Less than you might think. And, over the long term of your being together, your ceremony is the most important service you'll purchase.
Perhaps the question you should ask isn't "How much?", but should be more along the lines of, "Is this the person that I feel will help us unite in a manner that reflects our values and choices?"
Without knowing what you want, I have no way of giving you a price. There are sure to be more expensive and less expensive officiates. I provide a personal service and value for you that is customized for you. And, when we meet, I'll give you the full cost, not a 'come on' offer and then add fees. I'd rather we be upfront with each other.
Frankly, there are more important considerations than the price. First, in my mind, is what kind of "chemistry" do you have with your officiant? If the person you choose isn't compatible with your outlook, and you feel like you have to compromise over choices that are easily yours, then I submit that you haven't found the officiant that will help your ceremony reflect you and your values and you've been forced into 'settling' with whomever just to get married.
To me, it's more important that you feel as if your ceremony fits you like a glove. If your ceremony is conducted in a way that your friends and family are disengaged, then you really haven't found that officiant who creates a ceremony for you, with you, and about you in language and conduct that your friends and family recognize.
I usually am told by couples I've married that their friends and family really enjoyed the wedding and that they were so comfortable with the ceremony. And that's the real distinction between having someone who works with you to make the ceremony yours versus someone trying to fit you into a checked box of off a menu driven checklist.
I maintain that like most anything else, it's not the cost that matters, but the value received. My services are usually one of the least expensive items you will have. My part lasts longer than a dress worn just one time, an ice sculpture that melts in an hour, flowers that will wilt in a week, rental of that special venue location, or a reception meal that is enjoyed once.
The portion of my work in public is one that will reflect a polished approach with significant background work performed invisibly to you. I'm like any other professional, whether they be an entertainer, an athlete, a physician, or an attorney. My craft really depends on my preparation for the big event, so that the big event comes off without issue. There are many hours of preparation that you may not see, yet will benefit from, without my having to tell you.
I'll be upfront with you. I'm not the cheapest officiant out here. Nor do I wish to be!
If cost is that large a factor, let's discuss.
I provide three levels of service: Essential, Enhanced, and Preferred. Obviously, the more indepth service, the more time and resources must be used, and the difference reflects that added value.
This brief ceremony is more of an 'elopement' kind of service for those on a budget, and includes pretty much only the exchange of wedding vows and rings. Often the Bride and Groom are the only ones present, plus maybe a couple of relatives or friends. I usually recommend using the Justice of the Peace or a Magistrate, except when a couple may want to marry at their favorite restaurant or other location to which municipal officiants do not travel. If this is the case, then you need someone who can officiate outside the courthouse. Someone like me. This ceremony is basic, with the usual vows, exchange of rings, pronouncement and filing of the legal paperwork.
The overwhelming majority of couples I've met with (over 90%) have wanted a really special wedding ceremony. They have chosen to have a celebration of love that is customized and personalized, just for them.
In order to do that for you, we'll need to meet and email and phone each other to make things perfect. We will go over an in depth checklist that covers just about anything you can think of. I will develop a customized wedding "script" with all of your special reading, selections, and choices like Unity Candles, Stones, or other "blending" ceremonies included. We'll edit this until it's just right!
Then 1-2 weeks before your wedding, we'll review the ceremony and order of service so you can modify it if needed. I will attend and conduct the rehearsal and walk everyone through his or her part of the ceremony.
As a result, your wedding ceremony will be wonderful, meaningful, and exactly what you want. I'll invest about 25-30 hours to prepare your ceremony. And the results will speak for themselves.
I often am reminded of the admonition to "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's......" And I do, just as you do. We all pay taxes, etc.
As for my ministry, I do not allow the government to tell me what I can do as a minister, and whom I can perform my ministry for and with.
Do I perform same sex marriages? The short answer is YES! The real answer is that I perform marriages. I don't allow the state to define with whom you can fall in love, what the 'plumbing' consists of, or to whom you are allowed to give your heart.
I am one of the Faith Leaders that is blatantly against the discrimination written into the atrocity known as Amendment One. I support all loving families and joinings.
Although I'm located near Raleigh, I perform weddings and sacraments from the Capital area to the Coast, plus destination and cruise weddings.
Reverend Johnson's Bio: A native of coastal NC, Reverend Carl attended Methodist University, Fayetteville State University and Campbell University. His military education includes the US Army Field Artillery School, Armor Officer Basic Course, Logistics Officer Advanced Course, and the US Army Command and General Staff College. He holds a baccalaureate, cum laude, in Economics, a Masters Degree in International Relations, and a Doctorate in Divinity. A military veteran, Reverend Johnson also performs sacraments for Military Families, especially those deploying.
Reverend and Mrs. Johnson, an award winning photographer, reside in the Raleigh NC area and have two children. Reverend Carl is a Life Member of the Association of the US Army and a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society in Economics.
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