“You should be charging $2000 for your services.”
At first I didn’t say anything. I was watching every “that’s impossible” thought in my head come charging to the surface. ‘He’s gotta be kidding. He couldn’t possibly know what the market is like — all the competition!’
What Would You Tell Him You Charge for Your Services?
Tell me — what would YOUR “that’s impossible” remarks have been?
The man on the other end of the phone was a person who’d built businesses, repaired businesses and flipped all kinds of companies. And he’d found me, I didn’t go looking for him. He wanted to learn to be an Officiant. But what he was saying was a challenge to my own beliefs about WHAT AN OFFICIANT CAN CHARGE for her or his services.
His Reasoning about What to Charge for Services
“A couple is putting a huge amount of time, resources and energy into their wedding day,” he explained (and I’m paraphrasing here because yes, I was driving and talking on the phone. My bad…), “so why not charge $2000 considering all the different options, services and bonuses you provide them?”
Which is true. I didn’t raise my prices until I found unique ways to add value. The ceremony my couples get, their results, are worth the fee. Plus guests regularly and even predictably go gaga for the ceremony that gets created for the couple.
One of the lowest paid on a wedding team
“But I just don’t find those kinds of people coming to me, “I explained back. “Officiants are one of the lowest paid of all the wedding professionals.” I took note of the poster of the Henry Ford quote that started to flash in my mind, “Argue for your limitations and they’re yours”. “But I do charge more than most people in my area.”
My fees aren’t all that cheap, unlike many other officiants. I’ve seen what they charge. NOT MUCH. I felt a bit defensive. It’s not as if I don’t value my services AT ALL…
Whether the conversation I continued to have with him was a curiosity call, a sales pitch from me to him or him to me, the internal dialogue I was having felt far more important.
Thank you, sir, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, for nothing other than challenging my own assumptions.
Because yes, I do have a higher charge for my services. And I also provide more services than what so many ask for at first — a short and sweet ceremony.
The couple that requests short and sweet relays this request as if they don’t want to ask too much for themselves, either. Probably, they have little sense of what kind of magic can be infused into a ceremony by a skilled Officiant.
Chances are if you’re that Officiant would you be reluctant to value and accordingly highly charge for your services?
Or are you a real deal? And why? Why should you be the deal?
Requests for Short and Sweet
Other times it also feels like a short and sweet ceremony is the quickest and least painless entrance fee they have to pay in order to be ushered with their guests into the big bash party afterwards.
The food. The drink. The flirting. The parent child dances that make the older folk cry and the younger folk wish they’d hurry up and make way for the REAL dancin’.
All that money, all that time finally taking shape and form with or without a ceremony that was out of the ordinary. Solemnizing a marriage may have been sweet, or short, or deep and engaging. Light-hearted and witty.
Whatever tone the ceremony takes, it should be an effective beginning to the day a community comes together and lets the couple know, “We have your back and we believe in you.”
I can’t claim that every ceremony is going to be touched with magic, that everyone will be amazed, inspired, captured by the couple’s love story that I’ve put into words for them.
Here’s the continuing dialogue I’m inviting you to participate in with me. Why DO officiants have such a hard time charging a fee that truly demands attention and respect? That reflects the value of what the power of a ceremony is?
And results in a memory that will be theirs forever.
I’m asking you, my fellow officiants, what factors makes us reluctant to charge money for a service for such an important life event?
We don’t have to be charging $2000 but why do so many only charge $50 to $100 and feel unsure about even charging that much?
What would your conversation be if the man who called me, called you? What would you WANT to tell him you charge for your services and what you ACTUALLY charge for your services?
Let me know. I’m curious.
To the best inner and outer dialogues between all of us.
Rev. Crystal Y
Jump in on the ongoing conversations, or start your own.
For new Officiants, be sure to grab a copy of The 5 Common Mistakes New Officiants Make.