Payment of Wedding Fees

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JW
Posts: 850
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:46 am
Location: Kent

Payment of Wedding Fees

Post by JW » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:33 pm

In the past, in our area, organists' wedding fees tended to be paid, even if, on the rare occasion, one had to ask the best man while photos were being taken outside the church. However, it has recently been more difficult to persuade the happy couple that the organist needs paying. As a wedding can take many hours of my time: meeting the couple to plan music, practicing (and sometimes obtaining) the music they want, late arrival of the bride etc., I don't think organist wedding fees are particularly exorbitant, certainly much less than a string quartet or a DJ. And for me, wedding fees are taxed.

I'm coming to the conclusion that I need to insist on fees being paid by a week before the ceremony. Has anyone else experienced this problem? All advice gratefully received.
JW

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VML
Posts: 717
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:57 am
Parish / Diocese: Clifton Diocese
Location: Glos

Re: Payment of Wedding Fees

Post by VML » Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:06 pm

When the wedding music is discussed, I am straight about the amount of the fee, and I suggest the Best Man brings it to me/ the organ, in an envelope in the time he is usually there before the bride arrives. If it doesn't materialise then, I catch up with the best man at the back of the church afterwards. I have not had any defaulters this way.

BobHayes
Posts: 123
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Parish / Diocese: St Mary of the Angels - Diocese of Salford
Location: Ashton-under-Lyne

Re: Payment of Wedding Fees

Post by BobHayes » Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:03 pm

Have to confess that I have never given this subject any thought! Pardon my ignorance.
Bob

Southern Comfort
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Re: Payment of Wedding Fees

Post by Southern Comfort » Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:59 pm

This is an increasing practice, alas. More and more organists are insisting on being paid upfront before they will play a note, because they have had to wait so long or have had to send a solicitor's letter... And it's always the ones who can easily pay who are the worst offenders. Such a shame.

When you consider that just the flowers could be costing as much as £15,000 (in extreme cases), and the reception £50,000 (pretty normal, actually), a fee of £100 (or whatever) for wedding music is peanuts in comparison.

IncenseTom
Posts: 194
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:50 pm
Parish / Diocese: Diocese of Leeds

Re: Payment of Wedding Fees

Post by IncenseTom » Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:41 pm

My PP normally asks for a minimum donation to the church from which the organist (usually me) is paid. The couple then have one payment to cover 'the church bit' and needn't worry about money on the day. This seems to work very well.

However, I played for a wedding today where the couple had asked someone from the church choir to sing during the signing of the register. The singer happens to be the former teacher of the bride. There was no payment whatsoever for her today. Perhaps the couple thought that their 'church fee' (which included my fee) would pay for the singer? Perhaps they thought she was doing it as a favour as they clearly hadn't had a conversation about payment in advance?

Whenever I play somewhere else I always adopt the policy of:

No pay, no play.

Southern Comfort
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Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: Payment of Wedding Fees

Post by Southern Comfort » Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:00 am

The church fee thing is fine, but sometimes the couple don't pay up ahead of time. It has been noted in some places that this is particularly the case with members of the travelling community. What does the priest do on the day? Does he also say "No pay, no service" ?

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Nick Baty
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Parish / Diocese: Everton, Liverpool
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Re: Payment of Wedding Fees

Post by Nick Baty » Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:21 am

Not such a huge problem here as, between our three churches,we have just two or three weddings a year. However, we have around 150+ funerals. Here there's never an issue as the undertaker pays the organist. Perhaps if undertakers doubled up as wedding planners....

alan29
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Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 8:04 pm
Location: Wirral

Re: Payment of Wedding Fees

Post by alan29 » Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:40 am

Like Nick, we have very few weddings. My system is that I expect a fee for non parishioners, but ask for a bottle of wine for "our own."

IncenseTom
Posts: 194
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:50 pm
Parish / Diocese: Diocese of Leeds

Re: Payment of Wedding Fees

Post by IncenseTom » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:12 pm

To answer SC's point, I think my PP mentions at one of the pre-wedding meetings that the fee is payable at the rehearsal which usually takes place sometime during the week before the wedding.
This is also stated on a very helpful info sheet which he has prepared for the couple giving them my contact details, advice on gaining the correct calamus licence (or similar) if printing hymns texts in an order of service, what the couple needs to do in terms of contacting the local registry office, booking a place on a marriage preparation course, etc.

Then, the couple pay the fee to the priest at the rehearsal. As far as my involvement is concerned this system seems to work.

I agree about having considerably more funerals and the funeral directors being very good (and discreet) about payment.

blackthorn fairy
Posts: 105
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Parish / Diocese: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Wellingborough Northamptonshire

Re: Payment of Wedding Fees

Post by blackthorn fairy » Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:23 pm

I am usually paid directly by the funeral directors (cash in a brown envelope). No problem. However, I did once dep for a friend (different parish, different diocese) where I was handed a cheque by the parish priest made out by parish (not the undertaker) and clearly the parish had taken a cut. Anyone come across this before?

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