My name is Candi. I was born Pasadena, Tx and raised in Humble, Tx. I graduated high school in 1985. Went into the Air Force Reserves in 1988. In 1989, I met my husband. I lost my Dad that same year. I got engaged in March 1990 and married in June 1990. We had our kids August 1991, December 1993 and January 2001. We have 4 dogs that we love like our own kids. I worked as a Pharmacy Technician from 1997 until 2013 and restarted again in 2014 and worked until 2015. I started performing weddings in October 2013. My oldest daughter got married in 2012 to her high school sweetheart and they have given me a grandson. I am into NASCAR, Monster trucks, and motorcycles. I belong to the Patriot Guard Riders and the Patriot Guard Riders of Southeast Texas. I have a tattoo (on my left chest area) in 2011 in memory of my Dad and at your request, I will cover it up. I sell Avon and recruit new reps for Avon. I have a lot of crazy friends that are always welcome to my home and we like to throw parties when we have the chance. My husband and I also like to go to concerts. And anyone who knows me well, knows that I am big into The Walking Dead. I am going to DeVry University to get my Bachelor's in Business Management.
The Importance of a Professional Wedding Officiant
Brides and grooms often overlook the importance of the person actually conducting their wedding ceremony. They place great care in a place, date, and time, but do not consider that the ceremony will not go forward without an officiant. The person you choose to conduct your ceremony is the person you are counting on to share your vision, personalize your vows, and finalize your special day. This industry often goes unchecked because a lot of officiants are ministers and Justices of the Peace, which people simply assume are always professionals. The truth is, while the vast majority are, some can have questionable reputations in the industry just like any other business. The stories of showing up late or not at all, answering cell phones during the ceremony, refusing to customize your ceremony and vows, getting your names wrong, or countless other mistakes are endless and an absolute nightmare for any bride and groom. Before you book your officiant, know what to ask and what to expect for your money. Officiant fees can vary between $150.00 to $450.00 or more so make certain you know what you are getting. A higher price does not always mean a better officiant so be prepared when you interview them. Once you have established a date, time and place for your wedding, it’s time to look for a wedding officiant. Start looking early as the best officiants, like the best vendors, tend to get booked quickly. See how much “control” your officiant allows you over your ceremony. Does your officiant insist on a religious ceremony? Are you getting a “fixed text” wedding — that is, a “word for word” style ceremony that is read for every couple? How much choice are you given in putting together your ceremony? Will your officiant help with advice in writing your own vows? In giving you suggestions for readings and ceremony ideas? An officiant should have no problem giving you references. If they do, don’t walk…run away! An officiant should always return your calls, answer your e-mails, and be available to you for all your needs. They should also be at your ceremony early to go over things and make sure there are no problems. Ask what will happen if your officiant has an emergency on your special day. Do they have a replacement? Who is this person and will they be able to step in at the last minute if need be? Your payment is probably non-refundable so make certain you get your questions answered and feel comfortable that your officiant shares your dream of the perfect ceremony. Finally, did you know you can get married at the airport, in a park, your favorite restaurant, in a skating rink, the top floor of a building that overlooks the city, or anywhere else you desire? Well you can. So consider what your day means to you and follow your dream!
Why Wedding Officiants Charge What they Do
Couples often have to rein in their wedding day festivities to accommodate their budget. And make no mistake about it–the wedding business is a multi-billion dollar industry with the average cost of a wedding hovering above $30,000. A professional job well done is worth a fair price, however, and it seems our unhappy writer above was unaware of the time, work and expense put forth by a high-quality officiant.
So, if you’ve been secretly wondering why the rate for some officiants seems high for the amount of time it takes to deliver your ceremony, let me clarify things.. First of all, let’s look at the actual time that is included:
Most custom ceremonies do not last 15 minutes as our friend suggested, but closer to 30 minutes.
Officiants generally arrive up to 30 minutes prior to the ceremony to facilitate last minute coordination, and stay an additional 15-20 minutes after the completion of the ceremony to sign the license, congratulate the couple and pose for photos.
The initial getting acquainted meeting lasts 45 minutes to an hour.
It takes an hour to write the ceremony.
Driving time to and from the ceremony must be included.
There is generally an additional 30-45 minutes of email time during the course of our pre-ceremony relationship to answer questions. We advise couples on everything from marriage licenses to the name charge process to wedding etiquette.
So, factoring in the above actually brings our “15 Minute Ceremony” up to 5 hours of time on the part of the officiant.
Still, our frugal friend might howl that brings us to an hourly average of $74–unjustifiable to many. So, let’s take the following expenses into account.
How did our fine fellow find us? Through one of the wedding sites upon which we advertise. This does not come for free. Nor does our website that we pay to design, maintain and host in order to give prospective clients complete information on our services as well as access to other helpful resources.
Add in the cost of gasoline, car insurance and maintenance to get us to the ceremony on time (always a plus!).
Office expenses, ministerial vestments, binders, phone costs, bank fees, postage, business taxes, membership dues, paper, ink, postage and that fancy black pen that you get to use to sign your license!
A professional wedding officiant is worth their weight in gold!
All of this is difficult to quantify and will vary from officiant to officiant. And of course, the cost needs to be spread across all of the bookings that an officiant acquires in any given month. Let’s take a conservative estimate and say that the above costs average approximately $30 per wedding booked.
This brings us down to a more respectable $44 per hour. But wait! We have forgotten to include the wedding resources to which each couple has access in order to write their ceremony. Most officiants who’ve been writing ceremonies for years have compiled a vast wealth of options for vows, blessings, readings, etc, as well as some great creative ideas for use in the ceremony. Value? Well, we sell our ceremony resources, for $50, so let’s assume that is a safe bet. Lopping that off the top of the original $400 brings our officiant’s hourly rate down to a more reasonable $34.00 per hour.
Now, our fine fellow could certainly have his best friend, Bud obtain a quickie online ordination and perform the wedding ceremony for the compensation of a six-pack.. That would be one way to save the cost of an officiant and is a viable option for many. However, before you go call up the Budster, you might want to think about what comes with that $34.00 per hour fee.
A professional wedding officiant is going to be able to handle anything that comes along on the day of the wedding. It’s not as simple as showing up and reading the script. Consider the following mishaps that have happened to couples whom we’ve wed: microphones die during the ceremony, bridal party members faint, ex-spouses feud (openly!), brides/grooms cry uncontrollably during their vows, flower girls get stung by bees, Dads need reassurance, lines get flubbed by the couple, the ring bearer throws up on his way down the aisle. A thunderstorm unleashes halfway through the ceremony, unity candles won’t light. It goes on and on.
And then there are the last minute details–coordinating with the music providers, the photographer and the venue staff. Bridal party members need to be lined up and inevitably some key person is in the bathroom come ceremony start time. Is the unity candle lighter in place? Where are the roses for the rose ceremony? They were forgotten? No problem, the officiant plucks some out of a centerpiece and saves the day. Does the best man have the rings? Oh dear! The reader forgot her reading–good thing the officiant has an extra copy. Who has the marriage license? The FOB (father of bride) is MIA. Oh, there he is–on the balcony having a cigarette with his girlfriend (who by the way can’t stand the ex and refuses to sit in the same row). The bride, starting to stress, turns to her officiant, who offers her a reassuring smile. All is well.
The ceremony is filled with wonderfully creative ideas that the officiant has provided. It is delivered by a proficient public speaker who projects loudly enough for even those in the back row to hear. Along the way, the officiant has offered support, guidance, and encouragement. A professional wedding officiant is equal parts emcee, etiquette advisor, coordinator, script-writer, organizer, frayed nerve-soother and legal resource.
The wedding officiant is one of the lowest wedding vendor fees that a couple will pay, yet having a bad one can ruin what should be the couple’s most special day. While we respect the right of each couple to prioritize their wedding spending, it is always surprising when a couple spends copious amounts of money on things like cake, cutesy favors and limousine, only to seek a bare bones ceremony–which is the heart of the wedding day. Down the road, I think you will want to remember the words of commitment you spoke as being meaningful and poignant as opposed to how yummy your cake was or that you had an open bar at the reception.
Beware the officiant who charges a ridiculously low fee, does not require a deposit or doesn’t issue a contract. I can’t tell you how many calls we get from panicked couples because their “professional” wedding officiant backed out of the wedding a week before. If you haven’t given them money and signed a contract, then the deal is not sealed.
Here’s the bottom line: expect to pay a fair price for a professional service. Then, sit back and allow your officiant to show you how to create a wedding ceremony that upon which you will look back and smile about for many years to come
(yes I copied and pasted this from what site I don't remember!)
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