Ella asks:

Price points seem to be a hot topic everywhere… Would you recommend putting your fees on your website?

Some celebrants display their price on their website, others don’t. Some also seem to provide services cheaper then a BDM wedding. Which poses that question that some people expect you to compete on price, they aren’t comparing the quality of service provided. Only the number they see on the page…

You will literally get a different answer on this from every celebrant or marketing guru you speak to. So for this question, both Josh and I are going to offer our views! This article is just Sarah’s thoughts. Here is Josh’s article.

To me there are two issues here; whether or not to post your prices on your website, and what to do about competing on price rather than quality of service. I’ll take them one at a time.

I have my prices on my website and have done since day one of running my business. When I started my business I wondered about it, but I asked my generally very wise sister who said she HATES websites that don’t have prices on them, and she never bothers to contact them to ask their prices. She just discounts them straight away. She wants to know whether or not they’re even in her ballpark before falling in love with the product or service. So I put them on there.

One of the very first bookings I took, the couple told me one of the top reasons they’d contacted me was because I was open and transparent with my prices; they knew I was within their budget and they thought I looked pretty awesome as well, so they got in touch and booked me soon after.

I’ve gone back and forth about whether to keep my prices on my website through the whole almost five years I’ve been a celebrant. I went to many marketing training sessions in my first few years where people said don’t put your prices up; you need to show people your value and make them fall in love with you so they’ll pay whatever you’re charging. Don’t let people judge you on price alone. I heard many celebrants say the same thing.

In November 2016 I conducted a little experiment and took the prices off my website for three months. What happened? I didn’t end up with any more bookings than I’d had in the previous months or years. What I did end up with is wasting my time on a whole bunch of pitch meetings with couples who, once I got to the price, couldn’t afford me. Maybe I’m just not very good at selling my worth or my value so that couples will pay anything at all to have me, but that was my experience. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I put my prices straight back up and haven’t turned back.

I don’t have to deal with enquiries from people who can’t afford me, and I don’t have to spend my precious time meeting with couples who can’t afford me. For me it’s a time efficiency and process streamlining measure. My life is much better when I only spend time on couples who are pre-qualified and know they can afford what I provide 🙂

Now to the other part of your question, about celebrants charging less than the Registry Office and having to compete on price alone. I’ll be completely upfront here; I have three ceremony packages available, and one of them costs less than the Registry Office charges. That’s because that package provides less than the Registry Office provides. At the Registry Office you can take guests (up to 40 depending on which room you book in Melbourne), there’s an aisle and music, you can wear a fancy outfit, and you get a ceremony with somewhat lovely words and readings if you want them. With my Legals Only Ceremony, you don’t get any of that; all you get is the 121 legally required words and the document signing. Of course people can bring guests if they want, and they can even wear a fancy outfit if they want, but I make it very clear that the whole process takes about three minutes and it’s not very interesting to watch. I feel very comfortable charging less than the Registry Office for providing less of a service than they do.

As for competing on price rather than quality, as I’ve increased my price over the years I’ve quickly figured out that the couples who are comparing on price are not my clients. They’re simply not the people I want to work with, and that’s okay. The couples I want to work with for my premium offering value their ceremony, they understand the importance of the ceremony to set the tone for the entire day, they see the value in paying an experienced celebrant for their experience. Those are the people it brings me joy to work with, and those are the people who are willing to look past price and find out more about my quality and the value I can bring to their wedding.

In fact literally this morning I received the most beautiful email from the couple I married on Saturday. When they first came to me they told me they wanted my Short & Sweet Ceremony, which is my mid-level offering, just a 7-10 minute standardised ceremony. A male same-sex couple, they’d been together for 18 years and “suffered” through multiple weddings where they’d been bored and thought the ceremony was cringeworthy and awkward, and they just wanted to get it over and done with. When I sat down with them I talked through what I could offer them through my Premium Ceremony, they got to know me a bit better, and they started to trust me when I told them I could do things differently and it wouldn’t have to be awful. They booked my Premium Ceremony, but they were still sceptical. Even at the rehearsal last week they were still rolling their eyes about how awkward and hideous the whole thing was going to be.

On Saturday they both cried their way through the entire ceremony, and the email I received this morning included these incredible words:

I can hardly put into words what it means to us to have had your amazing support and friendship and guidance throughout this whole process and the end result was (in my opinion!) absolutely magical!

We have heard SUCH amazing things from our guests about you and the ceremony, and you are without exception the BEST celebrant that people have seen at a wedding. Everything from your style, presentation, personality, the fact that you clearly knew us and that it was the most genuine ceremony that people had attended. I’m sure you hear it all the time, but I just wanted to let you know how amazing it was.

These gorgeous boys took the time to listen to what I had to say, to get to know me, to engage with my process so that I could create an incredible ceremony for them, and I’m hoping that their attitude towards wedding ceremonies is forever changed! These are the people it brings me joy to work with; those who are prepared to look past the dollars and trust in the people they’ve hired to create their amazing day.

So that’s my two (or maybe 22) cents’ worth. I hope it’s helpful!