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Civil Marriage / Wedding Celebrants:
Costs and Fees

The question a good celebrant hates hearing first is - "How much do you charge for a wedding" -- as if all weddings were the same. So I have composed a scale of fees below to illustrate this point.

Basic Legal Wedding                                       $300
(Office hours, celebrant chooses time and place, bride and groom + 2 witnesses only)

Basic Legal wedding + 10
(Office hours, celebrant chooses time and place, bride and groom + 3-10 guests)
add $50                                                             $350

Wedding - add $50                                           $400
(as above, but more substantial ceremony, time and place by agreement))

Wedding over 50 people - add $50                  $450
(as above, but over 50 people, pa system required by law)

Wedding 50+ people, PA & Music system          $500
(as above, but with planned recorded music - this frequently mean an assistant)

Wedding at night or at weekends
(as above, but nights and weekends                    $550

Wedding and on-site rehearsal add $100          $650

Wedding (normal) (recommended) add $200     $850 - $1000
(includes all the above + supply of resources, planning meeting, dialoguing by email and phone calls re ceremony content, live or recorded music, poetry, readers, choreography, personal story (very demanding sometimes), detailed rehearsal, full and total assistance in all matters pertaining to the ceremony.
You commission the celebrant to do their superb and brilliant best.

Travel, and sometimes accommodation is required, outside a 15k radius of the celebrants home.

Except for exceptional circumstances, the only wedding with which a good celebrant feels comfortable is one where he/she has the financial freedom to co-create and deliver the best ceremony possible.

What you need to know about Marriage Celebrant charges and fees

You need to know that the government has appointed a great number of celebrants. They vary greatly in standards and in level of training. We strongly advise you not to choose a celebrant on price.

The International College of Celebrancy wishes to make it perfectly clear that it is not, and never has been, in favour of any suggestion of fixed fees for civil ceremonies - as some celebrants put a lot more time and energy into the task than others.

We believe the only fair way to pay a celebrant is by an hourly rate set by the individual celebrant based on his / her qualifications and experience. We acknowledge, however, that clients demand a fee quotation - the above scale may help there.

My observation is that celebrants trained by questionable instructors, and furthermore, who make no effort to improve by further study or mentoring, usually cater for the lwo cost end of the market.

Fees may also be assessed on the 3-5 Diamond celebrant standard.

My observation, in 2017, is that one needs to pay of $800- $1200 for a wedding of substance, content and elegance.


A Note on Civil (Humanist) Funeral Celebrants: Costs and Fees (2017)

Celebrants trained by q1uestionable instructors and who make no effort to improve by further study or mentoring, are very cheap and ought to be - say $20 per hour - or less.

Celebrants who have a competent level of skill and experience, seem to charge $60-$80 per hour. College Diploma graduates or equivalent ought to be able to charge $85- $190 per hour. When all is said and done, a celebrant should be paid for what they do, and how they do it.

My observation in 2017 is that one needs to pay $1000-$2500 for a funeral, depending on size time, work required, and level of responsibility.

I must say there are some excellent celebrants who accept the Funeral Directors' fixed fee of $590. By "fixed" I mean that, if a celebrant charges more than that, they are unlikely to get any work. I went on an hourly rate in 1997 and have NEVER been asked to officiate at a Funeral by a Funeral Director in the time since.

Advice to clients: Generally, listen to, then ignore, the Funeral Director. Tell your funeral celebrant what you require, demand the time you know you need, and deal directly with them over the fee.

Please note that we believe that Funeral Celebrants who observe the College Standards are notoriously underpaid, given the intense nature of the work, the skill required, the time spent, the spasmodic nature of the work, and the out-of-hours-time required. The preparation of a professional funeral involves more In person time than anyone else involved. In States other than Victoria the fee paid by Funeral Directors is outrageously low.

Ball park figure: $1000-$2500 for a properly prepared funeral, depending on size, time, work required, and level of responsibility.

© Dally Messenger III - 2017