Fees for playing for weddings or funerals


#1

I've been asked to play for some weddings, and I was asked what my fee is, and I said I would get back to them. I have played for family member's weddings before, but I have no idea. If any experienced wedding musicians (piano-organ) could make some suggestions it would help me to decide. Also, I may be playing for some funerals in the future. I realize with a wedding more time is involved since you attend a rehearsal, etc., So I would think the funerals would be less of a fee than the weddings. I've played for relatives' funerals, but have never charged (of course). I have a son in college now, and could use the extra income,,,,

Thanks for your suggestions.


#2

The cathedral organist for my diocese, somewhat well-known, charges $150-250.


#3

When I played, I would charge $100.00 to $150.00 depending on how much they wanted played, and what.

If they wanted a 30 minute interlude of music before the ceremony, that was obviously more.

I haven’t played in about 7 yrs now.


#4

It probably depends on what your role is (are you picking the music, a organist/pianist who is leading a group, or just a singer/cantor) and your area (is the wedding in a big city or small town). I paid my singers and violinist $75. But my piano player/music coordinator I paid $150. (Required payments).


#5

My fee for playing at a funeral is 60 pounds sterling - about 90 US Dollars. This seems to be the going rate for a reasonably competant player in my area. Our Cathedral organist's fee is 50% more.

Weddings will vary for me between 60 to 100 pounds sterling - about 90 to 150 US Dollars.


#6

I think my husband charges $100-150 for weddings and an addition $50 if he is required to rehearse with other musicians or inexperienced cantors or singers. If he just needs to run through it with a cantor an hour ahead of Mass, then he doesn’t charge the $50. For funerals, since they almost always use the same 20 pieces or so, he only charges $50.


#7

I never had a set fee, but $150 was typical for a wedding and $100 for a funeral in my area. If the family were having financial troubles, I would waive it. I would rather they had a beautiful service.


#8

[quote="Cavaille-Coll, post:7, topic:316947"]
I never had a set fee, but $150 was typical for a wedding and $100 for a funeral in my area. If the family were having financial troubles, I would waive it. I would rather they had a beautiful service.

[/quote]

I donated my time/talents for alot of services.

One nice thing about our parish, is we have our regular choir, then we have our "Resurrection Choir". They sing at all funerals free of charge. It really is a beautiful ministry.


#9

I'm a bagpiper, and I generally charge $150 - $175 depending upon how long I am needed. It's not like I can just pull my pipes out and play, but rather have to arrive early to ensure that the pipes are ready.

I too donate anything that is needed by my church; celebrations, etc., as well as probably about a dozen engagements for non-profits throughout the year. I've been blessed with this gift and know that I shouldn't always profit.


#10

In our parish $125 for each for the organist and vocalist is the standard for funerals. I think that is standard for this area. I don't know what is standard for weddings.


#11

[quote="jreilly, post:9, topic:316947"]
I'm a bagpiper, and I generally charge $150 - $175 depending upon how long I am needed. It's not like I can just pull my pipes out and play, but rather have to arrive early to ensure that the pipes are ready.

I too donate anything that is needed by my church; celebrations, etc., as well as probably about a dozen engagements for non-profits throughout the year. I've been blessed with this gift and know that I shouldn't always profit.

[/quote]

I so want to learn the bagpipes.


#12

I think it is important to factor in the finances of the parish and the people involved.

Our parish is a poor one. When asked to assist at a wedding of people active in the parish most will do it for free. It is only when we need to bring in an external organist or singer does money change hands.

For those who are not regular parishioners an organist might charge £50-£100 or so. (Depending on what is involved) Again for regular parishioners who are spending a lot on a wedding this would also be the same.


#13

[quote="twopekinguys, post:11, topic:316947"]
I so want to learn the bagpipes.

[/quote]

Just takes time, like anything else. I love it, and hope that if it's something you really want that you find instruction in your area and begin. All the best!


#14

[quote="twopekinguys, post:11, topic:316947"]
I so want to learn the bagpipes.

[/quote]

Find a place to practice. One used to practice out on the trail by the river. :D


#15

[quote="jreilly, post:13, topic:316947"]
Just takes time, like anything else. I love it, and hope that if it's something you really want that you find instruction in your area and begin. All the best!

[/quote]

Finding an instructor will be the hard part, but I'm going to look.

Right after the Easter Vigil.


#16

It really all depends on the area you live in and the parish where you are playing. In my area, the typical wedding fee for an organist ranges from about $200 to upwards of $500. One organist in our area charges about $800. He's a big name and runs a weekly organ showcase on the radio, as well as works at a very prestigious Anglican church. I don't think he does many weddings and probably doesn't have the time to, anyway.

Other instrumentalists charge between $200-$300. Harpists are usually a bit more. Singers range between $150-$300.

These fees could be lower if it is located in a working-class neighborhood.

The fees are usually thought up based on the amount of time you spend with the couple in choosing music, travel and mileage, music rehearsal time with other musicians, and sometimes the wedding rehearsal. Because most weddings are on a weekend, many musicians want to make it worth their time to be away from their families on days when everyone else is off and enjoying their company. When I do a wedding, I usually spend two or more hours with the couple either through emails, on the phone or in person helping them choose music with the liturgy, time every day the week of the wedding practicing the music, or learning a new piece of music, then time spent with other musicians if I'm hired to sing for a wedding that is not where I typically sing. I also usually show up at the church or other venue an hour or more before the time of the wedding to rehearse. I also start preparing for a wedding several hours before I have to leave to get to the place - warming up, practicing the music, getting mentally prepared, etc. Most musicians I know also do this. It often ends up being a 6-8 hour (sometimes a 10+ hr day if I'm traveling far) day for me, so all of that is taken into account when I set my rates.

Many bridal couples think that you show up maybe 15 minutes before the wedding and just play/sing without rehearsing, warming up, preparing, etc. so some don't understand why people would charge their rates. I will give breaks and discounts, though, especially if I really do get a feel that the couple is having a modest wedding with a small budget, but would like good music and musicians. I can't do it all the time because I would not be able to afford doing that, needing to pay taxes on my income and using that income to help support my family, etc. My usual fee is between $150 - $200, sometimes more if I'm traveling far or am required to spend an extra day of rehearsing with an instrumentalist on a day other than the day of the wedding. But I'll soon be doing a ceremony for just $80 because they only need me to sing the Psalm, gospel acclamation and Blessed Mother. I really didn't need to be spending any time with them choosing music or rehearsing with the organist and I won't have to prepare as many hours in advance. PLUS it's on a Friday, so I'm not giving up a weekend... huge PLUS for me.

Funeral fees are almost always lower, mainly because you are not usually meeting with the families and spending an hour or more choosing music for the liturgy. Not as much time is required to prepare as you often only have a couple days notice (sometimes only a day notice). You are also not doing much rehearsing and it's usually on a weekday rather than a weekend. Typical funeral fee around here is $125 and they are usually set by the parish or the funeral homes, actually. For instance, one parish I work at has the fees set at $200, both for the organist and the cantor. It's a more well-to-do area and parish. But at another parish where I work, the fee is set at $125. When I'm contacted on my website regarding funerals, I actually only charge $100, unless I'm traveling over 50 miles and then I'll charge mileage and gas.

One more thing, Protestant and most secular weddings usually have lower fees because you don't have to do as much music, it usually lasts between 15 - 30 minutes and it isn't as entailed as a Catholic wedding. The only time I charge more is when they have decided to have a 30-45 minute "recital" of prelude music with music they choose before the wedding, which is a lot more preparing than a Catholic wedding. :p


#17

I have been playing for weddings for 11 years and funerals even longer. My wedding fee schedule is as follows: $125 base fee. Add $25 if working with guest vocalists (ie, who aren't parish cantors) or instrumentalists due to added rehearsal time. Add $25 if it is at a location other than the parish where I am employed. Add $25 if they want me there for the rehearsal the night before.

Funerals, with very few exceptions, are $100 across the board. Although I don't recall ever having been asked to play at a funeral in a parish other than my own (except for my wife's grandmother, which of course I did gratis). I've also gotten very generous "tips" a time or two for funerals. The funeral choir also gets $25 per funeral which goes in to their own account.

My wife and I paid $350 for our wedding organist. He is a big name (as organists go) in the area where I used to work and is the "unofficial" diocesan organist. A large chunk of his fee was travel time, as he travelled about 2 1/2 hours one way to play for us.


#18

Rest assured there are going to be far more people who DON’T want you to learn the bagpipes.

:wink:


#19

Thank you very much for replies. They were very informative and helpful.


#20

[quote="Spudbynight, post:18, topic:316947"]
Rest assured there are going to be far more people who DON'T want you to learn the bagpipes.

;)

[/quote]

Good one, thanks for the laugh.


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