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What is an appropriate amount to pay a minister for conducting a rehearsal and wedding service?

Cece Nunn

When it comes to how much you should pay a minister, don’t be afraid to ask an appropriate amount when you call the church to schedule your wedding.

“There are just so many variables,” said Wilmington resident Judy Bradley, who has been a wedding coordinator and designer for 17 years. Bradley, owner of a wedding planning business called Eventz!, said, in her experience, fees can range from $75 to $375.

“It’s different if somebody says, ‘Hey, we just want to get married on the beach and we’ve got our two witnesses.’” said Bradley, who is also officiates at weddings. “But if it’s going to be a big wedding with a lot of attendants on each side, it gets to be more involved.”

Some churches have fees for non-members. For example, a couple that wants to get married at First Baptist Church at 411 Market St., Wilmington [Map this], but is not a part of the congregation is charged a fee of $250, said Judy Brown, church secretary.

For church members, it’s up to the couple.

“If someone in my congregation asks me to do their wedding, I figure I’m already paid for that,” said the Rev. Dr. Michael Queen, senior pastor at First Baptist. “That’s a part of my work. Ninety percent of the weddings I do are my church members, so I don’t ever expect to be paid for a wedding. Having said that, most of the time you do get something for doing the wedding even if it is a church member. People feel some sense of obligation to pay the minister something.”

Queen’s advice for couples is to take their cues from the rates they pay other people involved in the wedding, such as photographers, caterers, directors and musicians.

“If you do the wedding, the rehearsal and counseling a time or two, you’ve invested several hours,” he said. “And I think then they can look at what they pay everybody else in that context and they can figure out what they need to do.”

For more help, the website WeddingOfficiants.com takes a detailed look at this issue.

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3 Responses to “ What is an appropriate amount to pay a minister for conducting a rehearsal and wedding service?”

  1. On October 21, 2011 at 10:45 am Aaron wrote:

    How horrible that anyone who “works” at a church gets paid anything. These people need to take their own Bible and see where all of Jesus’ apostles worked for a living while doing their preaching work. Jesus said, ‘You received free, give free’.

    These money-hungry places are the next big tax base….Mark my words.

  2. On October 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm Kenny wrote:

    It’s still cheaper and easier to tie the knot than it is to un-tie the knot.

  3. On October 28, 2013 at 11:49 am Kya wrote:

    We paid our officiant (from the Catholic church) $200. It was the amount requested by our Church. That was steeper than I original thought, but considering the time our priest put into the wedding (meeting with us twice beforehand, communicating with us many times through email, creating or at least editing a homily for the full mass, traveling to and from the rehearsal and wedding, and spending his time at both the rehearsal and the wedding), I would say we got more than our money’s worth.

    The $200 although requested by our church, was considered a donation, and I’m sure that our church would have altered the requested cost had we been under financial burden.

    I agree that those who work for the church should not be doing this for the purpose of profit as a previous commentor wrote. But I also think that the officiant’s time is valuable and that they deserve some compensation for taking the time out of their schedule to officiate over the wedding.

    There’s often more going on than simply showing up and telling the newlyweds to say “I do”. Preparation goes into meeting with the newlyweds, designating the readings for the mass (if the newlyweds didn’t do this), writing or editing a homily/speech. And that doesn’t even account for things like the gas to get to and from the events, or the fact that the officiant is giving up time on the date of the rehearsal and wedding.

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