Ceremonies Crafted with Care

How Much Does a Wedding Celebrant Cost?

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 in Wedding Tips | 0 comments


This is a frequently asked question and it is often in the context of “we met with a celebrant and they  charge XYZ how can they justify that?”

For many the perception is a celebrant just turns up on the day, delivers the ceremony and earns a substantial sum for doing so

As stated on my Ask the Celebrant page I charge a reasonable and all inclusive fee. Generally fees for an Auckland wedding can vary widely from between $350 to $800. Costs will be even more if you hire a “celebrity” celebrant. So it begs the question, what do celebrants do to earn their fee?

You and your wedding are my priority during the time we spend working together and I take the time to tailor your ceremony so it is unique and personalised. With that in mind I went through the exercise of breaking that process down into the time I spend on an average Auckland wedding.

Before we get off the ground, there are expenses incurred before I even meet meet with you. I spent the best part of a year training part time and can now proudly display a Certificate of Celebrant Studies, certainly an invaluable addition to my Celebrant tool kit! I am continually training, taking opportunities to attend conferences and mentoring sessions. I like to look good at your ceremony and, as far as possible, I like to fit in with colour scheme and dress code, after all I will be in some of your photos. Therefore maintaining a suitable wardrobe is necessary. Add to that a home office, stationary, maintaining Association membership and building and maintaining a website. Of course advertising on external websites and publications is necessary so you can find me and discover that I am the celebrant for you.

Once you make contact with me we’ll arrange to meet. I spend time answering your emails and getting prepared for our first meeting. Our meeting takes about an hour.

Aprox time spent : 1.5 hr

Hopefully we have a wonderful meeting, we get on well and you are excited by the prospect of working with me. I spend some time after the meeting making notes about what we discussed. The next day you contact me and let me know you’d like me to take the important role of celebrant at your wedding. I send my preliminary information sheet, a contact form for you to complete and an invoice for the deposit. I add your date, venue and ceremony time to my online calendar. Once I receive your deposit I email you a receipt and your homework in the form of my comprehensive resource pack.

Aprox time spent : 1 hr.

In the months before your wedding we have email and phone conversations, answering questions and confirming details. Staying in touch as the ceremony gets closer. I remind you when you are in the three month window to apply for your marriage license, I send you the form and explain the process.

Aprox time spent :  2.5hrs

We meet to go over ideas for the ceremony which have evolved from our conversations and from the resources I have provided. Then it’s time to put it all together. This process is quite time consuming, I put together the ideas we have discussed and there will be questions. I will send drafts back and forth until your personalised ceremony has evolved and we’re both 100% happy with it. Some couples like to meet again during this process to talk through ideas and discuss the process of writing their vows or adapting from samples I have provided.

Aprox time spent : 5hrs

I make a few more edits and corrections and print out my celebrants copy so I can read it through aloud. This is a sure fire way of picking up any grammatical errors or just the odd phrase that doesn’t quite sound right. Changes are made and the celebrants copy is reprinted and trialled again. I print out any readings to keep in the front of my folder to pass to the reader at the appropriate time. I put your license into my specially designed folder along with a piece of parchment and ribbon so I can roll it and hand it to you after signing. I print a copy for you to keep on beautiful paper and put it in a lovely folder. I either post this to you or put the folder in an envelope to hand to you on the day. I spend time practising your ceremony aloud so I am familiar with it and so I can read naturally on the day.

Aprox time spent 3 hrs

I attend your rehearsal, arriving early and spending approximately 45 minutes with you and your party going over the logistics of your day. I meet your venue co-ordinator and discuss cueing the music. We repeat everything at your wet weather venue in case weather dictates that we need it.

Aprox time spent 1 hr plus travel

Your wedding day has arrived at last! I arrive at least half an hour early, often earlier as I allow some time to negotiate any traffic issues. I set up, test the sound system. I catch up with the photographer and videographer to mention any special moments they may like to capture. I touch base with the venue coordinator to ensure they have the order of the ceremony Time to start!

Aprox time spent 1 hr plus travel.

Of course this  is the part your guests see and the hours and energy spent leading up to it are only visible in the smooth running of the ceremony and the relaxed happy smiles of the bridal party.

After your ceremony I stay for a while to congratulate you and say goodbye to your family and I take my leave. The next day I will file paperwork, send you a congratulatory note and post your wedding documents to the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages.

Aprox time spent : 1 hr. plus travel

A total of approximately 16 hrs plus travel, it adds up doesn’t it? This will vary slightly depending on how often we meet or catch up on Skype or by email. If divided into an average Celebrant fee the hourly rate for a trained and dedicated professional is relatively modest .

Following this glimpse “behind the scenes” I am sure you will be convinced of the value of engaging a celebrant who is committed to ensuring the most important part of your day is all you hoped it would be. The time, training and expertise that go into crafting your fabulous and unique wedding ceremony is well worth the investment.

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