Google+ What's It Worth to You? On the Value of Life Celebrations | Galen Broaddus, Secular Celebrant

What’s It Worth to You? On the Value of Life Celebrations

18thJul Who determines the value of a ceremony? (image via Pixabay)

I absolutely love the work I do.

I am not even remotely exaggerating when I say that being a secular celebrant is one of the most fulfilling roles I have ever filled (behind other notable ones such as husband and father, of course). This is especially true of the time I spend with couples moving into the new territory of marriage, even in simple phone conversations.

I stumbled into this field in part because I felt even after I personally left religion that there was so much meaning to be had in simple celebrations of life, and I knew once the idea of being a secular celebrant had been planted in my mind that it was something I wanted to do.

Of course, I don’t know that I ever would have imagined exactly how that has played out. The journey here has been a fascinating and surprising one, but even beyond that, it continues to bring so much joy to me.

If you were to ask me what the value of a secular ceremony is, I could frankly write you a dissertation.

So it becomes much harder when I have to do the unfortunately necessary work of taking all the value that I find both in the work I do and distill that down to a simple metric: money.

In a perfect world, I would do this work — any of it — for anyone and everyone who needed it, with no other demands. Everyone deserves the opportunity to mark the most memorable moments of their life in ways that are meaningful to them, and what I get out of it is its own sort of reward.

I do not, of course, need to tell you that this is not a perfect world we live in. No one has perfected the technology that would make transportation simple and free, and for better or worse, we do put a premium on the time and skills that it takes to do the kind of work that celebrants of all kinds do.

On one level, I am deeply uncomfortable with this state of affairs. How on earth can I put a simple dollar figure on my time facilitating this moments of shared meaning? Who am I to say what the cost of entry should be?

Still, it would be unfair to both myself and others who do this invaluable work not to attempt to do the otherwise unthinkable task of assigning a monetary value to these services and time they take.

As such, I’ve attempted to make my process for determining rates both more systematic and more transparent to those interested in finding a secular celebrant. Right now, this is limited to weddings, but individuals interested in information about memorials, coming-of-age, and welcoming ceremonies are welcome to contact me for more information (at least for the time being).

Since the primary determiner of cost is transportation, I’ve divided up the state of Illinois into defined regions by county. If you want to find out how much I would charge, find your county in the PDF linked above, look up what tier it falls into, and find the price. It’s that simple. (Individuals outside of Illinois would of course need to contact me directly to see if I have the ability to solemnize in your jurisdiction.)

It’s not ideal, but it’s hopefully workable for both me and for those who might engage my services.

Image via Pixabay

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About Galen
Galen is a certified Secular Celebrant with the Center for Inquiry (CFI). The views expressed on this site do not necessarily represent those of CFI. (For more information about Galen, click here.)
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