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Pipe Organ Rental for Wedding

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    Pipe Organ Rental for Wedding

    My daughter wants a church wedding with a large pipe organ. What can expect to pay for the use of the pipe organ and tohire a qualified organist for the hour? This is in the Mid West USA.


    The pipe organ would come as part of the rental of the church. However, most churches will want you to use their organist, and the AGO (American Guild of Organists) frowns on bringing in an outside organist--even though they may be more qualified than the organist at the church. It can be done, but is frowned upon. Just know that going in.

    Payment is usually determined by the church--both for the rental of the space, and for the services of the organist, janitor, pastor/priest, etc. That should be deliniated when you speak with the church's office.

    Hope that helps you in your quest.

    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos


      Most churches I have heard of require you to pay their organist, whether you bring in musicians from the outside or not - if you get married in my church my organist gets paid, regardless whether they work or not, regardless of the skill or lack of in my organist.
      When I become dictator, those who preach intolerance will not be tolerated.


        ...the AGO (American Guild of Organists) frowns on bringing in an outside organist...
        Most churches I have heard of require you to pay their organist...
        Just to clarify... the AGO doesn't "frown" on bringing in an outside organist, per se. According to the AGO, if a wedding party wants to bring in an outside musician, the outside musician must receive the "approval" of the "incumbent musician" before accepting to play. For example, a close friend of over 15 years recently got engaged and asked me to play for her wedding. Before I even responded to her, I first contacted the organist/music director to ask permission. (I happen to KNOW the organist/music director, but I still have to follow procedure and ask!). It wasn't a problem, and I'm looking forward to playing for the wedding.

        Re: the fees. The AGO also dictates that "incumbent [organist of the church] should receive his/her customary fee, and the third party is expected to provide it." So, this isn't just a church policy - it's an AGO policy. In MY experience, most church organists don't bother charging the "bench fee," and I never have, but it is important to know that they can. Remember: weddings are a bit like tips at a restaurant. After you're finished, you tip -- even if it was bad service -- because that's a significant part of their income. Weddings are considered part of the organist's salary at a church. If an organist plays an average number of weddings at his church, he's expecting that as a part of his income. Here are the AGO code of ethics:

        Payment is usually determined by the church
        I set my own fees, and my church factors that into the "bill." Then I am paid directly by my church. (If I'm playing at another church, I am paid directly.) Organist fees will vary depending on the skill (and qualifications, degrees, etc) of the organist, size of the church, size of the wedding... even where the church is located in the country (an organist might charge more in New York City than in Dogsbutt, TX, for example). Here's some salary guidelines as provided by the AGO:

        I charge $200 for a wedding. I play about 20 minutes of prelude music, the processional, the recessional/postlude, any requested congregational hymns, and occasionally candle-lighting music. I also charge $50/hour for dress rehearsals (the AGO suggests $50-100/hour) and $50/hour for rehearsals with soloists. I don't usually go to dress rehearsals-- I've played so many weddings that I can comfortably show up day-of and play (the last wedding I went to the dress rehearsal, the wedding party was an HOUR late to the rehearsal, and I spent most of the rehearsal waiting as they figured out where they were going to stand. That's when I implemented the hourly fee). I'm usually happy to accommodate special music requests, though I dig my heels in pretty deep on playing the cliche wedding marches.

        gjbateman, your best bet is to find the church where you want to have the wedding, first. Find a church with a nice big pipe organ. The church will probably have an organist on staff that can play, and he/she will have a set fee and can help you further. But I would expect somewhere in the $100-350 range.

        Best wishes!