Congratulations on your engagement and thanks for looking at my blog!

Congratulations on your engagement and thanks for looking at my blog!

How to use this blog

PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOW COMPLETELY RETIRED, SO I'M NO LONGER TAKING ANY WEDDING BOOKINGS. I'M LEAVING THIS BLOG ONLINE IN CASE IT'S OF ANY HELP TO YOU IN PLANNING YOUR WEDDING, BUT I WON'T BE MAINTAINING IT, SO APOLOGIES FOR BROKEN LINKS OR OUT OF DATE INFORMATION! This blog is structured as a series of questions and under each posting, I've provided what I hope will be helpful advice for you in planning your humanist wedding. All of the posts are on one page, but each one has been condensed in size, so to read the full details, just click on the post title or 'read more'. When you get to the end of the post, just click on 'home' to get back to the full page of posts or 'older post' to move on to the next post. If you're interested in a particular subject, you can also click on the list to the right or you can do your own search by using the box below.

I've started with a wee video, so happy viewing, happy reading and happy wedding planning!

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What is included in the wedding fee?

As you’ll already know, getting married unfortunately isn't cheap (err....understatement?!) and many couples are understandably budget conscious these days. So when you make a booking for a Humanist wedding ceremony, it’s only natural to want to know what you get for your money!

The ceremony will be one of the most important parts of your big day and given that it will be tailor-made for you and therefore highly personalized, many couples feel that the Celebrant fee is money well spent. It’s all about priorities of course, but when you consider the cost of the other aspects of your big day (ouch!), the ceremony fee is relatively modest and we think that it represents real value for money. In fact, you may well end up spending more on the flowers! Did you know that a recent survey by The Scottish Wedding Directory found that the average cost of wedding flowers was £500!

Read on for more information about the fees...

Although we're all self employed as Celebrants, we are authorised by, and work under the auspices of HSS, so we follow their recommended fee guidelines. More information is available on the main website at: Humanist Society Scotland and the fee is currently £450, minus an upfront booking fee/deposit of £85. This includes membership of HSS and we require couples to become members of our charity to help to support our campaigns, policies and community work. It also ensures that your ceremony is covered by the HSS Promise, to provide a celebrant who is trained, reviewed and insured and we will provide cover in an emergency at no extra cost. 

Although some Celebrants charge a deposit on top of the £85 booking fee, I personally don't, so the remainder of the fee (£365) is payable direct to me when I invoice you during the month before the wedding.

Included in the fee is:

  • Admin: the administrative work involved in confirming and managing your booking.
  • Support: any help and support you might need to choose readings, music, vows or symbolic gestures. I can supply you with examples and give you feedback or advice on any ideas you've got and I’m always happy to help!
  • Advice: if you ever need advice about any aspect of your wedding ceremony, don’t hesitate to give me a shout. Wee things, big things, legal things, practical things..... it doesn't matter, just ask and if I can help, I will!
  • Meetings: I usually arrange meet with couples around 5-6 months before the big day and spend a fair amount of time (often around 2 hours) with them, planning the ceremony in detail, discussing the various options and helping them to make choices and decisions.
  • Drafting the ceremony: after the main planning meeting, I’ll then draft the ceremony and email it to you. You can then come back to me with any amendments, deletions or additions and I’ll incorporate them into a new draft. In fact, we may end up emailing, texting, phoning or messaging each other quite a lot in the run up to the big day - just until you're 100% happy with the ceremony draft and have all the help and support you need. Don't forget that I'm always there for you!
  • Conducting the ceremony: I’ll be at the venue an hour early on the day to coordinate everything for you and to make sure that everything goes smoothly. I’ll liaise with the venue staff, musicians and photographer etc... I’ll also be on hand for any last minute problems and to soothe any frayed nerves!
  • Afterwards: after the ceremony, I will send you a nicely produced final copy of the ceremony as a wee keepsake.
As you can see, all of that adds up to quite a few hours of work for each ceremony, although having said that, I still consider what I do too enjoyable to be ‘work’ as such! The wedding fee covers not just my time, but also my professional skills, and any guidance, support, help and advice I can (and will be very happy to) give you.

The other costs involved are:

  • Travelling expenses: I wish I didn't have to charge for travel, but unfortunately with the cost of running a car, I can’t afford not to! Hopefully, we can arrange to meet somewhere that doesn't involve too much expense for you.
  • Statutory fees: these are payable to the Registrar for the necessary legal paperwork to be drawn up. They are payable by everyone getting married in Scotland regardless of whether the ceremony is Humanist, religious or civil. There is more information about these fees on the website: National Records of Scotland
Please note:

If you feel that the fee is prohibitively expensive, there are a few options that might make it all a bit less painful! They include the following:

  • We can arrange to meet somewhere that doesn't incur huge travel expenses for you.
  • It might help to spread the cost and if you’d like to pay in installments, just let me know because that is no problem at all. I usually invoice for the balance of the fee around 4-6 weeks before the big day, (and it's payable 2 weeks beforehand), but if you’d like to spread the cost, that’s no problem at all.
  • Please also note that a reduction in the fee will always be considered in cases of genuine hardship.

I have to say that dealing with money is my least favorite part of the job and if I could conduct weddings for nothing, I probably would! However, in paying a fee to your Celebrant, I think you're getting a lot for your money!

Hopefully, I've answered any questions you might have on this subject, but please don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s anything else I can help with!

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