As I sit in my car on the 401 in the middle of Friday rush hour traffic trying to get to a 5pm wedding on the outskirts of Toronto, my car phone rings, "Hi, I'm getting married. How much does an Officiant cost?"
My response wasn't my 'best' self, "I cost less than your wedding cake, but your marriage will be legally binding when your cake will be long gone."
I'm joking (although it's true!). There are many variables in pricing, so services can range from Free to $200-$1000 and ultimately it depends on how much of the Officiant's time you are going to require and how much you value their level of experience and expertise:
1. Are you just getting the paperwork signed with two witnesses or do you require a formal ceremony with guests?
2. If you are just getting the paperwork signed, are you willing to come to me or do I have to drive to you?
3. Do you require me to hire witnesses for you?
4. Will you require customization of your ceremony such as integrating faiths, customs, other entertainment?
5. Will you require me to also do a Tea Ceremony?
6. Where is the ceremony taking place (which really means, how far do I have to drive to get there?)
7. Will you desire to do a walkthrough? Do you want to add a rehearsal?
8. Are you wanting a 'Friend' to do the actual ceremony? And if so...
a. Are you going to elope with me at my location?
b. Do you want me to come to you to sign the paperwork at your location?
c. Do you want me to sit through the ceremony and be available for the signing of the paperwork?
d. Do you want me to help write the script? Do a walkthrough with you and your 'Friend'?
9. Are you a same-sex couple both flying in from a country that doesn't recognize your marriage? (I do these for FREE).
10. Are you struggling financially, such as in the middle of a union strike or have refugee status? (I do these for free or barter & exchange.)
Remember, you aren’t just paying for the 20 minutes that we are reading the script, you are paying for the years of education and experience that we bring to you, as licensed professionals. As well as the research and effort an Officiant spends to craft the perfect ceremony - its also the time to meet with you, to discuss your needs, to cover our travel costs, and to handle all of the organizational issues needed to end up with a beautiful, meaningful, and legal ceremony that you’ll remember and cherish forever.
As an experienced professional, I know every venue in the city and all obstacles to warn you about each of them. I will raise logistical topics that you likely have never thought of (understandably, you don't get married everyday!). For a quick sample of this, see my blog post on, "Pre-Ceremony Checklist for when a Friend Conducts the Wedding Ceremony.:
Paying for an experienced professional will ensure that your day is the BEST possible experience, whether that is a simple elopement and the reassurance that your Officiant knows what they are doing, or the traditional wedding and the reassurance that your Officiant helps it run smoothly.
Photo Credit: Rudo Photography