The average cost of weddings in the U.S. currently stands at $22,500. But have you ever wondered how much to pay the pastor for the wedding? And what if yours is a non-religious ceremony? Have you considered how much to pay the officiant?
Considering that you cannot marry yourself in some states, it’s safe to say that a wedding preacher or officiant performs a crucial role. Therefore, it never hurts to pay them something. But how much do you tip a preacher for a wedding they perform?
Read More: Etiquette for Wedding Expenses
1. Paying a Wedding Preacher for a Wedding
When paying a wedding preacher, you can take several approaches. Below are some of the ways of determining how much to pay a pastor for a wedding.
Ask Them or the Church They Serve
If you have no idea what to pay a preacher who officiates your wedding, you can simply ask them. Some of them may have unique rates. Others may charge you based on standard rates that they or the churches they serve set.
A typical priest or pastor charges an average of $263. So, you can use that as guideline to determine whether the quote you receive is too high or not.
Remember, intern ministers tend to charge lower prices. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $200 for their services. And the marriages they officiate are just as valid. However, if you prefer a more experienced pastor, you should budget for costs ranging from $200 to $400.
Use Your Discretion
It is much easier to pay the fees a wedding preacher sets because there is no guesswork involved. But you may find it challenging to ask for various reasons. So, you can use the average amount you would have paid a pastor as a guide.
Also, you may want to tip the pastor beyond the stated fees. In that case, you can use your discretion to determine how much to tip or pay a preacher for a wedding.
If you want to tip an officiant for their services at your discretion, you could give them $50 to $100, depending on how much work they have put into your wedding. In addition, you may tip the religious institution they are affiliated with an additional $100 to $500, depending on your budget and the help their staff offered you.
How Much Do You Tip a Wedding Officiant?
Wedding officiants or celebrants not affiliated with any religious institution are likely to charge very different rates from what your pastor will charge. These may come in the form of civil wedding officiants who work for the government and can perform weddings, or professional officiants or celebrants who wed people for a living. The latter usually work with contracts.
You could also ask a loved one to become an ordained wedding officiant specifically so they can marry you.
Some officiants do what they do as a full-time job, which means they must charge rates that enable them to make a decent living. Therefore, they may charge higher rates. Others have different government roles and marrying people is just one of them. For this reason, you may only need to pay a tip.
For tips for professional wedding officiators, you should set aside $50 to $100. However, that is sometimes an optional cost. The standard fees you must pay for wedding officiating are necessary though. And you should set aside at least $300 to cater for those costs.
However, depending on how much work your officiant has done on your behalf, you may have to pay as much as $800.
Also remember that court weddings fees tend to be lower. And your budget should be $10 to $115 for the license plus whatever tip you want to give at your discretion.
The upside of the usually higher costs some non-religious professional wedding officiators charge is that you don’t have to tip any religious institution.
Read More: 4 Tips to Make the Most of Your Wedding Budget
There is no specific value you can use to determine how much to pay preachers for weddings. Every situation is different. So, ensure you settle upon a number that works for all parties concerned.
- SuperWeddings.com; Ask the Wedding Expert: How Much to Pay the Minister; Linda Kevich
- Brides.com. "Here's How Much the Average Wedding in 2018 Cost—And Who Paid." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- TheKnot.com. "This Is How Much a Wedding Costs on Average, According to Real Data." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- TheKnot.com. "This is the Average Cost of a Honeymoon Today." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- SuperMoney. "How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost—SuperMoney Guide to Wedding Costs." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- TheKnot. "Destination Weddings Can Sometimes Be Cheaper—Here's Why." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- WeddingWire. "Newlywed Report 2020." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- Brides.com. "What Are the Most Affordable Months to Get Married?" Accessed June 24, 2020.
I hold a BS in Computer Science and have been a freelance writer since 2011. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and lifestyle shows, and fantasizing about world travels.