What is the average fee for a wedding ceremony singer?
August 30, 2018 3:16 PM   Subscribe

If a wedding has one or two songs for the ceremony, and the couple is looking at a local singer who they do not know but was given a list of vocalists by their church, what do you think is fair for the fee? Is it around 100 dollars for the vocalist to sing at the ceremony, or is it more like $50 per song? Thanks.
posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The amount is really regional, but usually it's a flat fee, not a fee per song.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:25 PM on August 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

The singer loses the better part of the day, dresses up, has a skill that they practice. Tip well.
posted by theora55 at 3:53 PM on August 30, 2018 [7 favorites]

I'm a vocalist and have sung at multiple events for my church including funerals, weddings, and special events. I don't get paid* - my singing is a service to the church. If the church gave the couple a list of vocalists from their choir who sing for church events, a fee is probably not required but would probably be appreciated. If they are recommending local professionals who are not members, that's different. I'd ask the choir director or whomever from the church is coordinating the event. They will know if a fee is expected and, if so, what is reasonable.

*On reflection - a couple of times folks have made donations to the church music fund. One time I believe we got gift cards.
posted by bunderful at 3:57 PM on August 30, 2018

Two thirds of what the accompanying pianist or organist gets paid if they are playing the whole service.
posted by michaelh at 4:10 PM on August 30, 2018

Is it around 100 dollars for the vocalist to sing at the ceremony, or is it more like $50 per song?

That sounds really incredibly cheap to me.

If you want to know what the going rate for your area is, ask around locally. This is kind of like asking if it's reasonable to pay $600 a month for a two bedroom apartment, or if $1800 a month is more reasonable.
posted by yohko at 5:52 PM on August 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

I'm a muso who often plays at weddings (though I'm in Australia, an instrumentalist, and not connected to a church). Where I am, $100 per musician per hour is fair for a local musician in a smaller city/a town. In a large city or if they need to travel a bit I'd say maybe $100-150. An hour usually covers the whole ceremony, if everything runs smoothly.

I'm pretty surprised by the thought that $100 sounds cheap. In a typical one-hour-ceremony-gig I would expect to be playing as the guests arrive, for the bridal party/processional, for micro-ceremonies, sometime under readings, the signing, the recessional, and then play as the guests mingle/photos are taken until the hour is up. For two songs $100 seems quite reasonable.

Another factor to consider is if the songs are special request that the singer would've needed to spend time arranging or practicing, which would be an additional fee for me.

But really the only way to know her specific rates is to ask the person who referred her, or get her details and ask her yourself.
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 7:49 PM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Are they using backing tracks? Bringing in extra equipment? Having to coordinate with musicians already in the venue?

Any extra preparation like that takes a lot more time than most people who hire musicians are aware of, and the musician should be preparing and not just winging it, if they are any good. Even "just showing up and singing" requires the vocalist to warm up, again if they are any good. $100 "for two song" is not paying too much to have a musician prepare, appear, perform, and pack up and leave again, given the actual amount of hours and work involved.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 8:56 AM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

This really depends a lot on where the wedding will take place as well as the nature of the ceremony and what you want the singer to perform. Hiring a ringer to sing a couple of difficult pieces they have to learn from scratch at a fancy dress-up NYC wedding will cost more than hiring the "church soloist" to throw on a choir robe and sing a few old chestnuts in Dayton, OH.

Fundamentally, this isn't even something the couple should be worried about. They don't offer a fee, the singer (or the church organist if acting as the contractor) evaluates what the couple wants for music and names the fee for that service.
posted by slkinsey at 11:08 AM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have a friend who used to be an opera singer who does funerals (I don't think he's done any weddings) from time to time. He says he gets the standard rate at the church, which is $150 this year--last year was $125. He said if they wanted something he was unfamiliar with that required a bunch of practice, he'd set a higher price, but that's never happened. An exact quote: "it would have to be some hard modern piece of shit that no one would ever pick."

I would just call the singer and ask the price. It is a business arrangement, so there should be no awkwardness involved. And, whether it is you or friends getting hitched, congratulations.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 4:25 PM on August 31, 2018

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