Post # 1
Normally I post as a bride, but I am also training to be a minister. I’m not yet ordained, but one of my supervisors just gave me the opportunity to officiate at a wedding — the couple is already legally married, and I have the blessing and supervision of my ordained supervisors, so this is legit from both the church and state sides of the equation.
The problem: I have to set my fee and I have no idea how much it should be. It almost feels wrong to accept money for something I love so much, but this is my job (or it will be) and it’s what I went to school for, and I realize that it is the fair and ethical thing to expect compensation for my work. So how much would you charge in my shoes?
The ceremony will take place in NYC
The couple is on a tight budget and the church and I want to honor that. There are some fees associated with using the church (custodian, sound system, etc.), but I get to set the “Minister/Officiant” portion.
I will do 20-40 hours of work preparing for and officiating this ceremony — planning with the couple, writing/adapting the ceremony, communicating with other vendors, etc. (BUT some of those are because this is my first one)
The couple does not live in NYC (their families do) so I will not do the majority of their premarital counseling — I need to get to know them and plan the ceremony with them, but will probably ask them to do premarital counseling at their home church
I know “vendors” aren’t supposed to post on here, but I’m not offering my services, I’m struggling as a former-bride, now-officiant, and I don’t know any community I trust more to help me figure out what to do.
Post # 3
Can you go off of what your supervisors charge? At least that would give you an idea of how much couples normally spend for your area/church.
Post # 5
When looking I’ve found alot of officiants charge according to budget or amount of people in the wedding. Doesnt make much sence tho because they do the same amount of work regardless. The guy I chose charges a flat rate of $210. The price is the same whether there is 50 people or 500 people. I have no clue if that is a reasonalble price in NYC, where I live its a bit below average.
Post # 6
Our pastor did not charge. He did say he would accept a donation. DH gave him $100.
Post # 7
Most officiants we looked at charged $300-500. That’s why we had my mom officiate 😉
Post # 8
Thanks, folks! I’m waiting to hear back from a supervisor to see what he charges.
@2ndtime: That’s pretty standard — both churches I’ve worked at have no officiant fee for active church members, only for non-members, and a much lower fee for using the venue. Part of a pastor’s job is to do weddings, baptisms, and funerals for the congregation… the pastor is charged with caring for that community, and doing those services is part of that responsibility. And, from a brass-tacks point of view, members are generally already contributing financially to the upkeep of the building, pastor’s salary, etc. The couple in question has no relationship with the church where I work, but they go to a church of the same denomination in their hometown.
Post # 9
@worcesterbride: I should clarify. The gentleman that married us was not the pastor at the church we are active members of. (long story) He is the pastor at a church we have never attended but I referred to him as our pastor, meaning the person that performed our wedding ceremony. Even though neither of us are members of his church he still did not charge us. He accepted our donation.
Post # 10
20-40 hours of work? i feel like i’m underpaying my officiant. he’s charging us $200. he’s a minister and former professional baseball player.
Post # 11
@malisa0607: He might have fewer hours than that depending on a few factors, like how much you’re personalizing your ceremony, whether you’re doing any premarital counseling with him, whether he’s giving a homily, whether he’s coordinating with any other vendors (musicians, wedding planners) etc. $200 is on the low end, at least in New York, but then again we’re not in it for the money.
Post # 11
malisa0607 : 40 hours seems a bit high, but if the pastor is doing pre-marital counseling with the couple (a requirement when I marry people), preparing remarks, participating in the rehearsal, ceremony, and reception, it could very easily be 20 hours…