Other Thoughts

Wedding ministers and wedding officiants everywhere, not just in in the Chicago area, can perform a very valuable service for you in putting your wedding together. And this includes ceremonies in all types of locations. I perform weddings all over the greater Chicago area, with the vast majority of them being in a place other than a church. And although I do a lot of work to help couples get married, the cost to have me as your wedding officiant is only about 3% of the total cost of the average wedding.

Although everyone knows that “you get what you pay for,” couples sometimes forget that this also applies to hiring a wedding minister or officiant. If an officiant is good, he is not “cheap.” If he is “cheap,” perhaps you should wonder why their fee is so low. And is someone who gets their wedding officiant (minister) license on the internet really the person you want performing your wedding?

I have often been amazed that some couples (not all) see no problem in paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for flowers, cakes, alcohol, etc. But they want to pay the smallest price (sort of like a “tip”) to the one who pronounces them “husband and wife.” I have performed weddings where there was a melting ice sculpture that cost more than my services.

These are the costs of the average wedding, according to “The Bridal Guide.” And of course they vary from couple to couple, and from year to year. Keep in mind that these costs do not include other expenses like the wedding rings or the honeymoon. (Please Note: I am a minister, not a “wedding planner.” I do not have anything to do with choosing your photographer, wedding cake, etc. And I do not sell any of these services.)



Reception/Catering $8,000
Photography $1,500
Videography $850
Apparel $1,175
Music $1,000
Flowers $750
Cake $400
Invitations $350
Miscellaneous Expenses $1,000
TOTAL: $15,025


Almost every provider of the above wedding services requires a contract and a monetary deposit. My “agreement” spells out the date, time, and place for each couple’s wedding, as well as provision for their rehearsal.

A professional wedding officiant is both a minister and a kind of bridal consultant. All the fancy flowers and dresses and everything else mean very little if the ceremony gets messed up; if the wrong people go the wrong way, say the wrong things, etc. If you’ve ever been to a wedding disaster, and they happen quite often, you know what I’m talking about.

With the couples who come to me to get married, I first spend 1-2 hours with them going over all the details of the ceremony. I utilize a 5-6 page checklist which covers many different features and options that couples have put into their ceremonies. My goal is to help each couple make all the necessary decisions so that their wedding will go according to their “ideal.” There is a lot of work involved in sorting through everything, such as:

  • Maid/Matron of Honor & Bridesmaids
  • Best Man & Groomsmen
  • Flower Girls
  • Ring Bearers
  • Ushers
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Musicians & Soloists
  • Readers & Readings
  • Prayers
  • Candles
  • Vows
  • Ring Ceremony
  • Rose Ceremony
  • Message on Love

Besides the initial consultation, I will have several follow-up telephone or email conversations with each couple. I will write up the entire script for the wedding ceremony (10-14 pages), just like a movie director has a script for his movie, and send it to them for their revisions. Except this is the Bride and Groom’s “movie,” and I want them to get “Academy Awards” at their ceremony. In most cases there is a rehearsal, where more details are worked out. Then at last is the actual wedding ceremony. I usually put in at least 10 hours of work for each couple that I marry.

It is a sad reality that with the divorce rate being so high, every couple needs to think long and hard about their decision to get married. And with the cost of a typical wedding being so expensive, couples should get the very best help and advice to make everything go smoothly and right. They should “get their money’s worth” for one of the most important days of their life. That’s what I try my best to do.


Wedding Planning Resources
Chicago wedding planning resources: marriage license information, vows, readings, customs & traditions, ceremony & reception locations.

As Featured on The Knot

Chicago Wedding Minister Officiant:

Rev. Daniel L. Harris
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Click here to ask about Rev. Harris’ availability to perform your wedding, or to send him a message.