you may be
“I see a lot of laughing in your pictures. Do you tell a lot of jokes, Mark?”
You’ll notice I never use the word “joke” in describing what I do.
Because I don’t tell jokes at your wedding.
There’s an important difference between humour and “a joke.” I love to laugh, and I think you and your guests want to, too. But I steer away from “jokes” that can be said of any couple anywhere, anytime. And I find that gender-based or honeymoon jokes (for example) are almost always cringe-inducing at best and offensive at worst.
Any of the humour in your ceremony will be about a funny memory in your own story from your first impressions of each other, your first date, or your proposal, and it will be something that you told me about. I don’t tell jokes. What I do is find those lighthearted and contrasting occasions in your love story that make us laugh. And those are the moments captured in all those photos.
“Are you actually aware that your fee is much higher than other officiants?”
Yes. And here’s why.
In a nutshell, my fee allows me to be a full-time professional officiant exclusively, to not have to cram as many ceremonies as I can into a weekend, and to focus fully on my couple by writing their unique ceremony and crafting the fun and moving story of how they fell in love and arrived at their wedding day.
When I was starting out as a wedding officiant, I collected the usual $300ish fee. That meant a few things:
First, it meant that officiating would always be a side hustle. Even a wedding every weekend at that fee couldn’t pay the bills. An officiant who charges $300 needs another job to make ends meet and can’t concentrate fully on creating ceremonies for a living.
Second, it meant that the number of hours I could put into creating a wedding ceremony was very limited. So with a real dayjob, plus trying to book as many weddings as I could for a low fee, I had to stick to using a wedding script that was fairly “canned” and run-of-the-mill.
And that brings us to my third point: if I wanted my officiating side-hustle to bring even a modest income supplement, I had to officiate two, three, or four weddings in a weekend. Sometimes that meant trying to squeeze two or three into a single day! And that was in addition to my “real” dayjob. I started to feel like my clients were numbers and my weddings were cookie-cut.
Not anymore, though. I devote 100% focus on every wedding I do and make it the best experience possible for everyone.
“How far will you travel for my wedding?”
My fee includes all travel including the rehearsal from my St. Andrews NB location. That’s why the fee is incrementally higher as the distance increases, from $599 for the St. Andrews area, $699 for the Saint John area, $749 for the Fredericton area, $849 for the Moncton area. There are no extra fees. The price you see is all you’ll pay.
“What if you’re sick on the the day of our wedding and can’t do it?”
This has never happened, but fortunately I have a deep bench of several licensed and experienced colleagues who I know would knock your ceremony out of the park as well as I would. Your ceremony will already be completely written by me, of course, and I would call on one of my colleagues to seamlessly step in and read and perform what you and I have created together.
I recommend and gently insist on a rehearsal – that’s why it’s included in my services!
If your venue is not available for a rehearsal, don’t fret! We just need a space where we can imagine a “front area” and practice walking down a mock aisle and standing in a line. I’ve done rehearsals in city parks, living rooms, condo party rooms, and restaurants.
We want to do everything we can to make sure everyone is as relaxed as possible on your wedding day. A rehearsal – anywhere – goes a long way towards that.
“How does payment work?”
After we meet and you decide to book me, I send you an email with a link to an online payment portal. You can pay by credit card online. I ask for a 50% booking deposit as a retainer, and I ask for the remaining 50% well after you have the draft of your ceremony script and it’s almost complete. Then I start building your story, editing along with you, and reaching out to your friends and family.