Post # 1
We are getting married in a small chapel, so we must hire our own organist. I emailed one recommended by the chapel and she responded promptly and her credentials are very good. However, she quoted me $300! Is this the norm? I was expecting maybe $200 but $300 seems steep.
ETA: We have the chapel from 2-3:15. Ceremony starts at 2:30, so it will be no longer than 30 minutes, due to our time constraints.
Post # 3
@SeptemberSparkle: I can’t answer for the US, however in the UK there is a musicians’ union which has a very useful table on its website giving the standard prices for each instrument / type of event. I would try to find out if there is a similar thing for the US, or your state. 🙂
Post # 4
Our organist played from 10 until about 12. I think she made about $150?
Post # 5
- Wedding: September 2014 - Banff, Alberta
I have only got a quote back from a harpist and she is $400. Too much for us, so we are looking into students.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2013 - Vine Street Church
I think ours was $300? She came to the rehearsal then played music as guests entered and of course the ceremony music. She also learned two new pieces for our wedding (the Rondeau from Purcell’s Moor’s Revenge and Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba), so it was totally worth it.
Post # 7
I had a Catholic ceremony last year and we paid 170 for the organist. Our ceremony lasted about 50 mins from start to finish. 300 seems a little high to me.
Post # 8
Our church told us that $300 is the donation for the organist.
Post # 9
@SeptemberSparkle: $200-$300 is the range we found.
Post # 10
@SeptemberSparkle: FH plays organ at weddings… he usually doesn’t charge over $200. So yeah, I would say you’re paying too much, especially for only half an hour. I’m also a wedding and event musician and that’s where I make most of my living (I’m just a student right now), and I charge about $150-200, depending on how far I have to drive to the venue (gas is expensive here!)
$300 is way too much.
Post # 11
@Audrey2: I googled average prices and $300+ was considered high. I will search for more info!
@BrandNewBride: Wow! That is a great price.
@Pixienickie: $400 for a harpist?! Holy cow. Good luck with your search!
@thejucheidea: That is good to know. I don’t think ours comes to the rehearsal. If she would, I think the $300 might be worth it for us.
@Monica5373: Was the organist through your church?
@k8: Thanks for the info! I feel like it totally varies by region, as many wedding costs too.
@Duncan: Do you mind me asking what region/city you’re in?
@musical-lady: Thank you for the info. I wonder how the US compares to Canada? Like, typically are things more expensive there?
Post # 12
@SeptemberSparkle: You’re welcome. The government taxes the hell out of us through things like gas, alcohol, and cigarettes (I don’t smoke though), but we’re used to it. We get good public benefits in return though, like healthcare. Living expenses are higher in my city but it’s worth it.
I should elaborate on my first post: I adjust my price based on what kind of material the client wants me to play as well. If I need to purchase the sheet music and work on learning it, I’ll charge a little bit more. Music isn’t cheap so I defer the cost to the client. If they give it to me (I’ve had some couples do this), then I won’t charge extra. I’m a flute player, so the music requests are sometimes more specific (to fit the theme or taste of the couple). I also charge extra if they want me at the rehearsal dinner (usually $300 total in that case).
An organist, on the other hand, is usually playing the same things over and over again. My FH could probably play “Here Comes The Bride” or Mendelssohn’s Wedding March backwards, lol. Assuming that you want this organist to play more traditional wedding songs, and this is something she probably does regularly, she shouldn’t have to spend a whole lot of time learning the pieces.
@thejucheidea: That’s a good price, since it takes a fair amount of time to learn those pieces.
Post # 13
@SeptemberSparkle: Vancouver, BC. So, may have no bearing on you. I think you should cross post on the local board, as well.
Post # 14
@musical-lady: We are looking for traditional wedding songs, but I’ve done a few searches and haven’t much luck finding organists in our area. We might be forced to go with her.
Post # 15
@Duncan: Thanks. Can you tell me how to cross post? Can I link up this thread to the local board, or do I just re-post the same original question?
Post # 16
We are paying $250 and he is playing for 20 minutes while people are arriving, playing while I walk down the aisle, and playing the recessional music. Maybe it is a total of 25 minutes and a total time that he will be there of about an hour. He is amazing though and worth every penny.