Post # 1
I have a question about the amount of fees other brides are paying to get married in a Catholic church. I’m Catholic, and I’ve never questioned getting married in the church … but it’s starting to be a sore point with my non-Catholic fiance because of all the fees they are charging us! Last March, when I inquired about getting married at my church, the parish secretary told me it would be a $300 fee to use the church. That’s fine! Then, I went in in June to sign the papers and secure my date, and she informed me of the other fees:
Priest stipend: $200
Coordinator Stipend: $200
Cantor Stipend: $200
Oragnanist stipend: $200
not to mention…
FOCCUS workshop – $100
Engaged Encounter – $315
NFP class: $50
So the running total so far is $1,565 …
THEN, today my fiance went in to meet with the coordinator and disucss the ceremony … and she informed us that the stipends were increased to $300 per person. That’s $400 more dollars!
Is this normal? It’s soo much money! And on top of the amount of money, it’s getting really hard to get my fiance to be all smiley and happy about this. I know he’s happy to mary me and we can’t put a price on our marriage and yadda yadda, but it seems like they could charge less and be just fine …
Not to mention I put $15 a week into the collection basket. 🙁 I’m getting kind of frustrated, if you can’t tell 🙁
Post # 3
lol! yes, some parishes charge a lot! our church fee was very high, the other fees average about the same, except our priest’s suggested stipend was higher and “optional”. (few opt out of the priest’s stipend.) if it makes you feel better, we had to pay a second church additional fees to prepare us.
ask the coordinator if you can pay the originally quoted stipends. i don’t think this counts as “negotiating” with the church, and it wouldn’t hurt to ask since you seem to be caught in their transition. money is tight for a lot of people. churches try to make up for reduced collections through the revenue from weddings.
we’re in ca too and our engaged encounter cost 250- malibu and santa barbara are up there with the best of them. who’s padding this?
is that nfp class optional? it’s covered in the ee so no one should have to pay extra for that. fishy.
Post # 4
yeah, those amounts are a little higher than what I have to pay, but your area cost of living might be higher than mine.
I think $300 for the coordinator is a little much, but it sounds reasonable for the talent and time of the organist and cantor. Although I agree with archibee that you can ask to pay what you were originally quoted.
My FOCCUS test was free, so that’s a bummer that you’re being charged for that. I can’t imagine why filling in a scantron would cost $100.
In my diocese there are a couple of options for the Engaged Encounter. You can do the overnight Engaged Encounter, which is pricey because you have to pay for lodging and meals. But we chose to do a one-day thing, so it is only $85. Maybe you could ask your priest if there are any other options.
@archibee- I have to go to an additional NFP class too. Not optional. I think it might be $45 for us.
My overall feelings on church fees is that they aren’t trying to rip you off. Running a church is like running a business. You can’t spend more than you make in a year. You should look at your church’s financial statement and yearly budgets if you are concerned about where your money is going. I’m sure it will make you feel better. It’s not like the priests are just rolling in dough.
Post # 5
My priest has not yet told us about the fee structure. He does not like to discuss $ and it worries me a bit.
Post # 6
thanks for your input! you actually made me feel a lot better. Initially I was trying to look at it as they do what they can, but my mom thinks they’re charging us more because we’re in coastal San Diego.
@jacqi ~ we actually already attended the San Diego EE and I’m really bummed because I didn’t think until after to look at Orange County, and theirs was $260. $250 would have been nice too! I guess the lesson there is more research… especially since they’re all supposed to be the same thing…
Post # 7
I was shocked when i began to deal with the Catholic Church we are getting married in. We are having a destination wedding, so this is not our normal parish. I was always under the impression that you just made donations to the church, priest, alter boys etc. Boy was i wrong! When i first called the church to talk about potential dates i was told they would not even discuss dates with us until we gave them a $500 “donation”! Once we made our “donation” we were then told if we decided to get married at that church it would be another $500 donation to set the date! We were then told we would need a letter from our parish back home stating that it was ok for us to be married at their church. When i called up our church they told us they would be happy to do that for a $250 “donation”! We then needed copies of our Baptism certificates which cost us another $25 each. Then came time to schedule pre cana classes… $200. After pre cana classes we are suppose to schedule a meeting with the priest at our church for marriage counseling and were advised that we should tip the priest for that. On top of all of this, when we received our wedding packet from the church we are to get married in they included a list of people we should tip the day of the wedding! Not to mention the church says we HAVE to use a specific organist and soloist at $250 each. We probably would have looked for another Catholic church in the area that didn’t have such strict rules, but there is only one church one the island! I was really disappointed to find out what a business the Catholic Church has become!
Post # 8
Here’s the fees we’re be paying:
Church Fee – $750
Engaged Encounter – $375 (The church sees $0 of this money EE is an independent org.)
Pre-marital Counseling – $200 (The church sees $0 of this money. This goes to a professional counselor.)
Organist – $100
Cantor – $75
Post # 9
Archibee – EEs are independently run and the cost will vary from city to city, as the cost of securing a venue/food changes.
Post # 10
Yup – my church is EXPENSIVE
Fee – $2000
Pre-Cana – $225
Candles for the church – $250
Music – $250
Total – $2,725
Post # 11
i remember reading a thread about a grumpy priests blog and basically he was saying that couples spend $20K+ on weddings and then they balk at a donation to the church for performing their wedding. alot WB’ers thought he was grumpy and out of touch with the times but maybe some churches are a tired of people coming to them to get married and never see them again so they have decided they are a professional organization that should charge accordingly
im not suggesting anyone here is bitching about your fees as your posts above have been non-whiney, just saying if you are spending $$$ on paper and favours and shoes then shouldnt the acutal ceremony and vows rate a high importance in the budget & scheme of things
Post # 12
Eloping – That makes total sense….funny though..my church is like “no this is not a donation, this is a fee”..haha…It’s fine though – It’s my parish and I would regret going elsewhere.
Post # 13
Eloping – I agree with you. The things we’re spending money on are totally worth it to me. For example the Engaged Encounter weekend and the counseling sessions – we actually got stuff out of doing that. We weren’t just throwing money into a pit.
Post # 14
@eloping … that was pretty much my thought process last night. Yes they raised the fee rates on me, but in the grand scheme of things … it’s still a fraction of the overall cost of the wedding and i’d much rather spend the money on that than an open bar. I think my frustration was more in that when I think I know what it will be, they keep adding up ~ for instance, I don’t know how much my baptism certificate will cost. Even my mom, who is a devout Catholic and supports the church in many ways, thought the fees were adding up to be quite a bit. I would hate for someone to opt for a non-Catholic wedding because they can’t afford it ..[although I’m sure if they let the church know it was an issue, they’d work with that couple…]
@lauren810c …. omgoodness that’s way more than mine! I guess I shouldn’t complain
Post # 15
@ Jojo bananas ~ I agree, Engaged Encounter was a great experience and worth an investment