calls back and forth between me and your friends, as they know they can ask questions at any time, tell me about a really cool thing they’ve just seen on Pinterest or share with me the horrors of what Aunty Marge has just said about their wedding plans. And that all of this conversation informs me more and more about who they are and what they value, making sure I feed it all into their wedding ceremony.
You don’t see the excited ‘walk through’ wedding rehearsal we have a few days before, where we test out how they will feel standing in this position or that position, try out the handfasting cords for the first time or just take a moment together to breathe in the magnitude of what’s about to happen.
You don’t see me arriving an hour before the ceremony and calming a jittery bride or groom, helping to rearrange chairs, setting up a PA system so everyone can hear, or going through a speech with a nervous best man.
You might not be aware that the reason the ceremony started late was because some guests were stuck in traffic but there was no problem to delay the start because the celebrant wasn’t rushing off to do another wedding.
You probably don’t clock the look of relaxed confidence on the faces of your friends who are getting married because they know their wedding celebrant well, they trust her completely and they know what she’s going to say, and they can’t wait to share it with you.
Because it’s these things – plus a huge dollop of background, training and experience – that go into making those 30 minutes into a magical, memorable wedding ceremony.
Cost versus investment
When you compare that experience with the similarly priced registrar coming to the venue on the day, with a set standard script, a short time slot and the luck of the draw as to who is on the rota today, you hopefully start to see that a wedding celebrant isn’t really all that expensive. And very much a wise investment, rather than a cost.
Don’t forget that you can give the same canvas and paints to a toddler and to a great artist. The price you pay for the materials will be the same, but the value you get out of them will be very different. So when choosing what you want for your wedding – whether it be hiring a wedding celebrant or any other wedding supplier – think carefully about your cost to value ratio before making your decisions.
Want a wedding ceremony that’s full of heart, personality – and value? Get in touch and let’s chat.