I remember the first $100 I earned as a professional wedding officiant. I started my business with no initial investment because I was broke and that $100 felt like a million! Over time, I’ve gone from officiating 10 weddings a year to over 500.
So, How much do wedding officiant make? If you are an experienced wedding officiant performing 25 weddings a year at an average rate of $350 each you will earn $8750. Your earnings will vary based on how much you are able to charge for a wedding, how many weddings you perform and your business expenses.
When I say I officiate over 500 weddings a year you might calculate I earn 500 x $350 = $175,00.
Wouldn’t that be nice?!?
The truth is, you can only charge for services what the market will bear and your prices have to be competitive in order to book enough weddings to generate your desired income.
I’m assuming you are asking the question, how much does a wedding officiant make, because you are interested in generating a certain desired income and looking at officiating weddings for money as a possibility.
I know a wedding officiant that earns $1000 or more per wedding.
He is connected with a high-end wedding planner who is able to book him, maybe, 6 times a year. Officiating weddings is something he does on the side when the opportunity presents itself. He’s a good-looking young man in a suit and is a very effective public speaker. He’s a great wedding officiant.
I have kids to feed and clothe and dental bills to pay. I need to generate a steady income so I approach my business a little more realistically.
Here are some of the things to consider when calculating how much you can possibly make as a professional wedding officiant.
How much does it cost for you to officiate a wedding?
There are expenses you might not think about when you start officiating weddings. Maybe you got ordained to marry a friend and it was part of your gift to them on their wedding day. You didn’t think about the expenses because it was part of your gift. I realized one day that if a couple came to my house when I wasn’t doing anything else it literally cost me nothing to officiate their wedding. It was 100% profit. Or, I could just be nice and marry them for free.
Here are some costs you need to consider when becoming a professional wedding officiant:
How much does it cost to generate business?
There are free ways to build a business. If you have a large, local social media following or a large group of friends you could build a wedding officiant business with no investment. Realistically, you will want to present yourself professionally if you are paying for advertising or not. Some things are one time investments and others are monthly or yearly.
Here are some costs you need to consider when advertising your wedding officiant business:
How much you can earn as a wedding officiant depends on how much you can charge.
Now that you have considered your expenses, you need to decide if it’s worth it. Will you actually make a profit as a professional wedding officiant? If you make a profit, is it enough to justify the work and the time investment involved?
When I decided to completely rework my business and my website I had to decide what I was willing to do and how much I needed to get paid to make it worth it. I decided that what I really need is to get paid for is my time.
How much is my time worth?
Emails, phone calls, meetings, travel, they all take time. The actual length of a wedding ceremony is less than 30 minutes, but everything that goes into preparing for that 30 minutes can add up to hours behind the scenes. If I make an actual appointment with someone it is worth more to me than an email or text I can answer while I’m doing something else. A scheduled appointment is an obligation and becomes a scheduled priority. What is it a priority over?
What are my services worth to people who need them?
I decided to create several different services at different prices. That way couples can decide what they actually need and what they can afford. I marry people every day. Couples getting married on a Tuesday morning in January generally have different needs than a couple getting married on a Saturday afternoon at 4:30 during the height of wedding season. We both understand what those needs are and what they are worth. If all I have to do is meet someone at a certain time, in my regular street clothes, sign a paper, ask them a question and snap a picture with my smartphone I’m good with $60. I’ll probably spend that $60 on the way home at the grocery store.
A couple having a formal wedding ceremony will take over 10 hours of my time between meetings, emails, travel, not to mention using the years of experience I have. I couldn’t charge the same prices 7 years ago.
How much do wedding officiants charge?
The average cost of a wedding officiant is $350. Actual costs will vary based on location, services provided and the experience of the wedding officiant. You can usually have a friend get ordained and marry you for free!
Can my friend perform my wedding ceremony?
Yes! Anyone can perform a wedding ceremony. You can download a wedding ceremony script for free, personalize it and get married! You need to have a person to meets the legal qualifications in your state to actually sign your marriage license.
Victoria Meyer, founder of Marry Me In Indy! LLC has been a wedding officiant in Indiana for over 9 years and married over 3000 couples. She shares her experiences and is happy to be your "Wedding Officiant Insider"