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gazman

Wedding and Funeral Fees

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Hi folks,

 

Sorry to start up such a potentially boring topic, but I am shortly moving to a new post and have been told by the Rector to name my own fees for weddings and funerals (oh how tempting! :rolleyes: ). The church has a proficient choir of trebles and men who do the full 'Cathedral' repertoire, and prospective wedding couples are encouraged to book the choir to present choral items at the ceremony, so most weddings will be more ambitious than "Two hymns. Traditional in and out".

 

As I'm not a member of the RSCM, I'm unable to view their guidelines with regard to minimum fees. So I'd very much appreciate hearing what colleagues charge, if you're willing to divulge, please.

 

I'm also considering applying a blanket fee to weddings to cover 'family' videos, rather than applying an extra fee if couples choose to divulge that they know the wedding will be videoed, having been bitten several times in the past. I'd be interested to hear how widespread applying such a fee is among the profession.

 

Thank you in advance. :)

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I'm also considering applying a blanket fee to weddings to cover 'family' videos, rather than applying an extra fee if couples choose to divulge that they know the wedding will be videoed, having been bitten several times in the past. I'd be interested to hear how widespread applying such a fee is among the profession.

 

 

My church does this (and has done for at least the last 5 years). We make it very clear to couples that they have our permission to video and there is no need to be surreptitious about it (as if they would...)

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We have been and done this topic at least twice before in recent years. The trick is to assume (charge for) that a video is always present (even a mobile phone counts...) and give a discount if there is none at the ceremony. I have only had to refund once, and that was before mobile phones.

The other thing is to charge what you think you are worth. The days of providing an organist for a wedding for 30 odd quid are, thankfully long gone. I would think that at least a hundred quid is fair, especially when you think how much the DJ is getting............

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Where you are going I should think an absolute minimum of £100 for a wedding and £75 for funerals. I should have thought even £120 for the weddings there. Probably rather more funerals than weddings in that town?

 

Recent legislation prevents organisations like the ISM and RCO (both of which I belong to) and the RSCM (which I avoid like the plague) from suggesting fees. What they are able to do is issue complicated tables of average fees in various categories during the previous year. However, to a simple soul like me, they are even less clear than the Book of Common Prayer table of how to find the date of Easter after having first found its related Golden Number!

 

I find the best funeral fees on a freelance basis can got from services where you are booked direct by the Funeral Director and you negotiate the fee with them. These days they are often so grateful if they can find someone who even knows that the manuals are played with the hands and the pedals with the feet!

 

Malcolm

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Where you are going I should think an absolute minimum of £100 for a wedding and £75 for funerals. I should have thought even £120 for the weddings there. Probably rather more funerals than weddings in that town?

That's without video, I assume?

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I find the best funeral fees on a freelance basis can got from services where you are booked direct by the Funeral Director and you negotiate the fee with them. These days they are often so grateful if they can find someone who even knows that the manuals are played with the hands and the pedals with the feet!

 

Malcolm

 

Seriously, how bad is it now? I haven't played, other than at home, for over 25 years so am really out of touch. Maybe I should make myself known to the powers that be and earn a few extra pennies.

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Thank you for your advice thus far. I appreciate it! :blink:

 

We have been and done this topic at least twice before in recent years.

I thought we might have done so, and searched the board for a while before posting, but I couldn't find a topic where we discussed specific fee rates.

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Seriously, how bad is it now? I haven't played, other than at home, for over 25 years so am really out of touch. Maybe I should make myself known to the powers that be and earn a few extra pennies.

 

When I started doing freelance funerals seriously I sent a flyer round to all FDs in the area other than those under the umbrella of "Destiny". If they have a service at either a crematorium or church that cannot provide an organist of their own there are a few FDs who regularly contact me and I get on well with them. One who gives me regulalr work even gave a me a large bottle of sparkling wine at Christmas. They will also sometimes recommend me to other FDs in a wider area. I find that churches in the more rural areas, especially those in the commuter belt/London-Brighton railway line area tend to pay beter fees than town centre churches and one even offered to pay quite expensive taxi fares for me (which I gladly accepted). On the other hand, someone else I know in another part of south east England has tried all avenues to get funeral work but with little, if any, success.

 

I have said before on this Board, quite recently, that the crematorium owned and run by our City Council has two chapels and generally, especially in winter, they can keep a regular team of 5 or 6 organists quite happy with the level of work offered although the pay there is rather less than elsewhere.

 

Malcolm

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When I started doing freelance funerals seriously I sent a flyer round to all FDs in the area other than those under the umbrella of "Destiny". If they have a service at either a crematorium or church that cannot provide an organist of their own there are a few FDs who regularly contact me and I get on well with them. One who gives me regulalr work even gave a me a large bottle of sparkling wine at Christmas. They will also sometimes recommend me to other FDs in a wider area. I find that churches in the more rural areas, especially those in the commuter belt/London-Brighton railway line area tend to pay beter fees than town centre churches and one even offered to pay quite expensive taxi fares for me (which I gladly accepted). On the other hand, someone else I know in another part of south east England has tried all avenues to get funeral work but with little, if any, success.

 

I have said before on this Board, quite recently, that the crematorium owned and run by our City Council has two chapels and generally, especially in winter, they can keep a regular team of 5 or 6 organists quite happy with the level of work offered although the pay there is rather less than elsewhere.

 

Malcolm

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Presumably the maority of Church weddings ask for the organ to be used, although in a Church some years ago in Swansea I wish the female organist had taken early retirement..

Last week I attended a funeral in Eltham crematorium and although the organist was in attendance (I could see him on the balcony) he played for just one minute in between the ramblings of the vicar.

No hymns were sung, and there was pre-recorded music so I wonder how much the organist would have been paid for 1 minutes work ?

Colin Richell.

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£50 for funerals involving 20 bars and 6 verses, hence £1.80 per bar is not unusual around here. (£1.80 being a reasonable amount to spend in the bar)

 

AJS

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Partly it's the time you have to be there for and certainly at our local crems they insist that you stay in the chapel until every mourner has left.

 

Malcolm

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Guest Roffensis
so I wonder how much the organist would have been paid for 1 minutes work ?

Colin Richell.

 

 

It is up to the family to decide how much music they want played on the organ, although this should be at the discretion of the Priest as to what is allowed. Both my Priest and I refuse inappropriate music. If an organist is booked and only plays 10 seconds :D , he has still travelled to the church, given up his time, and is entitled to his full fee. It should be presumed also that he has done so at the risk of losing work elsewhere in the meantime, given that funerals are arranged in advance. In about two cases per year I find a family who "don't want an organist", and typically they have no music at all.

 

Concerning weddings, in the case of video, I also double my fee. This is standard practice.

 

R

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2010 Wedding fee is £120. If family recordings take place, we don't make an additional charge. We reserve the right to charge double fees should I or whoever is playing decide that there ought to be an additional fee, :D

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2010 Wedding fee is £120. If family recordings take place, we don't make an additional charge. We reserve the right to charge double fees should I or whoever is playing decide that there ought to be an additional fee, :D

 

You mean if they ask for a complete performance of Sorabji II, for instance?

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How do you explain the additional video recording fee to prospective couples? I know it's to do with performance rights and copyright in my performance, but it can be difficult to put this across succinctly to those who have no idea, and I just wonder how others do it in order to avoid a reaction of utter astonishment that I should have the nerve to claim an additional fee for apparently doing nothing!

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Guest Patrick Coleman
How do you explain the additional video recording fee to prospective couples? I know it's to do with performance rights and copyright in my performance, but it can be difficult to put this across succinctly to those who have no idea, and I just wonder how others do it in order to avoid a reaction of utter astonishment that I should have the nerve to claim an additional fee for apparently doing nothing!

 

 

I include a contribution to the cost of the licence in the scale of fees I give to all potential marriage couples, and a differential fee for the organist. I tell them that when it is videoed the service becomes legally a public performance, and that the organist is a professional musician and deserves a performance fee if s/he is doing more than simply assisting at a service. I have not found anyone yet who wants to make an issue of this.

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Guest Patrick Coleman

P.S. I think it's the duty of your vicar/minister/priest to do this, as s/he is responsible for ensuring that activities in the building comply with the law.

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Guest Roffensis
P.S. I think it's the duty of your vicar/minister/priest to do this, as s/he is responsible for ensuring that activities in the building comply with the law.

 

 

That presumes the priest wants to get involved. In one of my churches the Vicar does, and is right on the ball. The other Priest doesn't really involve himself. I have always explained the performance/copyright issue clearly, and only in one case was there any dispute at all. I suggested that the family may like to find their own organist, providing he is competant, and who may indeed be happy to waive the extra fee, but that as Parish Organist I was entitled to the basic fee. That settled that! I think so long as you are direct and courteous most accept such things. I also think it entirely appropriate to ask proper fees given that we are losing a weekend day. One cannot exactly go for a nice walk on the Yorkshire Hills with a wedding looming on a nice sunny day. Perhaps we should all start charging along the lines of Photographers, and also ask extra when the Bride is late.

 

Fashionably of course. :)

 

R

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Guest Patrick Coleman
That presumes the priest wants to get involved.

 

 

No Richard it doesn't. I know that there are priests who don't want to be involved, and this is not helpful to organists, but it is still their duty to do so. Clergy (especially Anglican ones) are very good at only doing the things they like or which fall in their comfort zone. It remains true, however, that they bear responsibility for everything which takes place in their churches.

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It would avoid a lot of unnecessary argument and unpleasantness in Anglican chruches if parish priests weren't afraid to "get involved" and both face and resolve potential confrontational situations at an early stage instead of sitting in the wings, waiting until a situation has got completely out of hand and then panicking. I've seen it happen so many times although, mercifully, I have never been directly involved.

 

Malcolm

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Guest Roffensis

Typically it is the RC church that seems to avoid getting involved in such issues. I quite agree they should, but the reality is that often they don't. It is often difficult even to secure a decent salary!! I have experienced the most lamentable attitudes with the catholic church. In one instance, it had "never been the tradition of the church to have a paid organist" and it was inferred funeral fees would make up such a deficit. This I questioned, and even today the amount is low. Fortunately though, there is indeed a lot of extra work. Given the quality of the organ and the building, acoustic etc, I knew which side my bread was buttered when I took the post.

 

R

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Going on from what I was saying earlier today, I have just been in a church where I know all the people involved fairly well. That church has all sorts of tensions and problems because people such as the director of music and the vicar don't actually talk to each other and discuss what they are each planning to do and what their vision is for the future. Like so many organists and vicars neither seems capable of telling anyone what they are going to do in a service until about five minutes before a service because neither of them is capable of deciding what they are going to do any earlier than that. Organists and vicars are both just as bad at this sort of thing.

 

Malcolm

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