Tuesday, October 4, 2016

An Explanation of Cost Wedding Officiants Charge

Officiants & Fees
The wedding ceremony sets the entire tone of the wedding. A well-conducted ceremony gets the wedding off to a fantastic start, just as a poorly performed wedding can mar your entire day, leaving your guest in a state of wandering around wondering when's the fun going to start.
Of all the details involved in planning a wedding choosing your wedding officiant is the most important. Unfortunately, choosing a wedding officiant is nowhere near as exciting as shopping for wedding dresses or picking the wedding flowers! As such, most couples give it minimal thought.
Your personality and that of the wedding officiant should complement one another. You’ll be spending a lot of time planning the ceremony with your wedding officiant, so make sure it’s someone you enjoy working with.
The single most important aspect when choosing your wedding officiant is trust. Is this someone you can trust to perform your wedding ceremony proficiently? For all intensive purposes you’re entrusting your wedding ceremony to a stranger. If you regularly attend church or temple you may be lucky enough to know your officiant – in which case they make an obvious choice. Otherwise, ask a lot of questions; do your research and ask for references. And most important of all – trust you instincts. You’ll know when it feels “right”. 
Given the amount of time that goes into planning the wedding ceremony the actual act only takes a half hour or so to complete. Despite the wedding ceremony’s significance, the officant’s fee can be surprisingly affordable.
On average an officiant’s fee ranges from $300 to $1000. The actual amount will vary depending on costs associated with the ceremony: ceremony/vows customization, officiant travel, ceremony site administrative fees and the rehearsal ceremony. Likewise, these fees vary by city and time of year. Some officiants will charge a flat rate, while others charge by the hour. As always, expect to pay more for experienced and well-regarded officiants. The more notable the officiant, the busier their schedule – either book your ceremony early or be willing to comply with their schedule. However, hiring the best officiant is well worth the extra cost and effort; an exceptional officiant is the key to a successful and memorable wedding ceremony.
(An explanation of the fees we charge)
I heard of an officiant who received an email, chastising her $375 Classic Custom ceremony fee. According the writer’s calculations, the fee for a “15 minute ceremony” resulted in us obtaining the astronomical hourly rate of $1,476!  Wowza!  If that were true, we’d all be writing this article from our summer mansions on the shores of the Mediterranean while our cabana boy’ massaged our tootsies! You have to look at the big picture…what it means to be in business for yourself. 
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 45 minutes prior to the ceremony to facilitate last minute coordination, with musicians, photographers, the venue leads etc, 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 well over an hour whether by phone or a face to face. 
It takes hours to write the ceremony that will reflect you two. It all starts with the questionarie I end up giving you to fill out. I then have what I lovingly refer to as “my ammunition” to create and weave…all your information into 3 different ceremonies that will reflect what YOU want to say. My ceremonies resonate with everyone at your wedding because as all the guest comment…”OMG…that was perfectly just like them!!”. 
Driving time to and from the ceremony must be included. 
There is always an additional couple of hours or more emails plus, conversations when we’re checking in with each other during the course of our pre-ceremony relationship to answer questions. We advise couples on everything from marriage licenses to flowers, to wedding etiquette. Who to hire for this or that…or what should you do… 
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 etc. 
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 $369 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 Bud-ster, 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. And trust melt…there’s more than enough that can and sometimes…does go wrong. It’s not as simple as showing up and reading the script. Consider the following mishaps that have happened to couples whom I’ve wed: microphones die during the ceremony, bridal party members faint, brides and grooms cry uncontrollably during their vows, flower girls get stung by bees, Dads need reassurance, lines get flubbed by the bride and groom, 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? Which side is the bride’s side and which is the groom’s? The FOB (father of bride) is MIA. Oh, there he is–on the balcony 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.
You actually won’t “get ” what I’m talking about until it’s actually happening…the ceremony that is. And trust me…If you don’t have someone you completely love and trust…never mind your guest being bored to tears…you’ll know in a heart beat that this wasn’t the person you should have hired. 
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 the favors left on the table had been placed perfectly. 
Beware the officiant who charges a ridiculously low fee, does not require a deposit or fails to ask a slew of questions of you.  I can’t tell you how many calls we get from panicked brides because their “professional” wedding officiant backed out of the wedding a week before. If you haven’t given them money in the form of a deposit…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 create a wedding ceremony that you will look back upon and smile about for many years to come! I can sincerely say that all my couples loved their ceremony! 
Just google my name to hear what my couples have to say about working with me.

Finally remember this…the photographer can bail on you and yet…you’re still married…
The flowers can be droopy and yet…you’ll still be married…
The caterer can burn the food…and yet…you’ll still be married.
To help put this into balance…consider this: all that can happen and you’ll still be married. And yet…if you don’t have your wedding officiant…(and the right one)…all you will end up with is one very expensive party!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I haven't been doing much on this blog...because I'm not sure what the point is...as far as...do people really have time to just sit around and read about other people :) But...since I'm here...here you go. I thought I'd share some pics from a recent wedding of a dear friend I went to high school with. Her name is Jane Morrissey and she is the bomb. She married Dawn Dougal, who is now Dawn Morrissey :)  and together...they are one cool couple. :) I just love them :)

I married them at beautiful Colt State Park in gorgeous Bristol Rhode Island...this park is AWESOME...if you want to spend time on the water...near the water...this is by far the best place to be. It's huge...and gorgeous and organized well...meaning...you won't be driving in circles and best of all...during the summertime...the Dell Lemonade truck comes by a couple times a day :) And then when you're leaving...there's some kid with one of their Dells stands on the exit road. Nothings better when it's roasting out than to have a Dell's ice lemonade :)

So here you go...just some pictures I hijacked off the girls pages. I'm sure there will be more :) Enjoy! Oh and if you want to get married...???? Give me a call; Marie Tyler Wiley 860-941-9519! :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

One of the very special venues that beautiful Mystic Coast & Country offers up as an option for your wedding. The Mystic Seaport Museum. It's incredably beautiful! Check out my website for more information :) 

Peace & :)


(I can also officiate in nearby RI) :) 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Who can help me???

Okay...here's the deal...I want to connect this account with my FB accounts so I don't have to be wheeling and dealing all over the lots. I feel like Cybil having to go from one place to the other. So who knows how I can get this onto my FB and it will just populate this...as it does my twitter account?

First one to answer that wins the grand prize :)