There is a myth that goes around from time to time that Civil Marriage Celebrants charge from $500 - $600 for 20 minutes work. Let’s explore this myth a bit further and see where it takes us.
They contact Jill, a Canberra civil marriage celebrant and ask if Jill would conduct the ceremony. Jill arranges to meet Mark and Richard one evening after work and spends about two hours with them completing the legal notice documents and discussing their ideas for the ceremony.
Jill gives Mark and Richard a questionnaire to complete to find out more about them and their thoughts on love and marriage. She also gives them a book with ideas for readings, vows and rituals for them to choose elements of the ceremony. She quotes them $650 for the ceremony including legal requirements, creating and delivering the ceremony, rehearsal and travel and offers to obtain the official marriage certificate when she registers the marriage, at a cost of $56.
Total cost $706.
Over the next four months, Jill keeps in regular contact with Mark and Richard by email and phone. Jill reviews all the information she receives from them, makes sure all legal requirements are met and writes a draft ceremony for their approval. She makes changes to the first draft to accommodate the developing wedding plans.
Jill downloads their choice of music to her PA system which she will also use to make sure all the guests can hear the ceremony. Jill arranges a rehearsal on the day prior to the wedding so that everyone involved is familiar with the marquee and with their roles.
Jill arrives 30 minutes before the ceremony in time to greet guests before Mark and Richard arrive together. By the time she has delivered the 25 minute ceremony Jill has spent more than 13 hours working to make the ceremony a personal and memorable occasion for Mark and Richard at their choice of time and location. She will travel home and spend another 30 minutes finalizing the legal paperwork.
Yes, if a guest saw Mark hand over $706 for a 25 minute ceremony they would probably start researching how to become a marriage celebrant!
Little would they realise the work involved in creating a ceremony of great significance for the couple and their guests and ensuring it all runs smoothly.
Celebrants do not have fixed fees. Many couples start the conversation with a celebrant by asking “what do you charge” A better question would be to ask what the celebrant can offer to make your wedding day truly personal for the two of you. Look for a celebrant with whom you feel comfortable and who offers you value, whatever the cost.
If you want to find a celebrant please check out the list of CCN Celebrants to find one near you.
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