Post # 16
Wow, that is expensive! We are getting married at my family’s parish, and the fee is $570, plus a suggested priest donation of $100 as well as altar server tip of $10-20.
Post # 17
I have never heard of giving an additional donation to the church if you are paying a fee already. In some parishes, if you are a parishioner there is no set fee and a donation is appropriate, but that does not sound like your case. Our parish fee was $200, music was $200 (for organist), altar servers were $10 apiece (the altar servers got this money directly) and we gave the priest a donation of $300 (there was no donation suggested by our parish). All in all, we came in for less than $1,000, we payed a bit more for some of the parish’s optional decor, don’t remember how much. If you are getting married in an ornate historical church, I would not shell out a lot for decor. It really isn’t necessary, some parishes are strict about what you can and can’t have, and as you said many parishes also want you to leave the main arrangements as a donation to the church. You by no means have to have them. Other than a donation to your officiant personally, I would only pay what is absolutely required by the church for the space and musicians and not worry about decor or another donation.
Post # 18
I have never heard of donating 10 percent of your total budget on top of the original cost. Is that something the specific church told you to do? If not I wouldn’t worry about it.