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It really is amazing how many times we witness someone asking in a Facebook group or even in a direct email ‘I’m looking for a celebrant who won’t charge an arm and a leg’ or ‘don’t you just rock up on the day and that’s it? As much as the former gives off alarm bells and we know the latter to be far from the truth, it’s good to understand what your celebrant is worth.

Mitch and Shae celebrate their fabulous love at the beautiful Midginbil Hill Eco Resort, in NSW. They asked for a fun and light ceremony and that’s exactly what they got. Photo: Marshal Photography

A celebrant’s fee ranges in price from $400 – $2800 so it’s understandable if you’re a little confused as to how much a celebrant will charge.

The NSW registry, most commonly known as ‘the courthouse’, currently charges anything from $442 to $599 depending on the day and the location. Although running off to the courthouse isn’t as romantic as it seems in the movies, what with the stark fluorescent lighting and security checks.

When most celebrants start out, they’re quite conservative, maybe $600 – $850, and then gradually up their price with the more confidence they gain. If there’s a venue they really want to work with, a bucket list venue so to speak, or maybe you’re working with a photographer or videographer whom they really want to work with, a newer celebrant can often see this as a marketing opportunity, and therefore could offer a slight discount.

The average price for the best most experienced celebrant’s in NSW is anything between $900 up to $1500. This depends on the day of the week you’re wanting to get married, how much work is involved and where you’re planning on getting married. Although many celebrants will match the registry price if the ceremony takes place on a weekday and you’re happy for the same type of service – which is basically just the legal words to make a married couple, what many celebrants call ‘a legals only’.

So how do you work out how much a celebrant is worth?

The first question you really need to ask yourself is ‘how much do I value the work of my celebrant?’.

Sharon Campbell is one of our more experienced celebrants, she knows how to make our couples feel relaxed and how to make them giggle during their nuptials. Photo: Cole Studios

You can’t get married without a celebrant, so if you’re willing to fork out top dollar for a photographer, or cake, or for a champagne tower, it’s reasonable to think you’d be willing to pay good money for your celebrant.

Most celebrants work around 10 – 15 hours on any wedding ceremony, this depends on how you want to work with your celebrant. For example: do you want more in person meetings, are you wanting a rehearsal, an individualised ceremony, or will you need extra vow support?

Then, think about the time spent on those tasks. This isn’t just the tasks in relation to the actual wedding. An individual celebrant manages a small business. They are the go-to person for every department within their business such as: admin, marketing, accounting, customer service, tech support and of course the delivery of the ceremony on the day. So, the fee a celebrant charges also takes into account the time and effort done across all the other facets of the business.

Stopping momentarily to enjoy a giggle with her couple, Kelly Hayes is all about the fun. Photo: T-One Image Photography

Many celebrants work out how much their business costs across the year and what personal expenses they need to survive. Then they work out how many weddings they’d need to do across the year to ensure they don’t end up in the red. Don’t forget they also need to pay themselves tax and superannuation too.

If a wedding is taking place outside of a celebrant’s working area, say more than 50kms from their home, they may charge a travel fee which can range depending on the celebrant and where they’re travelling to.

Maybe you want your ceremony to be super fun and you want your love story to be the centre of your wedding and to make your guests cheer and swoon for your love from the moment you both see one another. Then you’ll be needing to pay for a celebrant who creates this for you. It’s encouraged to chat to your celebrant before booking so you know they’re the right celebrant for you.

Meg and Tee take a moment to revel in their wedding day. Photo: Ben Wyeth Photography

However, if you’re just wanting someone who stands at the front and says some generic words, words they’ve said a gazillion times before, making all your guests wish it was over and pining for the bar, then you can get away with spending a more than below average price. But remember you will (hopefully) only do this once, and you want to create a really memorable experience for you and all of your guests. 

Whether it’s a micro-wedding or a huge big bash, you’re spending good money on creating this celebration, you don’t want to look bored in your photos, you want to look as though this is the best day of your lives. You’ll want to hear from your friends and family for years to come that ‘your wedding was the best!’ and who you choose as your celebrant will ensure that vibe is created from the get-go. You don’t want your guests saying, ‘your wedding was great, but that celebrant was pretty generic’, or ‘hard to hear’, or worst still ‘boring’!

You couldn’t wipe the smiles off Oonagh and Keelan’s faces during their ceremony at The Figs Byron, in NSW. This makes for great moments captured for their wedding album. Photo: Chris Guy Photography

Celebrants charge how much they’d be willing to pay for their own service, so if a celebrant values themselves at a certain price point, be sure they know they are worth that amount.

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Author Bio

Victoria Armstrong

Victoria is a full time marriage celebrant and lover of love in the Northern Rivers region, and our local leader for the great state of NSW. She moved to Ballina almost 8 years ago from Sydney and has found her little slice of paradise.
She loves dogs, people, pretty dresses, swimming in the sea and the colour pink. She doesn’t love washing the dishes, cleaning the glass in the shower or eating eggplant. When she’s not frocking up to marry people you can find her walking her four legged bestie – Gidget, enjoying rose’ with her girlfriends or getting away and camping in the back of her fiance’s van somewhere along the east coast of Australia. Her life is pretty great!