How and Why to Offer a DISCOUNT
Discounts are a way to change your fee.
But you have to offer a discount for the right reasons! I’m going to warn you not to change your fee because you think you’re starting too high. It’s always better to start with a higher fee and then give yourself some wiggle room with good reasons to come down in your price.
You may have to feel uncomfortable for a while as you get used to setting a higher price, too.
When people accept your price, you will begin to prove to yourself people will pay what you’re asking for instead of being afraid they won’t.
All in for our mutual benefit
To offer a discount for officiating someone’s wedding ceremony can however, be a win/win for these reasons:
- People like to feel they’re getting a deal but you have to value what you do and not give a discount just because you have some of those old beliefs churning around.
- You feel you really connected with someone who has to be super mindful of their budget. You want to work with them anyway and FEEL YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOWER YOUR PRICE.
For very good reasons
Here are the reasons I use to offer a discount on my Officiant fee. The reasons certainly aren’t limited to this but these are reasons that make people feel good, and lessens you thinking you’re getting taken advantage of (even when you’re the one who offers the discount!) or are stranded with extra costs:
- You respect they’re a caregiver, or volunteer for a particular organization
- Teacher, vet, first responder, medical person
- Pay in full within 5 days (or however long you want to give them).
So there you have it. Ways to offer a discount AFTER you’ve set a fair fee for your officiant services.
Special Discount offer of my own
Now it’s my turn to present you with a special offer. This offer will be over September 28.
When you download the Setting a Fair fee and the Officiant Proficiencies materials, you will get an offer to benefit from the entire Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program AND the Unforgettable Officiant Email System for $119!
What’s in the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program?
When you start out as an Officiant, having resources that are varied and can be used for couples with different values, needs and life styles lessens the research load.
Having a selection of 12 ceremonies that are proven to inspire and elements that can work well together means you’re ahead of the crowd!
Add checklists to help you stay on track and interview questionnaires and you’re closer to being an professional. The checlists help you really get to know your clients, interview your couples and create a great ceremony.
Once you use these questionnaires, you by-pass a lot of the insecurities and unknowns of being an officiant.
You have how-to’s both in video, audio and pdf form about how to lead a ceremony from start to finish.
All adds to the confident quotient in your new business as a wedding officiant. Not having to research a lot of details and ask questions you may or may not get answers to in social media allows you to be all the more ready to focus on the couple.
The videos will prepare you for what’s next instead of wondering what the heck you’re supposed to do after the bride and groom are standing in front of you!
The Unforgettable Officiant Email system
This system is a set of email templates that invite people to connect with you, helps you stay in touch with them, and follow up for details AND after the ceremony is over. It’s a fill in the blank system with a scheduler that tells you when to send which email for the greatest impact.
Plus you get another bonus to help you set your fee and value your services.
You’ll get a links to check all that out with the discounted price will be part of the downloads, or you can check the offer out now:
To get your Officiant Proficiencies and Calculation Guide so you can set a fair fee for yourself, click here:
Wedding Tip Wednesday – Set a Fair Fee and Officiant Proficiencies Download
See you in the private I DO Wed Prep Facebook Group every Wednesday at 2:00 where you get tips to build your business, improve your ceremony content and have more fun as an officiant.
Be sure to connect if you want to talk about how the programs can help you develop your officiant skills from average to awesome! Fill out our easy peasy Contact Us form.
People believe they’re good at multi-tasking these days. Before you stop reading this blog because you think I’m going to bash multi-tasking, wait just a sec. Give me a minute more of your time between reading and eating your lunch.
Doing more than one thing at once seems a necessary evil because so many of us have a to do list that needs serious negotiating with an army of helpers.
We all do it, even though there’s plenty of research (here’s info from Forbes) refuting our belief that we can effectively multi-task.
Which may be one reason I read on FB pages for and by officiants that they can wear more than one hat at a wedding. The Officiant may be the planner, musician, the DJ or florist. Some are also the make-up artist.
One officiant doubled as the photographer. S/He must have had four arms in order to lead the ceremony AND take pictures at the same time!
A way to make ends meet
I know that making a living on an officiant’s fee alone can be tough. So adding more services seems like the logical things to do in order to help make ends meet.
Kind of like services multi-tasking.
Having tried it myself, I felt extremely fortunate that my bride was easy-going, gracious and much more flexible than I would have been.
Like when the very expensive cake I’d ordered for her on the day of her wedding was the wrong size. But I’d negotiated an alternative which she was fine with. And time changes for getting into the beautiful venue didn’t phase her at all.
What I don’t want to get caught up doing
But I don’t want to have to manage a microphone that doesn’t work properly when I’m leading the ceremony. Or have to calm an excited vendor who’s running late and can’t find the location.
Getting the groomsmen to the site on time or replacing the wrong color goblets while I’m focusing on inviting the OM energy to the ceremony is a distraction I don’t want to have to deal with.
Multi-providing within the ceremony
Where I do “multi-task” is to add services to the ceremony itself. The term is multi-providing bonuses such as offering a wide array of special ceremonies a couple can choose from. Or using a questionnaire that will knock their socks off and elicit stories that completes their ceremony in a wonderful way.
For me that fits the bill of commanding a higher fee. What I do isn’t really multi-tasking but it is being inventive, collaborative and attentive. All with the same focus – creating a meaningful ceremony and putting the couple at ease.
My one stop service: Keeping my own energy focused and not spread out all over the place on the day of their wedding.
More power to you
This is what’s right for me. I know that necessity is the mother of invention. If you wear more than one hat by service multi-tasking, you’ve decided multi-services is necessary for you to have more fun and/or earn the kind of income you need. More power to you!
Wearing one hat
Focusing on wearing well that one hat, instead of multi-tasking or multi-servicing and providing that one focus is the choice I’ve made for my wedding business. I ask and receive a higher fee because of this choice. My chosen task: leading my couple in a meaningful, fun, romantic wedding ceremony where I am 100% present for them.
Leave a comment what your situation is and how you came to be a one task or a multi-service officiant. We’d love to hear your story.
For more ways you can improve your skills as an officiant, be sure to check out the 8-part online course, The Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program.
Or if you’d like personal coaching to get your officiant business up and running sooner than later with marketing and creative inspiration, Contact me by filling out our easy peazy form. I love helping new officiants get the right resources for them, and their marketing off on the right foot!
You’re always welcome to apply to join our private FB Group. To join, click here: Private IDOWedPrep
Customizing Can Be Crazy Easy
Not every wedding needs to be highly customized. But you will build YOUR confidence when you customize. Plus you’ll discover your couples are more satisfied when you add some of your own flare and personality to the ceremony.
AND in a crazy easy way, make their ceremony unique to them.
Here’s how to get more information on the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program (Special Vacation price until August 7 at 10:00 p.m.) or the Unforgettable Officiant Email System.
Fill out our simple form: Contact Us.
Be sure to participate in Wedding Tip Wednesdays, every Tuesday in the private Facebook group for officiants wanting to stay tuned and ready in the highly competitive world of officiating.
To apply to join the group, click Private I DO Wed Prep on Facebook
Is the Ready, Willing and Able program right for you? Contact us and we can chat whether it’s your best choice. We don’t want to sell you anything you don’t benefit from.
What’s the Unforgettable Officiant Email System about? It’s crazy easy to use too. Find out what it’s about by clicking here: UOESystem
Contact Us and I’ll get back with you to schedule a quick chat on the phone.
Collaborator and Creator,
I DO, Wedding Officiant Prep
Island time is code for don’t get yourself in a tizzy
When you’re on the receiving end of this statement it means you’re dealing with someone who is time-challenged. He or she looks at the clock and the hands tell him or her the time they want it to be. Not the time it actually is!
If you’ve ever visited the Caribbean you’ve probably heard the expression, “island time”.
For the non-time challenged, this expression is code for “being late for an event is just how things are here in the islands. Chill. Have a Dos Equis or Corona.”
When I lived in Puerto Rico for 8 months, there were some folks who were known for being days, not just hours, (I kid you not) — but DAYS late.
The tizzy part? I didn’t do so well in that department.
Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter of a man who regularly showed up early for an event. Yes EARLY.
My mother was pretty much always on time. Dressed to the t’s and with a casserole in hand.
The early bird genes
No early bird genes were passed on to me from either side of the family. I’m the one who’s the most time-challenged in my family.
I’m the one who’s squandered the family punctuality genes. Yes, me, the one offering the good advice in this post.
You might assume I’d be more understanding of a bride who’s an hour late to her wedding.
Not too long ago on my way to officiate a local ceremony, the traffic was so horrible I called the groom. Just to be on the safe-side. “ I’ll still be there on time,” I told him. “Just not as ahead of time as I like.”
“Don’t worry,” he told me. “We’re really behind too.”
A red flag popped up somewhere. “How behind?” I asked him.
“About 15 minutes,” he laughed. He sounded stressed.
“No worries,” I told him. “I’ll get there and check everything out. We’ll just wait.”
When I found the correct location, there were about 20 people standing around. I drifted through the crowd and sat down to go over the ceremony.
When I looked up, it was 15 minutes past the hour the ceremony was scheduled to take place.
I sent a text to the bride. “Where are you at?”
“We’re 5 minutes away,” she said.
I shucked and jived with some guests who were rolling their eyes and looking at their watches.
Eight minutes later I sent another text. “What’s up?” I asked.
Curious, I asked one of the bride’s friends, “Is being late normal for her?”
“Oh yes, she runs late a lot,” chuckled a guy who was wearing a black shirt with big red flames rising from the hem. He turned out to be her Dad.
“Did you start that with her?” I joked with him. “Were you always late when she was a kid?”
He shook his head yes and I chided him, “See what you started? You made her this way! It’s all your fault!” He laughed and joked back about how he knew he was a bad role model.
Making the choice
At that point I had a choice to make. Wait for the bride from her fortress on her island of time-challenges.
Or set a limit.
Because I’ve been in this situation before and truly, I’m better at managing my tizziness, I chose the latter. Limits were on their way.
The importance of telling the truth
What bothered me the most was that the bride was not telling the truth when she said she was 5 minutes away. I get that she may have been embarrassed or didn’t want to get scolded for being late. She’d probably been scolded plenty in her time-challenged life.
But she had to expect being scolded. Everyone has something to do, somewhere to be.
The truth was, she hadn’t even left her house yet, which was about 10 minutes away. So she was lying. That kind of stuff REALLY bothers me I don’t care what the occasion.
Whether she was nervous, a bad planner, had too many distractions, these are all and none valid reasons for being late to her own wedding. If instead she’d come clean, and been truthful, I might have read another page of the Mueller Report while I waited.
I chose to text her instead. “How are you coming? Getting closer?”
“Almost there,” she said.
“Good,” I said. “Because I have to leave at noon.”
I felt through the ethers that boundaries weren’t something she had to contend with often. People just allowed her to operate on Island time.
But something in her kicked into high gear. I could feel it.
Making good on a threat
Honestly I hoped I wouldn’t have to make good on my threat. I took a few moments to imagine myself walking away. It didn’t feel good but I decided I would trot my body out of there if I had to. The couple could come to my house and I’d officiate for them there later. They could still party and have a good time talking about what an awful a person I was.
Giving her these parameters wasn’t meant to be mean, but to make the point that other people’s time is part of the equation at any event. Agreements are agreements. Whether you’re on the mainland or an island.
And in 10 more minutes they showed up with 5 more minutes to spare.
Why was I there?
I was hired to do a job, and provide a valuable service. That’s why I was there with all the people I didn’t know who were tapping their foot, looking at their watches. I was not there to wait around for her to get her act together.
Although this was her and her fiancé’s day it was NOT the best of times to keep everyone waiting. As much as I didn’t want her wedding day to be marred by the boundaries I’d set if the worse case scenario unfolded, waiting an hour for a wedding to start is too much in my book.
The Pagan Initiation
A zillion years ago when I first started doing weddings, I officiated a ceremony for people who identified themselves pagans. I’m up for the unique so I was eager to officiate.
The ceremony itself was way out in the country. There must have been 100 people waiting for the event to begin. It was muggy.
I overheard someone in a group of friends mention how she was always horribly late (aka time-challenged) and you just had to put up with it if you wanted to be her friend.
After an hour, even the people-pleaser in me had had enough. I asked a few people where the bride was. Someone guessed she was having trouble with her dress. On the second floor of the farmhouse.
I sought her out to see if I could help. What I found was she and her bridesmaids lounging in the bridal room drinking beer.
The dress was fine.
“If you’re not at the altar in 10 minutes, I’m leaving.”
She was. I officiated. The groom apologized and I felt bad for the lifetime ahead of him.
Being late is an unconscious method of controlling others
But that’s just me. I don’t like late late late. It makes me feel like someone is trying to control me and tell me they’re more important than I am.
I believe we’re equals. And deserve equal respect.
So you have to decide how long you’ll wait for a late bride or groom.
Aunt Mary is running late
You also have to be prepared to make a recommendation of how long to wait for a guest who’s important and is “running late.”
Some couples want to wait for 20 minutes for a treasured aunt who’s always late. Or someone who says they got lost.
In the meantime there’s 50-100 people waiting for that one person. The new star of the day…
That’s not okay with me. Honor the people who are there on time. Let Aunt Mary watch the video.
TO DO: Clarity in the contract
I’ve learned now to put in my contract that any wedding that starts more than ½ an hour late, a fee of $25 for each 15 minutes afterwards will be charged. After and hour has gone by, I’m going bye-bye.
The time-challenged have taught me well.
Be clear up front, and make your clients sign on the dotted line that they’ve read and understood the stipulation about time. Doing so is a good practice.
Beyond that, although every situation may be different, check out the Checklist I created that details how to identify and work with the following reasons island time has been invoked.
When your couple is time-challenged, you’re looking at
- Extenuating circumstances.
- Honoring those present.
- The Domino affect.
- The Disease to Please.
I expand these points, and look at how and why to handle them in a PDF Checklist. You can grab it here: When Your Couple is Time-Challenged
The gentle kind belief
The world’s made up of all kinds of people. Some are chronically late, others like my dad are early.
It’s up to you what you want to do. But make sure you don’t resent your couple later because they should have done better. If you’d been clear up front, could the situation have been improved?
Spell out what you’re able to do and what crosses the line.
That way you can focus on love, on joy and happiness. and on feeling you are respected for all you bring to a couple’s very special day, even those who are time-challenged and deeply in love.
If you haven’t joined my private Facebook Group, please do! In the group, you can catch Facebook Live tips and techniques, offers for the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program (RWA), connect with other officiants and share your wisdom. Or ask for ideas. We’d love to see your face in the group!
Here’s how to join: I DO Wed Prep Private FB Group
Or Contact me, Rev. Crystal to talk about whether the RWA online course is right for you.
“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.
Networking as part of a wedding
How to build your referral network with simple social and networking hacks even if you don’t know what “hack” means (tricks and methods to get results). You can get more bookings with these simple methods that are at your fingertips.
- With permission, post engagement photos of your couple using any hashtags they may have
- Ask the couple for the contact info and websites of the other vendors who are part of the wedding team
- Post a rehearsal picture of the couple from your perspective
- Take a photo of the wedding site from your perspective on the day of the wedding
- Take a photo of your couple after the ceremony
- Get business cards of the other vendors
- See if the photographer can provide a photo of you officiating. Get permission to post on your social media and / or website.
- Post photo and congratulate the couple
- Give obvious credit to the photographer first
- List the contact info for the entire team who contributed to the success of their wedding day
- Post your posts two or three more times at different times of day, and on different days
- If you have a website, be sure to include all info about other wedding professionals on your post.
- Ask if other professionals will put your contact info on any posts they have about the wedding you all participated in together.
Download Hacks #2, Networking as Part of a Wedding: I DO_Hacks #2_19
Click to go back to Hacks #1 With Wedding Professionals and Business Contacts
Hacks for the Unhacky Officiant, Part 1
Here’s how to build your referral network with simple social media and networking hacks even if you don’t know what “hack” means (tricks and methods to get results). You can get more bookings with these simple methods that are at your fingertips.
(Download link below).
- Arrange to meet in person, by appointment with venue coordinator, head of photography, DJ, caterer, florist, or wedding planner.
- Research their website or Social Media pages to get an idea of what they’ve been up to, who they are and anything they’ve done lately. Be knowledgeable when you meet!
- Offer your card with a small gift like a few fresh baked cookies, muffins, fresh fruit or anything that’s small and notable. Nothing fancy or it’ll seem like you’re trying to bribe them. Do NOT leave a calendar. (Oh lordy mama hug me now if I get one more calendar).
- Ask for your Contact’s:
- Facebook @ address or link
- Instagram address or # (hashtag)
- Twitter Handle
- LinkedIn address
- Google For Business link
5. Are they on any big wedding websites like Wedding Wire or The Knot?
6. Email address and direct phone number
- How do they prefer to be contacted
- What hours do they prefer to be contacted
7. Ask your Contact, “What can I post on my FB page and social that’s most helpful to you?”
8. Take a selfie with your Contact. Smile, please! Even get goofy if you dare. 😉
9. Make a little video of a part of the tour of your Contact’s business and post (watch for too jiggly a video)
- Be sure to tag your Contact
- Include contact info for your Contact on your post (see photo>>>>)
11. Does your Contact or their business have a blog?
- Could you be a guest blogger or would they like to guest blog on your website?
- Can they post your contact info on their Social media and / or Instastory?
12. Request to be on their Preferred Vendor’s List
13. Create your own Vendor’s List and ask if they’d like to be listed (they’ll say yes!)
14. If your Contact is on a wedding website, ask them if they’ll recommend your services in exchange for recommending their services
- You can put “As reviewed/seen in Wedding Wire” etc., on website or social media
Give these hacks a try. You’ll see changes sooner than later in your bookings.
Download the hacks: I DO_Hacks #1_19
We’d love to help you succeed as an Officiant, have more fun, get things done more easily, and set yourself a firm foundation to create a generous source of extra income for yourself. Contact Us through our easy, most enjoyable form or visit the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program page.
It’s been a pleasure and a joy.
Contact me for more information on how our simple, straight forward, practical program to prepare new officiants and inspire experienced officiants can help you.
How to build your referral network with simple social and networking hacks even if you don’t know what “hack” means (tricks and methods to get results). You can get more bookings with these simple methods that are at your fingertips.
- At rehearsal, ask the attendants if they’d like to get special information about relationships. Get their email address and make sure they know what email address they’ll receive notice from you.
- Deliver easy to read blogs, simple quotes, podcast suggestions or Ted talks to inspire AND stay in touch with them. You never know who may be getting married next!
- Send an email to the vendors, couple and contacts, thanking them for being part of the wedding team. If applicable, include link where you posted their info and repeat your request to be referenced in any of their posts.
- Create a sharable doc of a few short reviews, some fun pics and a video clip of an event. Include this in the information you send to potential clients.
- Create a one paragraph email to send weekly to your professional contacts, and wedding couples. Poetry, gifs, something quick and unobtrusive. People get lots of email but you can be a contact who’s fun and engaging.
- Learn about marketing. For a list of recommended podcasts for wedding officiants and online marketing, click here.
I hope you enjoyed this 3 part series. For more information about the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program that gives you resources you can use to mentor other officiants or provide to your couple, PLUS get great resources or yourself, visit the RWA Program.
Click for Hacks #1 With Wedding Professionals and Business Contacts
Click for Hacks #2 Networking as part of a wedding
Contact Us through our easy to fill out form. Let us know how we can help you get the training and inspiration that will help you create and deliver wedding ceremonies that make a difference. Check out the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program, an 8 part online course full of valuable and sharable resources, inspiration and hacks, hacks, hacks.