When it comes to a wedding, couples are often worried about budgeting for food and decorations, etc, often missing the main point of the whole event. “The wedding ceremony” The whole idea of getting married is not about how nice things look, or how expensive the dinner napkins are. Its about the exchanging of vows and creating a foundation for years to come based on those vows.
There are many details involved in planning a wedding. However, the ceremony is truly one of the most significant pieces of the wedding and the one that require serious thoughts and preparation. In order to secure a ceremony that reflects the energy of the union, it is best to plan in advance. However, many times couples gloss over the importance and often want to get the ceremony part done as quickly and as economically as possible. A wedding ceremony should not take the entire budget, but some serious thoughts should be put into this important piece of the event.
Before assuming a wedding ceremony is insignificant, consider what the whole event means. The ceremony itself is more then just exchanging vows. It is the celebration of a union, of two hearts joining and establishing a life long foundation. Think about the meaning behind your reasons for getting married and decide how much its worth to you and your spouse. If you are going to spend money on anything, make it something meaningful to the heart.
Keep in mind not all wedding officiants or ministers charge the same. Some are able to charge less due to the location and availability. Fees will vary depending on state and the details involved in creating a special ceremony. Granted some ceremonies are generic, meaning they are not personalized or designed with any specific elements that reflect the couple. Therefore the more detailed and personalized the ceremony, the more money it will cost.
Below is a sample of the fees for wedding ceremonies:
Flat Fee for basic Wedding Ceremony $300-$400 (5-10 minutes)
Standard service: $450- $550 - (10-20 minutes)
Full Service : $750-$850 (20-45 minutes)
Theme Weddings: $750- $1000
Fee Wedding Rehearsal $100 (included in full services)
Fee Wedding Ceremony with Same Day Rehearsal $245
Fee Locations outside the 5 borough’s of NYC, but within Tri-state area $50
Extra fee for translations, special poems etc $20-50
Extra fee for delays $20-$50 for every 15 minutes over the agreed time-frame
Basic Service ($300-$400): This ceremony takes about 5- 10 minutes and is perfect for those on a tight budget. The basic ceremony provides a short ceremony which allows the couple to exchange wedding vows and rings. It is true that a couple can have a County Clerk ceremony for less then $50, and even though it’s economical, its really impersonal, usually last less then 5 minutes in duration and only performed during the office hours at the County Clerk. Also a couple can only have a limited amount of guest in the County Clerk’s office during the service.The bottom-line a County Clerk marriage is a rush job which will tend to make a couple feel unconnected.
A basic service will give the couple the option to have the ceremony anywhere and any time they desire. The location can be at their home, favorite park, boat, restaurant etc, and even at where they had their first date. The basic does not include any appointments, lengthy discussions since the ceremony is template design. There is also no rehearsals involved or appointments to attend. Basically, what you will get is a brief review of basic goals of the ceremony over the telephone, and a generic outline via email. And finally you will only meet, the officiant on the day of the wedding, however a deposit is required to book the appointment as soon as possible.
A word of advice, if you have a ceremony that involves a larger group of attendees, a ceremony with just vows will be inappropriate and appear ill prepared to your guest, giving the impression you are not taking your vows seriously. Remember vows are more then just words. At which point you do need to have a better ceremony planned, that includes a little more then your basic vows and ring exchange.
Standard Service. ($450- $550) The ceremony is ranges from 10 to 20 minutes, but it is enough time to create a wonderful experience for both the marrying couple and the friends and family attending. This particular ceremony is a good option for those who have a need for a more personal ceremony and want to have some say on how the vows are written. The fee includes one to two telephone interviews to review spiritual and ceremony requirements, prior to designing the ceremony. Upon completion of the ceremony, the couple will be emailed with an outline for approval. With this fee, the couple will get a personalized ceremony that is tailored to their spiritual and personal taste. This ceremony fee does not include rehearsal time and is designed for the busy couple on a budget who want a bit more then just generic vows. All ceremonies are sent via email for final approval prior to the wedding date. Fees can be adjust should the couple decide to lengthen the ceremony, include a rehearsal or any additional service. In the event a couple wants to do a last minute same day rehearsal, there is also an additional fee adjustment.
Full Service. ($750-$850) The ceremony can last anyway from 20 to 45 minutes. This option is designed for the couple who wants to truly have a ceremony that is memorable and completely reflects their lifestyles together. The ceremonies include a few scheduled appointments to discuss details and allow the officiant time to really understand the couple and their needs. The couple will go over a checklist that covers just about anything you can think of. After an initial meeting, a wedding "script" can be designed for the couple, that will include any favorite poems, prayers or message. At least 1-2 weeks before their wedding contact should be made between the couple and officiant by email with a copy of the script so they can review and make any necessary changes. Also, as part of the full service, the officiant should attend the wedding rehearsal and guide everyone through their specific parts of the ceremony. Though the ceremony itself takes 20 to 45 minutes, the planning, writing and rehearsal does take time, making the price range for full service between $750 to $850.
The main advantage of a full service plan is that it allows a couple to have their “dream” wedding ceremony as they want it. When a couple goes out of their way to ensure the wedding day is special, the ceremony should also reflect all the effort made in planning a special wedding.
Theme wedding: $750- $1000. The theme wedding is special. It’s for the couple that wants to have fun and make an event of out of their wedding day. The fee includes all the same services as the Full Service plan, but it additional fees are adjusted due to whatever special requirements are needed for the theme event. Theme weddings often require special outfits, equipment or activities that are not typical, which is why the fee is different from the full service option.
Keep in mind not all wedding ceremonies are the same, even if a generic ceremony is used. What makes a ceremony special is the couple and the intentions created. Regardless how many weddings you have attended, your wedding will always be special since its designed to reflect your feelings towards your mate and the intentions behind the vows. Don’t hesitate to use this event to sincerely express what is in your heart, for at the end of the day, that is the very reason ceremonies were created. To give couples an opportunity to verbally express out loud their love for each other.