It was a bit chilly and a threat of rain, but Villa Terrace provided the perfect venue for Mila & Chandler's beautiful wedding!
Couples approach me in a variety of ways….telephone, text, thru a Wedding Website, Facebook or to my own business email. I can usually tell a lot about the couple by the first few lines of their communication, such as “are you available on June 4th?” or “my cousin recommended you” or our “venue gave us your name”. I recently answered a phone call, and the Bride to Be’s first words were “what do you charge?” For me that is a big red flag, and here’s the reason why…
How important is the ceremony to you as a couple? If it’s important to you, then hiring a good professional wedding officiant should be an investment at least equivalent to the amount you’re paying for your wedding cake or the DJ at your reception. Great talent often comes at a premium price and, while the price someone charges isn’t always a guarantee of the quality of their work, the more talent and experience an officiant has, the more they will typically charge to perform a wedding ceremony. In my humble opinion, the Officiant and the Musician (DJ, band, quartet) will set the mood for the day and one or the other could ruin the ambiance of your special day.
Amateur officiants and individuals simply looking to make a few dollars may charge a couple as little as $100-$250, while the average fees for professional officiants typically range from, with the typical range being $400 to $1000 depending on experience and the level of service and customization they provide Many clergy such as priests and rabbis can cost well over $1500, often asking couples to donate to their church or synagogue in lieu of being paid directly. Brides.com suggests that a couple should plan to spend $800 total on any ceremony fees and officiant donation.
Serenity Matrimonial Services has officiated over 300 weddings since 2014. We not only have the endorsement of many happily married couples, but also the venues and other vendors whose combined talents created the wedding of their dreams.
Our average price for officiating a wedding is $450. This includes helping the couple create the perfect, heartfelt ceremony, assisting with the rehearsal, assisting in obtaining and filing of the marriage license and helping in every way possible before, during and after the big day.
So my advise is Choose Wisely – It Does Matter. Once you have decided how important the quality of your wedding ceremony is to you as a couple, and what range of investment you’re willing or able to make for a professional wedding officiant, do your homework. Search for wedding officiants in your area and look at their websites and marketing. Read online reviews on websites like WeddingWire. Ask the other professionals you’ve hired for your wedding if they have recommendations for good officiants in your area. The best officiants will also have a great reputation and will be familiar with the vendors in your local area. Take the time to do your research and choose wisely – a fantastic wedding ceremony can be the highlight of your wedding day if it’s done well.
In meeting with a potential couple recently I was asked "what was the most unique wedding you've officiated?" I had to think a moment...over the course of 9 years and over 300 weddings which were unique?
The first to come to mind was a cold January afternoon at South Shore Park along Lake Michigan. They served warm Mull wine (something I had only heard about in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life".
Another was the visiting room of the Washington County Jail. The groom was incarcerated and was getting ready to transfer to a different facility. The rules at the new facility stated that the prisoner could only receive visits from an immediate family member or SPOUSE. The groom was behind a glass wall and when it came to the kiss, they blew each other one!
I've officiated several weddings on dinner cruises on Lake Michigan and Lake Geneva.. With the permission of the couple I wore a Captain's hat and gave the ceremony a nautical twist. Rather then I do, the response was "ARRRRGG"
But I guess the grand daddy of them all was the couple that asked me to dress as a Star Wars character! They allowed me to write the ceremony and come as any character I wished. I chose Darth Vader and brought my Grandson Demetrius dressed as Yoda. The couple and their guests were thrilled with this very unique & memorable ceremony!
When people ask me "what's the best part of being an Officiant" I always answer it's the people I meet and the families that I have the pleasure of working with.
As I close the books on 2022, I like to focus on the successes the year has brought me. I had the honor of joining 31 couple in marriage this year, bringing my grand total to 304! Most notable for me is the fact that 2 of this year's weddings were "re-do's"...couple who were married before, divorced and magically fell back in love! What a pleasure to reunite these lovers! (My career total now stands at 3 redo's)
This year I officiated a wedding in a high school class room! They met in 1986 in their high school math class. Together they discovered that love at first sight was not a myth but an experience they had shared. Who could have imagined the twists in life that would separate them or the unlikely circumstances that would unexpectedly bring them back together exactly 30 years later. If there is a lesson to be learned from their story it is that true love never dies. No matter the amount of time or distance, even if it seems impossible, in the end, love prevails.
Imagine the thrill of following the couple after the ceremony and being greeted by a wedding guest who was a former co-worker who I hadn't seen in many years. Or the honor of being asked to officiate the wedding of my third cousin. It was at that wedding that I met the bride's grandfather who happened to be one of my mom's few surviving 1st cousins.
To say I am grateful for my life as an officiant is an understatement. I'm not sure what I did to deserve this honor, but I sure am glad I did it!
There is a popular trend these days to have a friend or family member officiate your wedding. While on the surface this might sound like a fun idea, this article reveals some really good reasons why this may NOT be a good idea...