Wouldn't it be great if there was a special ceremony in every family celebration?
Just like our community does for weddings.
However let's consider weddings ....
- Your ceremony is the central focus of your wedding day and the part that makes the day so special.
- Choosing your ceremony and celebrant needs as much care as choosing your wedding dress and wedding party!
- It is easy to under-estimate how quickly the day goes and how important 'getting married' feels.
- Having a sensitive, caring and skilled professional civil celebrant for a civil ceremony can make your wedding extra-ordinary!
Most civil celebrants offer the full r ange of celebrant services:
- including detailed planning to make your ceremony suit your needs and
- support equipment (eg a battery operated PA system, as the main complaint about civil celebrants is that they are not heard by the guests).
Therefore expect a professional civil celebrant's fee to be higher than the marriage fees charged by the registry office in your state and church fees. However this saves you and your quests in other ways - travel, parking, flexibility of venue etc.
- Don't forget you are paying for more than the celebrant's performance on the wedding day.
- That 'short' time is 'just the tip of the iceberg' of the work they do and the responsibilities they carry.
The vast majority of the time is in legal and general preparation, experience of conducting ceremonies and other group gatherings, and in the preparation for and follow-up of a particular ceremony.
The civil celebrants fees usually differ from couple to couple depending upon:
- complexity of ceremony requirements
- time involved in preparation, interviews, etc.
- quality of ceremonial certificate & ceremony memento
- rehearsal requirements
- mileage and other requirements
Some celebrants quote the same fee for all couples, regardless of the particular circumstances of the wedding. In this case, the celebrant's costs are averaged over all the weddings they do.
Increasingly professional civil celebrants are providing a fixed quote based on the specific needs of the couple and the particular circumstances of the wedding. Such a quote is usually in writing so you are clear about what your fees cover and what extras may cost if you choose them.
For example a fixed quote may be of two parts:
A baseline fee that every couple needs to pay to cover all the basic legal and other requirements and
Other fees based on the specific needs of the couple and their wedding
A Baseline Cost for a Celebrant: usually includes the following
- Initial and Subsequent Consultations
- Witnessing & Lodgement of Notice of Intended Marriage
- Loan of a Wedding Ceremony Planning Kit
- Typing Draft Of Ceremony
- Memento Copy Of Ceremony
- Conducting the Ceremony on the Day
- Performing Legal Functions
- Forwarding Marriage Certificate to State Registry
- Postage, Fax and Phone Costs in Australia
- Rehearsal at celebrant's home
Other Celebrant Fees: may include the following
- PA system for groups over 25 people and/ or in noisy environments
- On-site Rehearsals
- Mileage for out of area ceremonies
- Decorative certificates and other personalised services
- Provision of Fold-up Table, Cloth and Stool if required.
REMEMBER: Most professional civil celebrants are professionals in private practice ie the civil celebrant has to cover all their costs of operating a home-based celebrancy practice from the fees they charge 'up-front' for their ceremonies, BEFORE they make an hourly rate for their work. Consider:
- Couples have not 'lay-buyed' part of their ceremony as couples have via donations to a church or via government taxes to a Registry Office.
- A religious celebrant is usually supported financially by their church stipend and has their travel, phone and other expenses covered by their religious institution. Likewise registry office celebrant.
- A independent civil celebrant is required to ensure the ceremony suits the individual couple.
- In most cases, this requires considerable extra work in sourcing wedding prose, poetry and other materials, or even writing of new material by the celebrant.
- Whereas a religious celebrant is usually using the Marriage form of service required by their church, so little or no modification may be permitted
- Outdoor weddings require extra equipment and time for the civil celebrant. Extra petrol, and travel costs as well as time in rehearsals and travel on the day are usually involved with celebrants needing to constantly change venues.
- Before a civil celebrant can earn and hourly wage, on average, at least one half of the fee charged goes to cover all the over-heads an independent celebrant has in running a private celebrancy practice.
The Federal Government, over the past few years, has introduced new legislation to increase the professionalism of civil celebrants.
These extra requirements are not applied to Registry Office or Mainstream Church celebrants.
Civil celebrants are required to operate under a Code of Conduct and undertake a minimum number of hours each year for personal and professional development.
Fees also need to cover the civil celebrant's extra work and supply extra equipment to meet these higher standards and ideals.