Post # 1
The minister that is officiating our wedding are close family friends of my future in-laws. In fact he is the pastor of the church to which my in-laws belong. And my in-laws frequently socializes and vacations with the pastor and his wife. Well we were very happy to have him officiate our wedding since he was so close to my fiance’s family and since they are good friends with my in-laws we also invited the pastor and his wife to our rehearsal dinner as well as the wedding reception. (It is very uncommon for the pastor to attend the wedding reception if he officiates the wedding).
My fiance was informed yesterday that the pastor is charging us $450 for his services. Up until this point we thought the pastor was not going to charge us since he is a family friend and since he is a guest at the wedding as well. I also thought he would waive the fee since our in-laws are in good standing at the church and regularly tithe. My fiance has informed me that his parents will not intervene and are fine with the pastor imposing a fee. (I hzave other issues with his parents that I will not go into). My fiance is so livid that he wants to retract the reception invitation extended to the pastor. We are having a very small wedding, we only had 48 people on our original invite list, and even though we are doing a brunch our cost is $150 per person (not all in excludes rentals). He does not want to put out $300 for the pastor and his wife plus the $450 fee and they are very unlikely to give a gift.
I explained to him that you can not retract the invitation but he is really adamant that if the pastor will not reduce his fee then he should not be invited as a formal guest and invite someone else to the reception. I know that you should not invite guests to the wedding with the expectation of getting a gift. And I think since the invitation has been extended we just have to honor it whether we like it or not.
Do you think my fiance is being unreasonable? Do you think the pastor is being unreasonable? Do you think we should not expect a favor since he is a family friend? Do you think his parents should intercerde?
Post # 3
I think this sucks, but this is how he makes a living I guess. But wow, $450 is unheard of around here. More like $200. I hate to say it, but costs should have been figured out before you guys extended your generosity. You’re right, you can’t just retract the invitation.
Could you have him not officiate and invite him anyways? Then you can explain that you found somebody you coudl afford. If he’s already got the invite, you can’t just say no and take it away, that’s very rude, no matter how you feel about it. I don’t think your FI understands the etiquette of that and the repercussions of doing that! Talk about some bad family bond.
Is there any way you could ask him to lower the fee? Say that you want to use him since he’s a family friend and all, but ultimately you’d have wanted to find a pastor with a more affordable cost. I’d expect a favor from a family friend, honestly. I mean, if they’re THAT close. But I have issues charging people for stuff when I’m their friend.
I do think his parents should intercede, though. They pushed this on you and it sounds like they have other issues going on judging from what you said. You might just have to eat the cost though if they’re such family friends. I think your FI’s parents should cover the officiant fee since they were so stuck on him doing yoru wedding. Otherwise, i’d be tmepted to find somebody i could afford! Ask him nicely if he’ll reduce it…pastors are supposed to be nice people, right? =]. But then again, is the fee just for him officiating, or is that a church cost built in, also? sometimes those are not negotiable
Post # 4
Welcome to my world! I really do feel your pain.
I have no advice, but I’ll tell you what we did. We moved the wedding across the country, made it a destination and got out of using their pastor as the officiant. In the end, my FI doesn’t even see the need of inviting them. Worked for us, but I don’t know if it will work in your situation.
Big hug though.
Post # 5
PS: in the end $750 is outrageous to charge/pony up for his services.
Post # 6
The $450 covers the cost of doing the service which is at the venue and not the church and since he is officiating we also have to have 3 counseling sessions with him.
My fiance is going to ask him to reduce the price to about $150 since he and his wife are guests at the wedding. I just don’t want there to be tension with his in-laws and the pastor over this and I definitely think retracting the invite would do this. It bothers me that he is charging, however, I realize this is his profession and how he makes his money. But as ejs4y8 said as a close friend of the family I would think he would waive or give a reduced price. (I know I would never charge close friends full price.)
I know my fiance’s parents will not intercede. I already have issues with them in regards to how they are contributing to the wedding after not coming through on offers of helping out with specific items. They have promised to pay for a couple of items but then said no claiming that they had ‘economic hardship’ but yet bought a Mercedes (cash), paid for cruises, and did work to their properties. I know its their money to spend as they like but I have some resentment since they promised and then retracted and my mother who makes considerablely less then them has contributed more. They have through this and other situations that they are more than happy to take offers of our generiosity (gifts,dinner,etc) but are not willing to reciporicate. Even when its their own son. But I digress.
Post # 7
Our officiant does not charge couples, but asks for a donation made to the church.
He is employed by the church, and even off-site, maybe he will be donating it back to the church and not pocketing it all?
Post # 8
That is a tricky situation, I’m so sorry! I would let him know that you misunderstood, and that if he can’t bring the price down you would be happy to have him attend as a guest.
As a future minister, I do see his side, although $450 seems pretty high to me… It sounds like the minister is *actually* friends with your FILs, but because the pastor-parishioner relationship is an unusual one, it’s not uncommon for the parishioner to see the relationship as more personal, and the pastor to see it as more professional, and so it’s not that unusual for someone to think that the pastor should be providing services for free and for the pastor to think it’s reasonable to charge a fee.
Another aspect of this: as a pastor, it’s his professional responsibility to only conduct a wedding if he’s verified to the best of his ability that the couple is prepared for marriage and understand the commitments they’re making – that’s the nature of having a religous ceremony. So he probably sees counseling as a way to ascertain that you’re spiritually and emotionally prepared for marriage – it’s part of his responsibility – but since you aren’t members of his church, counseling you is not actually part of his FT job, and so from that point of view, it’s fair that he ask for compensation for his time.
I don’t mean to say that it’s right that he’s springing this on you at the last second, though, that’s no good! I wouldn’t start throwing out reasons he should officiate for free, it’s likely to create ill-will, but I would definitely know that his fee simply isn’t in the budget, and that if he can’t bring it down you’ll try to find someone else.
Post # 9
This really is a tricky situation. I’m surprised that he’s charging that high of a fee, and isn’t offering to reduce it based on your FILs being so close to him. I agree that retracting the invitation is a no-no, but it doesn’t hurt to ask him to reduce his fee for friends. Let us know how this goes!