General question about getting married in a church….

posted 3 years ago in Venue
Post # 3
Member
3677 posts
Sugar bee

It depends on where you are – rarely is it that high, although in some big cities and in-demand churches (big fancy cathedrals, etc.) it can be expensive.

Usually it is less expensive for members/parishioners than it is for outsiders. Churches have operating costs, and weddings bring additional costs (i.e. cleanup costs, having extra personnel there at a time when it wouldn’t ordinarily be open, etc. It also takes some of the celebrant’s time to prepare the couple, write a sermon/homily for the wedding, etc. – and, meanwhile, that is time that is not being devoted to his/her other responsibilities. For people who are not members, they don’t support the church at all by donating to the collection plate, etc., so I think a fee is more than appropriate. Even for members, I think that if their wedding celebration is important enough to spend whatever they’re spending on flowers, photography, etc., the solemnization of the marriage itself (which should be the most important part, right?) is worth spending some money on. Not that it’s fun to pay the church a fee when there are lots of other things to pay for  – but it’s appropriate, in my book.

Post # 4
Member
1670 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

We have to pay a very nominal fee to the minister and the organist, but otherwise the church is free for member use. The church I’m getting married at doesn’t really do weddings for non-members, so there doesn’t seem to be a higher fee for others.

Post # 6
Member
1148 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

We got married in the church my mom is a member of, and she just made a donation towards the church. We were responsible for cleaning up and having everything put back into place for church the next morning, and found our own pianist.

It’s a Methodist church, if that helps any.

Post # 7
Member
2355 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I’ve never known of a church that didn’t have non-existent or substantially discounted fees for member weddings. I imagine some sort of mega-church would be different.

Post # 8
Member
10487 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

@MrsBrown13:  I’ve heard that it’s related to their tax-free status.  They can’t discriminate between members vs. non-members, so they have to charge everyone the same fee.

Post # 9
Member
3112 posts
Sugar bee

@MrsBrown13:  those kind of fees are very standard in Catholic churches.  A church costs a lot of money to run!  It’s sort of seen as a donation.

Post # 11
Member
10487 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

I don’t remember exactly what I paid, but it was around $750 ($650-$850).  It was more than I expected, but thinking about it, it seems fair.  That covers the minister meeting with us and working on personalizing our ceremony while getting to know us, the rehearsal, the wedding ceremony, there was someone from the church who helped us behind the scenes (sort of like a DOC just for the ceremony), the cleanup, etc.  The organist charged separately, but the amount I stated above also included her fee.

Many churches moved away from donation because there are so many people who no longer regularly attend and give a donation that was appropriate 50 years ago, and they don’t really realize that it isn’t even covering the basic costs.

Post # 12
Member
75 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

In Catholic Churches you’re asked to pay a fee, but no one would ever be denied a sacrament due to lack of funds.  (If you come in with a $5000 gown, in a limo, with $400 of flowers in your hand though, you better have the fee 😛 )

Edit: It’s costing us about $350 to be married in my Catholic Church.  $150 for the organist, $75 for the cantor, $100 to the church itsself, and $10 each to the alter servers (2 of them).  We’ll also probably gift the priest about $200 on top of that, but it wasn’t asked for.

Post # 13
Member
681 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

We have to pay $950, which includes the fees for the pastor, marriage prep classes, pianist, and  a coordinator the day of to open the church, light all the candles, etc.

if we were still members, it would be only $550. 

Its one of the oldest churches in my city, so I think the costs are fairly reasonable. 

 

Post # 15
Member
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

We paid a $500 flat payment, and had the options of doing a rehearsal, using the organist, and a DOC. We went for all of it, since it was going to cost us $500, anyway!

We got married in a Lutheran Church!

Post # 16
Member
3677 posts
Sugar bee

Yes, as a PP said, generally if you are in true financial hardship, you can get married at a Catholic church and not make the mandatory donation (or not pay the full amount) – as long as you’re not having a full-blown wedding with all the trappings. They are not charging for the sacrament, they are charging for the use of the church as a venue.

Re. your earlier comments about “The upkeep of the church comes from tithing and offerings from the memebers, it does not fall on someone who is not a member to take care of that stuff. I just wondered because I feel, as a Christian, that if a non-Christian came to my pastor and asked to use our church and he said “sure, for $1,500.00” that would put them off of coming to the church in the future and missing the missing what they need in the church.” Two thoughts: yes, exactly, the upkeep of the church comes primarily from the donations by its members, the ones who then get to benefit from the use of the church. If non-members are going to benefit from the church by celebrating a significant milestone there, when they don’t regularly contribute to supporting it, then I don’t think it’s somehow a failure of hospitality to ask them to make a one-time contribution. Also – why would a non-Christian go to a pastor and ask to use the church anyway? It’s pretty inappropriate to have an explicitly non-Christian wedding inside a church – and, again, I don’t see it as a failure of hospitality for a pastor to turn down a request like that, If they want the church just to be a pretty backdrop for photos but it’s not actually meaningful for them in any way, having to pay a fee might get them to re-examine their priorities and think about why they are trying to have a church wedding in the first place. A church shouldn’t be just nice scenery to stage a wedding. If it is, something is awry. I’m all in favor of churches being welcoming to outsiders, but I don’t think it’s pastorally responsible or appropriate to host weddings for couples who have no intention of involvement with church or faith beyond the wedding day, and who regard the church as just another venue. If they just want a venue, well, then they can pay for a venue just as they would elsewhere.

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