14 August 2010
In a joint bid to welcome more weddings in church, the Church of
England's Weddings Project and the Royal School of Church Music
have teamed up to offer fresh advice for churches, including
answers to brides' biggest questions about wedding music and
RSCM Director Lindsay Gray answers the most frequently asked
question from brides, on a video featured on the For Vicars page at
why pay double for an organist if a wedding is filmed?
The days are gone, he said, when recording a marriage service on
camera was only something for the royal family: "I accept that
times have changed since the early days when if someone appeared
with a video camera in the church it was a rarity. Nowadays
anyone can come along with a mobile phone and take a few
Some organists' contracts carry an uplift in the organist's fee
of 100% if a wedding is filmed, originally thought to be to
compensate the organist for the pressure of having a camera in
church. (Organists in the UK usually charge between £50 and
£150, depending on skill and experience.)
Lindsay adds: "We don't make hard and fast rules on this at the
RSCM and there is certainly no RSCM requirement that the organist's
fee is automatically doubled when the ceremony is recorded on
video. It comes down to the contract between the organist and
the church. Nowadays there is an argument for having some sort of
flat fee whether the service is videoed or not."
The second most frequently asked question is why the couple may
need to pay the organist if a friend plays for their
wedding. Lindsay Gray advises that such a clause may be in the
organist's contract with the church, or it may not be: "Couples
need to ask what the contract says from the outset."
The Rt Revd James Langstaff is the Bishop who leads the Church
of England's current review of fees for weddings and funerals. In a
training video for the Weddings Project he tells vicars: "We live
in an age where people want to know exactly what it is they're
paying for. And I think that's fair enough." He welcomes the
intent of both organisations to be clear on money and music.
"That's because when we are transparent on these things, we are
fair to the couples we're so pleased to serve on their wedding
The RSCM launches a refreshed online weddings section next month
stressing that music (and the people who play it) lifts the beauty
and meaning of the marriage service. "When couples feel free
to choose music that is meaningful to them, we know that it makes
their day more special. For most organists and directors of
music, making this happen is an enjoyable and satisfying part of
their work," says Lindsay Gray. "Good music and musicianship
add a unique element to the marriage service."
Meanwhile, the Weddings Project team starts a new season of
training presentations next month with more than 700 vicars in
seven further dioceses, bringing the latest research and a suite of
practical resources to help churches welcome more weddings - see www.yourchurchwedding.org/project.