(Closed) Sticky Situation with Officiant

posted 9 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

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 Fiance 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
1220 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

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 Fiance 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
1220 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

PS:  in the end $750 is outrageous to charge/pony up for his services.

Post # 7
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

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
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

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 Future In-Laws, 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
445 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2007

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 Future In-Laws 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!

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