May 8th, 2007
|02:01 pm - Gettin' folks hitched is trixy business|
I was recently asked by mitakola to marry her and her fiancé (er, to each other, not for me to be their "third"). I'm more than happy to do it, and so I said "Yes" immediately and have spent the last couple days thinking the whole thing through.
While she's been working on setting a date based on my availability and her own, I've set out trying to figure out what on earth is a fair price for this. Most definitely, whatever we settle on will be an agreement that's perfectly acceptable to both myself and them. But, I figured I'd do some research to see how much most ministers of other faiths may charge for their services. Heck, it's not like I've ever done this before.
I admit, I'm a tad astounded.
Some clergy are very active. "$350 buys you a freakin' wedding planner who will also legally marry you for no additional charge" was the basic message of the first site I looked up. Others are so uninvolved it's amazing. "$400 (plus mileage and other incidentals), I arrive 20 minutes before the service, depart 30 minutes after the service, I don't do rehersals or receptions, and there's a charge for a timely filing" was the basic message of another clergyperson.
I can see how folk make those clergy credentials pay off!
So, because I have at my disposal a very large and amazing resource of folk who have been married, who have married others, and who have more opinions than any other group of people I've met, I want to ask you all: what's a "fair" price (however you define it) for a minister to charge for a wedding? Relevant info is welcome, like what you expect for that price, what you wish your minister/clergy/priest/ULC-ordained-by-mail-person had done for you that they didn't, and what they did do that you wish they hadn't.
Thanks in advance, and I look forward to hearing some interesting tales. . .
"$150.00 to $250.00"http://www.figstreet.com/guesthouse/weddingsfees.html
"$100 to $300 or more, with travel and facility costs extra."http://www.ehow.com/how_111536_find-ideal-wedding.html
"$250 up to $600"http://www.chicagomarriage.com/fee2.htm
Oh, and you have to pay for mileage at a rate of $1/mile outside Franklin county, OH, if your wedding is on a weekend:
- Monday - Thursday: $150
- Friday - Saturday: $200
- Sunday: $400
- New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, Christmas Eve, National Holidays and other special dates may be more
"In-Town: $795; Out-of-Town: $895 - $995"http://www.blueridgeweddings.com/pricing.htm
and then there's this really, really odd minister listing on CraigsList, where he makes sure to describe himself as "Tall and fit (6'4", athletic)": http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/evs/324917633.html
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: amused
Current Music: "Nautical Wheelers", -JB
Is that $200 for the space as well, or is there also the $100 facility charge still? It's unclear on the page.
Skip married us the first time and we did not pay him. We did pay for his flight in and his hotel accommodations though, that may have been about $500.00.
Elvis married us the second time and we paid about $600 for the ceremony, rental of the location, video recording, and a roll of film (which has lovely photos of our ceremony on it). Oh, and a signed photograph.
A Shinto priest married us the third time and we paid about $7000.00 for the two priests; traditional wedding kimono (both bride and groom); the ceremony at an ancient Shinto shrine in Kyoto; the co-priest (the main priest's wife) helping me learn to put on a kimono; two photographers with several CDs and prints resulting from their work; one videographer with a DVD resulting from the work; a photography shoot in a park; and dinner at a nice restaurant with three maiko (apprentice geisha) who danced, sang, played instruments, and played party games.
Given the increasing costs, let me know next time you'd like to get married. I think I can make myself available at that rate of inflation :)
|Date:||May 8th, 2007 06:18 pm (UTC)|| |
Six years ago.....
We paid $300 for a Unitarian minister. She had us meet with her a week or two ahead of time to discuss the ceremony and why we were getting married.
(We also paid $300 for the musical duo. I was handing out $300 checks left and right.)
I think you've heard the story of the pagan woman who backed out when she heard how big it would be. I don't remember how much she was going to charge.
Re: Six years ago.....
I didn't get one of those checks. I must have stood in the wrong line on my way out the door, huh?
I vaguely recall that story, yes, but I think that the sentence above is about the extent of what I got from that story.
*nods* My first thought was "Hell yeah, I'll do it," but I got thinking about it when we were discussing the distance I'd have to travel (about 16 hours round-trip) and she said she was willing to pay for various things involved. Like I said, whatever she and I determine as "fair" will be the end result. I'm not interested in pushing for any cash: honestly, it sounds more like a fun vacation to me than work :)
I believe my sister paid the (Catholic) priest $200 a couple of years ago when she got married.
If you wanted to know what the going rate is locally, you could always call around to a few churches...
I may just do that :) I can just see my co-worker's eyebrows rise to the ceiling now, when I start calling around asking how much various places charge for weddings!
|Date:||May 8th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)|| |
My understanding of the Episcopal church (or at least the one I grew up in...) is that there is no charge for a member of the congregation, but that non-members are charged. Not sure how much that would be, though.
My personal feeling is that in the exceedingly unlikely event that someone were to ask me (since technically Gaia Com could authorize me), you couldn't pay me to do it. Either it would be for friends, in which case it would feel wrong for me to accept money, or it would be for not-friends, in which case you couldn't pay me enough.
Some Groves request a donation to their Grove, rather than paying the clergy. I believe SLG does that. I've always liked that approach, myself. :)
But I think you're right about the Episcopals. I've heard that before as well.
That first paragraph had me laughing out loud - my old college roommate called me many years ago to ask me to marry her and her boyfriend, and my first response was "um, I love you guys, but I don't really think of you that way..." I had, of course, misconstrued the request. :-)
I'm not really the marrying kind, but I know that $150 will buy me a wedding ceremony with coffee and donuts for 10 at Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland.
I know where I'm getting married!
(thanks for the info) :)
I've only officiated for friends, for which reason I haven't ever set a charge. One couple did buy me a pretty gown to wear for the ceremony, though.
*nods* That was very nice of them, I have to say. I'd look silly in a pretty gown, though. I think, at least :)
Point for that last paragraph :) But I'll point out that what I call my "kit
" is a bit different than what you're thinking. . .
Good info on what you got for it, though. Much appreciated.
But you know, I really want to hear about the organist now :)
For what its worth, I was married in the Episcopal Church 12 years ago. I'd attended the church perhaps 2-3 times before we decided to get married (shopping for a church home, not one to get married in) and 1) as I was a member of the Episcopal Church at large and 2) had signed the church register I was considered a member of their church. Oooooooooookay ;)
As a member, we were entitled to use the church (a gorgeous old grey stone church) and have the Priest officiate at the wedding. Included were 4 pre-ceremony counseling sessions whereby she determined that we were ready to marry. The cost for everything was a "free will offering" which we were told was typically $400.
I like the "free will offering". I mentioned above, some ADF Groves' clergy will do the wedding for no charge, but request a donation to their Grove in exchange for their services, and I like that policy a lot, too.
The officiants at my wedding did not charge. =)
I've always stated "free will donation" in online listings and that's how I've left it with couples when they ask. In practice, the net result has been anything from nothing (for my best friend at the time) to $50 and a nice rehearsal dinner (a couple who used to attend public rits with my then-Grove periodically) to $100 (typical, I find, with Pagan couples). Most I've gotten is $200...and in that case, I was expecting $100, but the couple told me they were so taken aback by how much work I'd put into it that they put another $100 in the envelope before giving it to me.
My current wife and I got married in a civil ceremony in Scotland, so that's no help, but my first marriage cost--IIRC--about $200 for a Lutheran minister back in 1987. (That was supposed to be a freebie: my ex's grandfather...a retired Lutheran pastor...was supposed to perform the ceremony, but decided to opt for his daughter-in-law's college graduation instead...leaving us to scramble for a celebrant and to pay $200 we could ill afford. Especially unwelcome expense as the presence of a Lutheran clergy person was 100% to placate my in-laws-to-be. At least the ceremony was outdoors...in 48 degree weather, threatening rain. Ah, good times...)
FWIW, I'm on record as firmly in the camp of driving a stake firmly through the heart of the Pagan-clergy-shouldn't-be-paid-for-services nonsense. Esp. in recon trads that in any sense extol do ut des, the expectation that service of real value rendered should go without recompense is not just a disservice to the too-small pool of dedicated clergy folk, but really a violation of our ethics. I believe in at least asking for sliding-scale style compensation (and usually the couple will bring up the subject first...which is how it should be, IMO)...which might be nothing if the couple is genuinely hard up (but then don't let me see you laying on a big spread for random distant relations who are only there out of vague social obligation).
I think that we budgeted something between $500 - $1000 for the officiant after reading the magazines and book guides, with the notion firmly in mind that those are published by the marriage industrial complex and we should try to spend less if at all possible.
(We weren't on a shoestring, but damn, people, it's just one day!)
What I was quoted from a variety of people in the Seattle area for a ceremony last fall ranged from ~ $350 donated to the congregation of a local UU pastor who would do a little counseling, help us write it, do a rehearsal and the ceremony, to a few thousand dollars for people who used terms like "distilling the essence of your relationship" and "creating an unforgettable experience" and didn't want to give me any details whatsoever by e-mail - we needed to talk
in order for me to really understand what this person had to offer. I sure hope it had counseling and planning in it somewhere for that price. Or some free aura attunement crystals, or SOMETHING.
We were really just looking for someone we could both be comfortable with and who would have the performance skills to pull off the ceremony well. We were already getting professional pre-marriage counseling elsewhere, we were writing the ceremony, we'd booked a space, etc. If we were looking for someone to do that for us, the original book-based estimate above would be pretty fair, actually.
We almost went with the UU minister. His price seemed quite reasonable, and he's a nice guy. . . but I was uncomfortable with his implicit (albeit liberal) Christianity. Neither of us were comfortable with the spendy non-denominational fuzzy warm vibes folks. I tried and tried, but just couldn't come up with a professional officiant candidate from an alternative spiritual angle.samildanach
and I ultimately asked my sister, who is very much a role model for me in the happy marriage department - and also a stand-up comedienne - to get ULC ordained online and do it for us.
She did an awesome job. A lot of guests were shocked it was her first one, not what she did for a living! We sent her a very nice bottle of Chianti Classico from Tuscany that we picked up during our honeymoon as a thank-you. And bought her roast sheep at the bachelor/bachelorette dinner. . . but that's a different story. :)
Can I skew your results by saying that we paid nothing for ours???
She is also a friend of ours- so she did it as her gift to us. Plus- Free is always nice when you're already shelling out all the money for a wedding.
|Date:||May 9th, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)|| |
I think Fox would have done ours for free (as Grove members, if I recall that was what SLG was doing at the time), but we gave him $50 or $100, I can't remember which. Rod might remember. And of course reception dinner afterward for him and his family too. We wrote our own vows, but Fox did give us some pre-wedding counseling and helped with the script. And we had one rehearsal, if I recall... just the three of us, to make sure we knew where we were supposed to stand, and what to say when, and so on...
Oh, and I think he also filed the marriage certificate for us. I don't know. My head was filled with too many other details back then! It got filed and we got copies somehow, so it all turned out OK. Reading all the above comments, I'd say we got a very good deal.