How Much Should You Pay a Minister or Pastor for Officiating a Wedding?
(This is not a church letter, yet a helpful article for both Ministers and Engaged Couples)
This is a topic most ministers prefer to avoid when it comes to how much is fair when considering the time and service he/she offers when it's time to unite a couple in marriage.
However, when one looks at the overall expenses and activities associated with a wedding and reception, the cost or fee paid to a minister is an extremely small amount compared to the amounts paid for flowers, photographer, videographer, wedding coordinator, clothing rentals/purchases, reception dinners, DJ's, etc.!
While all ministers do not require pre-marital counseling, many do, and this should be one of the things taken into consideration regarding what to pay. In addition to this, a minister and spouse are usually asked to give up most, if not all, of a Saturday which they usually use to rest and put on the finishing touches for Sunday services.
Many couples mistakenly think that a minister should provide this service for free since they are employed by the church. Well, let me assure you that it is both customary and proper to pay the minister, even when the couple attends the church, and even more, when the couple does not even attend the church.
One of the great discouragements of Pastoring is spending time and effort in preparation for the wedding, then going through the rehearsal, and the big day, only to be left wondering if the couple even appreciated it at all. If a couple chooses not to pay the Pastor, they will often not even say "Thank you" in the form of a card because of the awkwardness of not including a fair payment for services.
By the way, on another topic, please inform the minister if he/she is expected to be around for photographs following the wedding, and if so, as a courtesy, get a quick shot at the start of the session so he/she can move on into preparation for the next day if needed. (There is still a reception to attend after all!)
So, to answer the "how much" question, you may want to consider the pre-marital counseling sessions (if offered), as well as time spent at rehearsal, and usually an entire day on Saturday.
A fair fee for most ministers would start at $150.00, and could go $250.00. Again, most ministers are not going to "charge" a fee, however, after receiving no payment for weddings, (yes, it does happen), you can expect to hear the minister starting to charge a fee for their services.
The minister performs perhaps the most important aspect of a wedding so treat him/her this way and you will be blessed as a result!
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