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Civil Marriage / Wedding Celebrants:
Costs and Fees

The question is - "How much do you charge for a wedding" -. It is a question you are entitled to ask but I strongly advise you to decide first, what you are asking for.

This page is just to give you a rough guide on the different standards of service, what some celebrants provide and some don't, and possible fees I have observed celebrants charge.

The Winger Celebrant just turns up on the day

Some celebrants are cheap because they only turn up on the day of the wedding and "wing it".

A Professional Celebrant attends to planning, creating, dialogue and rehearsal; and a top class ceremony


So I have composed my personal scale of fees below to illustrate how there is a mountain of difference between a "nothing" wedding and Best Practice, which takes much more time plus the provision of PA and music equipment - quite often with a celebrant's assistant.

What makes on celebrant different to another?
Their attitude, their personality, their training, their experience, their ability to craft the vows and shape the ceremony to match the style of the client, their creative writing ability, their intuition in including stories and humour, their public speaking ability (including diction, use of microphone and tone of voice), and their skill in organising everything and everybody into an inclusive coherent and participating unity - with the personal touch.

Basic Legal Wedding                                       $500 ($500 Minimum)
(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                                                            $500 ($500 Minimum)

Wedding - add $50                                           $500 ($500 Minimum)
(as above, but more substantial ceremony, time and place by agreement))

Wedding over 50 people - add $50                  $550
(as above, but over 50 people, pa system required by law)

Wedding 50+ people, PA & Music system          $575
(as above, but with planned recorded music - this frequently means an assistant)

Wedding at night or at weekends
(as above, but nights and weekends +$75)            $650

Wedding and on-site rehearsal add $100          $750

Wedding (recommended normal) (full consultation) + $200     $950 - $1000
(Recommended includes all the above - and -
supply of resources,
planning meeting,
dialoguing by email and phone calls re ceremony content,
live or recorded music, poetry, readers, choreography,
personal story
(time consuming), detailed rehearsal,
full and total assistance in all matters pertaining to the ceremony.
You are commissioning 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 questionable 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 the size of the funeral (responsibility factor), time and work required, and level of responsibility.

I must say there are some excellent celebrants who accept the Funeral Directors' fixed fee of $590 in Victoria (much less in other states and coutnries. 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 - 2020