Going Pro: How Much Should I Charge as a Wedding Officiant?
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23rd, 2019
Officiating demands a substantial amount of your personal time, effort, thought, consideration - and almost always, love.
So it’s only fair when a new officiant wonders, “How much should I charge for my services?”
The answer in short is this: Officiant fees vary drastically across the country, so you will have to do a bit of research to determine this magical number.
If you are considering performing ceremonies in a professional capacity, you will want to start by looking into what others are charging locally, and proceeding from there.
We recommend doing an online search along the lines of, “Wedding Officiant in [City Name]”. You can also use vendor searches for your area - like looking up Officiants in Wedding Wire's Vendor Search based on location.
Once you find several officiants in your vicinity, take some time to review and compare:
● Different services they offer
● Their amount of experience
● Any additional equipment they offer for use
● Their rates
● Extra travel or mileage fees they note in their pricing
Then, with all of this information in hand, see where you fit into that scale, and charge accordingly.
Remember that regardless of location, someone who has performed 100 ceremonies, totes their own mic and sound system, and has a well-rounded portfolio with client testimonials will be able to charge significantly more for their services than someone who is just getting started.
When calculating your fees, take into consideration:
● The amount of time you put into ceremony preparation. This includes meeting with the couple, drafting ceremony scripts, revision, etc.
● Whether you are present for the rehearsal and ceremony, or just the ceremony.
● Handling the marriage license (the officiant is almost always responsible for its completion and filing - so know your obligations and how much time they'll require!)
● Equipment (if applicable; many officiants offer use of their own sounds systems, microphones, etc.)
● Do you customize your services with a little something extra, like personalized commemorative wedding certificates as a keepsake?
● Travel times and any transportation costs (gas, tolls, excessive mileage, etc.)
Keep in mind that what you charge is not just an hourly rate. You need to factor in taxes, additional fees, equipment and travel costs, and other "hidden" expenses. Once you have a realistic estimate of the time and expenses that officiating will entail for you, add them up and create a menu of different services and options you can offer to couple. Come up with different "packages" of services that will suit a variety of couples' needs, but will still make sure you are fairly compensated for all of your efforts.
Officiating is truly a labor of love - so whatever you do, don't sell yourself short .You can (and should!) be fair, but don’t be afraid to be competitive!
Generally speaking, being an ordained Minister with American Marriage Ministries does not automatically put you in any special tax bracket. If you have any concerns about how your services performing marriage may affect your income and taxes, you will want to seek advice from a certified accountant.
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