- What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
Our fee of $190 is low, compared with others in the Greater New Orleans area. For a 1-2 hour wedding, average prep time is 6 to 14 hours plus. If my daughter does photography work, she is an extra $75. We do not charge for “extras” like helping to write vows, for larger crowds, unlimited communication with clients, premarital counseling, etc. There may be nominal equipment charges for materials required for sand ceremonies, hand fasting, stone blessings, etc. Generally, if there is an extra charge, it includes something you can keep (like the sand jar or hand fasting cord). Of course, this would be something you request. If you provide your own supplies, we do not charge extra to perform the ceremony. Another possible extra fee mostly applies to weddings in the French Quarter, New Orleans….if we have to pay a fee for parking, we ask the clients to reimburse us. Of course, we only use paid parking as a last resort. We will first search for free parking. If there is none, we will try to find parking within walking distance to your venue at the lowest price. The hotels used to not charge us for parking, as long as we showed them our pastoral credentials and were there for under 2 hours. Now, most of the hotels will charge full price….which can easily be $50-60. If you are concerned about having to pay for parking for vendors, etc, it’s a good idea to ask this question (preferably before hiring) to your contact at the venue. If they do charge, ask your contact if they would offer discounted or group rates and how those using it would go about getting parking under what you have worked out with your contact. If we do have parking charges, we will provide the receipt or other proof of our payment. The bottom line is that you will know the EXACT fee, and what that fee covers BEFORE we make the commitment to work together. And we do have a 100% refund guarantee, up until the day before your wedding, if for any reason, you no longer require our services….no questions asked. An exception? If you want to proofread a physical copy of your script prior to the wedding, the fee must be paid in full prior to receiving a copy of the script. We recommend arranging this about 5-7 days before your wedding, to give plenty of time to make corrections before your big day. This is a fairly new policy for us that we had to incorporate after 5 of our hand written scripts were actually stolen within a few months (clients hadn’t paid….we sent over the scripts only to have the client disappear. They would have a friend or family member get ordained online, then use our script). Considering the amount of time and work we put into these scripts, having them stolen creates a HUGE problem for our small business. We do not believe that any person/couple/family should be denied access to a quality officiant, due to difficult financial circumstances. Our prices are low for this reason. If a potential client wants to hire us but is having trouble coming up with the fee, we urge them to discuss this with one of our officiants, in private. This information is 100% confidential. We can discuss lowering the fee, a payment plan or in extreme cases, waving the fee all together. Some clients donate to a fund to help people going through tough financial circumstances. Please keep in mind that weddings are just a small part of the services I offer. I officiate funerals, do hospital/hospice/prison visits. I do not charge anyone for hospital/hospice and prison visits. I see these services as essential duties for Clergy.
- What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
First, we confirm the date/time of rehearsals and the wedding. We make a firm commitment to provide services and block the date. Then, we provide multiple ways that the client can reach us. We offer a free, no obligation consultation, to assist the couple in choosing the officiant that is right did them. The couple will have the opportunity to ask questions, voice their expectations, and clarify any potential concerns. We encourage prospective clients to take advantage of free consultations offered by any officiant they are considering. For our consultations, we will do our best to work around the couple’s schedules. We are happy to meet in person or via FaceTime/Zoom....whatever the couple decides. We want all potential clients, who choose to bestow upon us the honor of serving as their officiant, to feel confident they made the right choice. We will discuss their desires for the ceremony, and we will help the clients through aspects they may not have considered. We ask clients to fill out a detailed form, which serves as a guide for preparing their unique ceremony. We also have a detailed contract and very liberal refund and payment policies. We will listen carefully and/or read their written words, ensuring that the ceremony has all the elements the client desires, while also being legally binding. We usually check in with our clients throughout the process, updating them on how the ceremony is coming along and sometimes asking questions to "fill in the blanks." Of course, I am available 24/7.
- What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I am a minister in good standing with the Universal Life Church. These credentials allow me to officiate weddings in all 50 US states, as well as perform other pastoral duties such as Vow Renewals, hospital, hospice and prison visits, funerals, baptisms and generally offering support to people in need. I can perform these services for people of any faith, as well as those who hold no religious beliefs at all. All of our officiants are similarly credentialed and registered. During my 25 year nursing career, I often performed ceremonies when no pastor was available. These ceremonies were as varied as Muslim, Catholic, Native American and even Voodoo (while working in New Orleans). As an anthropologist/archaeologist, I have professional training and experience working with people from around the world. I am comfortable working with any client and skilled in learning from the client what he/she/they need from me. I have performed/assisted with ancient rituals rarely seen in the US. I have first hand experience with hundreds of such ceremonies. As officiants, we have been fortunate enough to perform wedding ceremonies among a very diverse clientele. We’ve found that couples today don’t want the same, traditional ceremony repeated millions of times over decades. They want their ceremonies to be meaningful, personal, and reflective of their relationship. We work very hard to ensure that each client has a ceremony as unique as they are. Of course, we are happy to offer more traditional ceremonies, based on the clients’ wishes. Qualifications of the associate officiants are offered as well.