Pricing: Do you want a wedding, or a big expensive party?
June 30, 2017
Lately I have been taking all too many calls from people who I never hear from again. When I reach out and touch base, I hear they have found someone cheaper. I did not fit into their budget.
I get that. Some don't have much scratch to spare. I have had more than one bride to be of an inmate tell me she could not afford my travel expenses. Sorry, I cannot travel 800 miles (one way) for free.
My fees are a flat rate. I do not charge for size of wedding, but may add a holiday surcharge (for truly MAJOR holidays). The travel surcharge pays for gas and time; even a plane ticket or hotel room if necessary.
However what really grinds my gears is to hear of your ballroom at the Four Seasons, your several thousand dollar dress (that you don't plan on wearing after the ceremony) , the wedding planner to put it all together....then have you tell me that my $230 charge is too expensive for "a half hour of work."
Uh, what? You just dropped 5K on a dress you only plan on wearing for that same half hour. Your planner is probably charging more per hour.
What many fail to realize is that the half hour is often at least two or three, even for a simple wedding. Your repeat emails changing location or vows? Panicked texts where I talk you in from the ledge? The 30 minutes that turns into 45 minutes later because people are not there yet? Filing paperwork with the TDCJ to do your prison wedding? When I overnight FedEx your license back to the courthouse?
Time does add up quickly. Yet, the officiant is usually the cheapest wedding expense.
It is also the only necessary one.
There are lots of wants for a wedding: the perfect dress, a dream cake, an idyllic location. However there are only three NEEDS.
Here is what you NEED to get married:
1. A willing partner
2. A valid marriage license
3. An officiant
Notice something? No cake. No dress. No venue. No $75/plate dinner. You only need three things to get married. One would be an officiant.
Without the officiant, your wedding is merely a big, expensive party. Nothing wrong with a party but you are wanting to take vows....and this is where I come in.
Finally...don't ask me or any other officiant for cheaper alternatives. This is an insult; have your planner do it.
If travel fees are an issue, look for someone closer. Your church may offer a minister for a donation (which may be more.) Have a relative get ordained. Find a Craigslist special who pulls a ceremony off the internet. Go to the courthouse and get rubberstamped. But be warned: your bargain may be anything but.
In my last post, I quoted a $150 weekday wedding for one couple, who asked if I could drop to the $75 the justice of the peace would charge them. I declined and suggested they stay with the JOP. Their bargain was not a bargain at all.
In short, when you figure out wedding costs, your officiant is pretty cheap. You get what you pay for, so choose wisely.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!