"But you only need to Officiate for thirty minutes, why do you charge what you do?"
It is always surprising when a couple spends copious amounts of money on extraneous items such as a limousine, but balk at the funds for a professional Officiant for their ceremony which is the core their of the wedding day. Professional Officiants are your muse, they are the orator of your love story, and the coordinator that makes sure your wedding day is not forgotten. It takes time and effort to craft meaningful and poignant vows as opposed to how beautiful your flowers were. Flowers wilt, but your ceremony should be something wonderful you remember for the rest of your life.
I arrive up to 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. This is to make sure that everything is coordinated and I can see the venue, where I have to stand, look at the acoustics, and either set up my own sound system or get miked to the system that is there. I usually stay an additional 15-20 minutes after the completion of the ceremony to sign the license, congratulate the couple and pose for photos.
Driving time to and from the ceremony must be included so for example if I drive thirty minutes, add that on to the thirty minute readings, plus another thirty minutes for pictures, and then the drive home, another thirty minutes, and at least a half hour to fill out the license and get it to the post office. So roughly that's two hours. In any other industry people are compensated for their time. It is no different in the Wedding Officiant business.
Most Reverends will advertise through one of the wedding sites. This does not come for free. It costs money to maintain our website that we pay for, and to design, maintain and host in order to give clients who are looking for an Officiant complete information on our services and other resources they might need.
Add in the cost of gasoline, car insurance and maintenance to get us to the ceremony on time
There are office expenses, specialized clothing for the Reverend, binders, phone costs, bank fees, postage, business taxes, membership dues, paper, ink, postage and gas and time to fill out your license and send it to the right place.
A professional wedding officiant is going to be able to handle anything that comes along on the day of the wedding. It’s not as simple as showing up and reading the script. There are plenty of things that have gone askew to couples I've Officiated with: microphones die during the ceremony. For example, brides/grooms cry or need reassurance, lines get flubbed by the couple, the ring bearer can't find the ring, etc. It can get endless and it is up to the Officiant to smooth over any glitches and make sure the wedding is beautiful.
The day of the Officiant is usually coordinating with the all the different providers such as the photographer and the venue staff. Bridal party members need to be lined up and directed properly.