Paying the preacher who officiates your wedding is not only customary; it shows respect for his time and commitment to making your day special. Regardless of whether or not the preacher is from your own parish, you should budget money for his service. While you may not realize it, chances are your officiant will spend several hours preparing for your wedding.
Who is Responsible
The groom's family is generally responsible for the officiant's fee or monetary gift, notes the Emily Post Institute, but like for many things today, those rules are not hard and fast. What is required, however, is that the preacher be paid.
How Much to Pay
The amount you pay the preacher depends in part on the amount of time he spends preparing for your ceremony. If you are being married in the church, you may be required to go through premarital counseling. If you receive several sessions of counseling, paying a minimum of $300 is appropriate. If there is no counseling and little preparation, a minimum donation of $100 to $150 would be acceptable.
When to Pay
Pay the preacher no later than the day of the wedding. While a preacher may not be as pushy about payment as an officiant who conducts the service as a self-employed contractor, you should assume that the preacher will anticipate payment before the ceremony takes place. If the officiant has to travel to get to the wedding, it's customary to help cover his expenses.
Who to Pay
When a preacher is conducting your ceremony, the fee or donation may go directly to the parish, or the preacher may be allowed to keep the money. Accordingly, in some cases you can pay the preacher directly, while other parishes may request that the donation be delivered to the church administration. When in doubt, call the church.
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