There are no hard-and-fast rules for what to charge. Some highly experienced officiants charge upwards of $500 per ceremony. Others are happy to perform ceremonies for much less than that. Whatever you decide, be sure to speak with the couple and agree on a fee upfront so you can focus on the important task: officiating the wedding!

A wedding officiant performing the ceremony

So, you've been asked to perform a wedding ceremony. Congrats! First things first you go online and sign up to get ordained. With minister license in hand, you're just itching to get up to the altar on the big day. But then you realize there is one important detail you've yet to consider: how much should you charge for an officiant fee?

This is a question we get from our ministers all the time.

Sure, officiating a ceremony is a tremendous honor and it can be a ton of fun, but it's also hard work. Given all the preparation and practice involved, you should absolutely be compensated for your time. So, how much is reasonable?

The short answer: it depends. Our friends over at Thumbtack were able to offer some insight into the factors that shape wedding officiant fees. Let's examine a few:

1. Location

The first thing to consider is where the wedding will take place. If it's in a mid-sized city like Seattle or St. Louis, your price will probably hover around the average for the U.S.

If it's in a big metro area like New York City or Los Angeles, the market price will be a bit higher. Conversely, if the wedding is in a small town or a more rural area, you'll probably charge a bit less.

Average cost of a wedding officiant by city

The adjoining graph shows the average officiant fee for a number of different cities.

Note: In the case of destination weddings, the couple will generally cover the officiant's travel costs. But since traveling is always a hassle, this type of ceremony might also call for a higher officiant fee. Of course, make sure to work these details out ahead of time.

2. Type of Ceremony

Another aspect of pricing is what type of ceremony the couple wants. Will it be long and complicated, or short and sweet? Will it follow a standard format, or will you have to do some extra planning to prepare for a unique twist? Since your time is valuable, these are important details to understand.

3. Services Included

While you're asking about ceremony preference, make sure to nail down precisely what your duties will be. Does the couple expect you to assist in other aspects of the wedding, or will your job simply be to show up and officiate on the big day? Will you be crafting the ceremony script for them? Providing premarital counseling?

Additional services such as these often justify a higher fee.

4. Relationship to the Couple

Finally, how well you know the couple will also factor in. Are you a good friend or family member? Were you already planning to attend the wedding? If so, a thank-you card and a nice bottle of wine might be considered sufficient compensation.

However, if you don't know the couple - or they hired you specifically as an officiant - then you should treat it as a business relationship and charge market rate for your services.

Finding a Fair Price

Ultimately, you'll need to take all of the above into account when determining the right fee. As a general rule, the more duties you take on or hoops you have to jump through, the higher your fee should be.

Have a question? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Mark Allan Groleau's Avatar Mark Allan Groleau

    Great article! "Officiating a ceremony is a tremendous honor and it can be a ton of fun, but it’s also hard work. Given all the preparation and practice involved, you should absolutely be compensated for your time." I absolutely agree with this.

    Fellow ULC minister, do you struggle with feeling guilty about asking for a fee?

    I did. Until I didn't.

    When I started officiating as a minister in Toronto, I started at about $250.

    But in the last few years, I started officiating as a professional, serving couples who have no clergy or minister whatsoever in their lives. I asked these couples when I'd meet them for a consult, "What are you looking for in your ceremony?" Their answer? "Please, just not a boring ceremony!"

    I started my own full-time officiating practice, and I call it Unboring!Wedding. And I'm booked full-time.

    How do I make it unboring? ONE component. Sure, I mean, I'm charismatic, and fun, and I use good voice inflection at the front, but really, there's ONE thing I do that makes it unboring and brings in more couples than I can book.

    The one thing? I tell their love story in the ceremony.

    Millennial couples are bonkers for this. You can add any other rituals, prayers, readings, etc. So it doesn't negatively affect the gravity of the ceremony. But when their story is ALSO a part of the ceremony? Everyone in the room is enthralled.

    Fellow ULC officiants, I encourage you to to 2 things: 1) tell your couples' stories, and 2) charge accordingly. My fee in Toronto is $797 and I'm starting to book out the entire year 6 months in advance.

    Do you want to by busy? Do you want to get well-compensated because of the perceived VALUE of your officiating service? Do you want your ceremonies to be thrilling to everyone there?

    Tell their story. It's literally changed my life.

    1. Cynthia Lou Henderson's Avatar Cynthia Lou Henderson

      Hi Mark, I like this idea! I'm just getting started with this new journey, can you provide some examples of questions or info you collected from the couple's and how or where you incorporated it into the ceremony. Thank you in advance for your response

    2. Michelle Swetra's Avatar Michelle Swetra

      I must be a natural, the first wedding I did I told the story of how the bride and groom got together and even joked about them being nerds who met on the internet. Of course the jokes were with the permission of the bride and groom. Everyone loved the ceremony.

    3. Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D's Avatar Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D

      Yessssss! I so agree Mark! When you tie in the couple it’s creates a lasting memory and is that wow factor that everyone is looking for!

      Being real, relateable and having yourself prepared is key to being professional and guarantes you will be as busy as you want to be!

    4. Nicole Wojtyska's Avatar Nicole Wojtyska

      Hello There, I would love to do counseling as well? Not so much counsel but to make sure they're in it for the right reasons. (If that makes sense) but who am I to do that? I guess I just want to see what kind of vibe I get from the couple. How things flow with their big day? I just started and I feel like I've been getting a lot of scammers . How did any deal with the scammers ? I can genuinely tell who's for real and who's not. But lately it's getting harder.

      1. Sharrell Ronald Taylor's Avatar Sharrell Ronald Taylor

        In what way are they scamming?

      2. ULC Admin's Avatar ULC Admin

        Hi there! While the internet is a wonderful tool for doing good in the world, unfortunately there are some folks who will use it for bad ends. We urge using caution whenever interacting with people you don't know online. Please be aware of the potential for fraud and scams when you are contacted about your services as a minister. Some red flags to watch out for:

        • Vague or conflicting information about the person and their ceremony

        • Insistence on a particular payment method (e.g. cashier's check)

        • You receive a check and it is for greater than the agreed-upon amount (This is a BIG one. Do not cash a check of this nature.)

        If you notice any of these signs, be aware that you might be the target of fraud.

    5. Laura's Avatar Laura

      Thank you for your suggestion. I love it and it makes so much sense and lends a personal aspect of showing the Divinity within. Thanks for sharing!

    6. Theda Bara's Avatar Theda Bara

      You, sir, are a very smart man as well as one who knows how to serve his community. Kudos!

    7. Alicia C's Avatar Alicia C

      Wow! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this with us. Great info! Bless you! - Hippieyaya

    8. Carol's Avatar Carol

      I will try this. Thanks for sharing.

    9. Belladonna's Avatar Belladonna

      Good advice! I also tell their story. The ceremony is about them. I did one in Reno for a friend who didn’t want the traditional wedding. For fun, I asked a few of the grooms old Navy buddies to give me a call and response. When I said “can I get a whiteness or do I hear an Amen” they didn’t fail me. The rest of the attendees caught on and it was a hoot. This balanced the serous. And the Divine always shows up. It’s an honor to officiate. Blessings and enjoy.

    10. Corrina A. Ocasio's Avatar Corrina A. Ocasio

      Do you tell the couple's story in the beginning of the ceremony or before the viws

  1. Heidi Merrigan's Avatar Heidi Merrigan

    I was first ordained through ULC in 2000 for a friend's wedding. I didn't use it again until two years ago. I did wedding planning for years. My husband is an internationally award winning wedding photographer. I've been acting, doing voice overs and professional speaking for 40 years. I'm a published writer and the person everyone comes to for advice.

    My first 6 months, I charged very little. Around $100 and I did so much for my couples. They were pretty shocked at what they got for $100! It was wonderful for me because I got so many 5 star reviews.

    My mentor is one of the top wedding officiants in California, she's in the $700 and up range. She had been doing Wedgewood venues(they're an all inclusive venue) and they only pay $250 but they fill up your schedule! She introduced me and I'm now doing three locations and I have 30 weddings with them so far this year. I had to raise my prices though! Wedgewood was sending couples to my website and they wanted my cheaper prices. I raised my wedding packages to start at $375. I have 60 weddings booked this year, so far. Most people are booking me 6-12 months ahead of time.

    I absolutely love what I do!!! I am also worth what I charge! People treat you better when you respect your time and asked to be paid for your time. I personalize every ceremony, I'm a text or email away for any and all advice for weddings. I've been married to the love of my life for almost 18 years, I weave advice from our marriage into the ceremony. I specialize in unique weddings, filled with fun and different types of unity ceremonies. I love interfaith or combined traditions for weddings.

    I don't have a DD after my name but at 55, I realize that this is my calling, my passion. This is what I can do better than anything else. I have mentors, I belong to professional organizations, I go to training seminars and I learn as much as I can to make each ceremony absolutely awesome for my couples! I'm proud of how hard I work and what I do for my couples. This is not a part time thing I do for friends, this is someone's wedding ceremony and it should be amazing!


    1. Brother Michael Goldman's Avatar Brother Michael Goldman

      When booking in advance I ask for a non-refundable deposit. This is usually a nominal fee $50. Even though I am a retiree, I value my time and take pride in my ability to make the couple happy. When I have an initial meeting, I am often meeting at a restaurant, and never have been ask to share the tab. Having myself been married for 43 years, I feel qualified to answer questions the couple may have. I also decline to go to the reception.

      1. Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D's Avatar Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D

        Yes Brother Preach!

    2. Jocelyn Ross's Avatar Jocelyn Ross

      So wonderfully written. You should drop the mic!

  1. Dave's Avatar Dave

    Interesting perspectives. I have been ordained for just under 12 years. I am also an atheist. That gives me a different view of things. I will perform the ceremony just for expenses. And if it's a friend of my children or their friends, I don't even charge that. They are just starting out in life. I'm not rich, but this has made me rich in memories and additional friends. I haven't done that many (less than 20) but have enjoyed each and every one. Some need help with vows. None have wanted traditional vows. Some were in chapels, most were outdoors. Some were casual (Jeans and western shirts. I still wore a suit.) Some very dressy. (I have a tux.) All were filled with love. (OK, except one.) A couple have asked for premarital counseling. When I said I didn't have any credentials, they responded with, "We've seen you while we were growing up, and you've been married 40 years. You must know something." So we talked, both my wife and I, to them. They send us a thank you on their anniversary every year. You can't charge for that. :-) I love performing. I can see that for some it is a job, and I don't begrudge them that. I hope you don't begrudge my doing it for love.

    1. Shamal Averry Craion's Avatar Shamal Averry Craion

      I feel like this definitely relates to me as well as well someone who just got ordained. I’m an atheist as well but I believe just helping others come together. It’s definitely something I stand by so hearing that another atheist is ordained as well is very encouraging and refreshing to hear. Thank you

  1. Mark's Avatar Mark

    I've done simple ceremonies and let the couple decide - I'm usually very pleased.

    then, there is the other kind.....

    • Meeting with the couple prior to the ceremony.
    • Rehearsal for ceremony.
    • Expectation to be at the rehearsal dinner.
    • Assist in writing vows for the " nervous groom"
    • Expectation to be at the reception.
    • Pictures.. pictures... pictures... before, during and after the ceremony.

    As they say "Priceless" !

    1. Jeanie's Avatar Jeanie

      Officiants should gracefully and kindly opt out of the reception. Unless your a friend or family member. It’s awkward. People don’t know you. It’s time consuming and unnecessary.

      1. Theda Bara's Avatar Theda Bara

        My wedding offciant stayed for the reception.She was not family or someone I knew as a friend. She was a delightful woman and mixed in well with my family. Made great conversation. She deserved to stay for dinner!

        1. Jocelyn Ross's Avatar Jocelyn Ross

          When the chemistry is there, it just is. Attending the reception works well for many. The art of conversation and mingling Can be so nice.

          1. Candice lloyd's Avatar Candice lloyd

            Yes and it puts the word of mouth out there for more officiating.

      2. The Rev. J. Patrick McDunn's Avatar The Rev. J. Patrick McDunn

        I agree. If they want to to say Grace and then leave, I will, but it is incredibly akward to sit through dinner.

        1. Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D's Avatar Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D

          Right... sometimes it’s awkward especially when the booze starts flowin!

    2. Messenger of the way's Avatar Messenger of the way

      Nothing they'll bless you whats on heir heart's.

      1. Jeanie's Avatar Jeanie

        Please. Being an Officiant is a job. An honor and a pleasure. But unless it’s friend or family member, it’s a job we deserve to get a fair wage for. I spend time writing a ceremony, traveling, and assisting with their vows. That’s my job. Priests and Rabbi’s and others charge, Officiants charge less and do an excellent job.

        1. teddavid's Avatar teddavid

          You seem to forget that you are a mail order minister. You have no real credentials. None of us do. I did this so I could legally officiate at a gay couple’s wedding, not so I could earn a living. Let’s not get delusions of grandeur over who or what we are. Unless you have a DD after your name, this is hardly a legit way to “get a fair wage.”

          1. Jack Haynes, DD's Avatar Jack Haynes, DD

            I DO have a “legit” DD after my name, but disagree that you aren’t legit. If you provide a legitimate service to the bride and groom with honor and dignity, then I consider you a colleague.

          2. Kevin J Morgan's Avatar Kevin J Morgan

            Actually you can get a D.D here for $19.99. Go to the top of the page and look under "Church Supplies." Problem Solved!

          3. Richard Hudson's Avatar Richard Hudson

            Who are you to say or judge who and what we are? Some people take this very seriously and do have religious aspirations, and there's nothing wrong with that. Jesus didn't have DD after his name. And yes marrying people can be a business regardless of what aspirations people have. But thank you for being so judgmental as to who and what I am.

          4. Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D's Avatar Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D

            Well I beg to differ with you TEDDAVID!

            I pray that you will stand down against your Bothers and Sisters who in faith.. decided that this for whatever reason is the opportunity to become a “yes” to a calling for a day or a lifetime!

            Ministry is what you put into it.. officiant for a wedding is no different..

            To earn a living wage you must provide quality services for your customers to include maybe taking a initial call to see what the couple may need ( the more time the more you charge)

            and if it’s only officiating at the I highly recommend requesting a donation in minimum amount being $75.00 depending on the state.

            The point is just like we do not judge the couples we marry.. we shouldn’t be judging one another.

            We have no idea what it is like to walk in a fellow ministers shoes.. we have our ordination in common!

            That’s a reason to celebrate!

            And yes I have a D.D. After my name!

          5. Theda Bara's Avatar Theda Bara

            And somehow the mail order part diminishes the service one will perform as officiant? I've worked for priests who have YEARS of religious training and I wouldn't let them officiate a ceremony to consecrate my toilet!! Some were downright NASTY people! I find that some people who are caring, helpful and have a desire to make others happy are more "credentialed" than folks who have studied religion and philosophy for years. I remind you that it's in the practice that makes one who they are, not the "theory". You don't need years of study to be able to do that. Plus, life teaches us soooo much that many officiants have a wealth of knowledge, information and human service already without having to wear religious vestments. You are being judgmental and elitist.

          6. Rev. Ken Shostad's Avatar Rev. Ken Shostad

            Zimmerman studied the downfall of civilizations and one thing they ALL had in common are the following 5 conditions: 1) Alternative forms of marriage [men to men, women to women, etc] 2)Feminist movement flourishes, women lose their inclination for childbirth and childbearing. reduction in the birthrate. 3) Increasing desire and celebration for adultery 4) Growing disrespect for authority, both parents and others. 5) Greater tolerance for sexual perversion; trans, LGBT, gay and lesbian, etc...

            Does any of this look or sound familiar?

            GOD Bless America, her True POTUS, her Peoples, and Lands... AMEN...

      2. Greg's Avatar Greg

        I have not charged either for officiating weddings, however, with the weddings I officiated out of state, the couple did pick up my expenses.

  1. Heidi Merrigan's Avatar Heidi Merrigan

    After being involved in over 500 weddings, I have seen the most amazing ceremonies done by average people ordained online. I have also seen so many weddings done by grouchy mean clergy that sounded like they had done the same boring service forever with "insert name here".

    I marry gay couples, interfaith couples, I marry couples that the churches turn away because the couples work on Sunday's and aren't considered devout enough to use the church. I do religious ceremonies for Catholics that don't have the time or money to jump through all the hoops of the local priest. I marry the couples that want to be married in a gorgeous outdoor location but their minister will only marry them in the church. I've done 75 weddings in the last year and I've stayed in touch with my couples! I'm now Auntie Heidi and a part of their family. I continue to offer advice when they ask for it.

    You don't need to be part of the clergy to be a good person and to help a couple with their needs.

    I'm not greedy, I still charge less than most couples pay for the cheese platter at their wedding.

    1. Dave's Avatar Dave

      I would love an Aunt Heidi (although I suspect it would have to Cousin Heidi, since I'm old. Maybe Niece Heidi.) My comment came in just below yours.

  1. William Clapie's Avatar William Clapie

    love the idea. "Finding a fair price". To whom?

    1. Chester's Avatar Chester

      That's the hard part. Finding that balance so it's fair to both sides. Maybe not a great deal for either, but fair to both.

      1. Joannie's Avatar Joannie

        I am part of the ULC community as well as holding the position of a "Standing Marriage Commissioner". in my home State for which I do not get paid by the State and all fees, notary, etc, are up to me. I have officiated thousands of ceremonies. I perform ceremonies at my home...either indoors or outdoors in a lovely setting. I prepare the application paperwork for their certified copy from the State and even put the postage on the envelope so the details are handled properly. I provide them with a packet that includes copies of all the documents sent to the State, in case they need to follow up and a copy of the vows they have repeated, suitable for framing. Most of the couples are military or do not have a regular Church they attend. The most I have "charged" to officiate a ceremony has been $250. because I traveled 100 miles total. My usual fee is 100.00. this is what I feel is affordable. Not what I feel my time and effort is worth, by any means, but, what the couples can afford. Those that can, usually include more, but, I'm comfortable knowing what I've brought to the couple. I've been an "officiant" for our State for 24 years and have met some very outstanding people along the way. I don't consider this a "job" but more, a service and it's true, some things, you just can't put a price on. Each person has to decide not "their" value, but what they can offer to others, affordably.

    2. ECfromDC's Avatar ECfromDC

      I'm tying to figure out what's "fair" for my area .... the D.C. area.

  1. Angela Rose's Avatar Angela Rose

    These are all good pieces of advice. I had no idea weddings could be so much for the preacher or officiant as I prefer to be called. I did my son's wedding for free but would love to do another wedding. That's the part of being an officiant I love, helping others have a beautiful experience, even if I'm working through my own issues of being a divorced for many years person. But I love working with others to make their day perfect. It is a joy to see their happiness since there is so little of it in the world, so I look for it in whatever I can.

    1. Jocelyn Ross's Avatar Jocelyn Ross

      I feel the same. It is so much fun. I read a nice little article and it reminded me that there is such a thing as a professional Wedding Officiant. I think the Officiant should decide.

  1. Malcom Lyons's Avatar Malcom Lyons

    I didn't do this to make money. I think it fair if you have expenses that the couple pay. I think it also fair if you wish to donate your time and pay all expenses. I feel comfortable suggesting the couple give money to their charity if they feel compelled to pay. I think everyone should do what they feel comfortable with . I'm glad there are no rules and I can do what I feel comfortable with.

  1. Gail Fugle's Avatar Gail Fugle

    I believe that if someone is in the ministry business to make money, their focus is in the wrong place. They will come across as greedy and self centered. Ministers who are focused on God and truly care about the honor of uniting a couple in marriage will accept any token of appreciation for their services.

  1. Father Fred's Avatar Father Fred

    I'm probably the rogue in this discussion. I ask only to be compensated for my hard expenses, a meal, and then a stipend based on how long they expect to be together. As I told one couple, if you're going to break up next year, then give me a dollar. If your marriage is a lifetime then compensate me more. I also tell couples if they don't have the cash, a gift card, bartered merchandise, or even invite me over for meals on a regular basis is fine. I have one couple that takes me to Olive Garden each Easter, and I'm invited to their Thanksgiving. Of course, I didn't get into this biz to get rich. I have another job. However, I also provide wise council as needed to those who I wed for a lifetime. About 20% take me up on that. Subjects can get wild at times.

    1. Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D's Avatar Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D

      Fantastic idea!

    2. Rich's Avatar Rich

      That sounds like a good idea!

  1. S. R.'s Avatar S. R.

    I was asked around midnight to do my first ever wedding and the service was the next afternoon. Short notice! When I was picked up I got there and was asked if I could marry off a second couple. Of course I said yes. I used the wedding script generator from here, read off my phone, everyone knew I was new,, nervous and was not even remotely prepared so we were all flubbing our lines and laughing. The original couple, I work with the new wife at our job and basically didn't even think of money. We were all in shorts, had a small cake and soda. Front yard of her home by the trampoline. See, they went to the courthouse and was told weddings aren't done there any longer since same sex marriage was legalized here in Indiana. (turned my stomach What a sly way to promote hate) so she and her bf had to find a minister. I'm glad she asked me. She was so frantic to find someone. The 2nd couple I didn't know but he gave me a 20.

    We are all from a small poor town and to me, love and binding in this case is more important than money. My coworkers grandma offered to run home and get me some money but I lovingly declined. A last minute wedding in a small poor town doesn't make room for added expense. The gratitude and smiles were payment enough in this case. Xxoo

    1. Mark A Buhrke's Avatar Mark A Buhrke

      S.R. This is GREAT! I love your story and how you brought joy to so many people that day.

      I was in a relationship for 13 years, before same sex marriage was legal. My partner got ordained to marry some friends and then performed several weddings for other friends. He always made them entertaining. I got ordained a couple of years ago after being asked by a cousin to marry their daughter. I had to travel so we agreed they would pay for my hotel room. Now I've been asked to perform a wedding for a friend who's in her early 70's and getting married to her high school sweetheart now that he's a widow. I am grateful for all of the comments and ideas here as I'm reminded to make the ceremony all about them, unique, memorable and special. After reading the comments here, and it's in a northern suburb of Chicago and I'm now in Atlanta, I'm going to charge them $250, which seems fair.

      Thanks again to everyone who commented here. The more I read through the blog posts and comments, the more grounded I get with having been ordained here at ULC.

  1. Rt Rev Dr N's Avatar Rt Rev Dr N

    The right price should be as little as possible if you are doing the work of The Lord. He doesn't charge anything. We, should have enough to cover travel expenses.

    1. Jeanie's Avatar Jeanie

      Religious institutions charge more than secular Officiants. Free is unacceptable.

      1. Jocelyn Ross's Avatar Jocelyn Ross

        I have seen this very often. The usual in my area is $600 to the church. It is called a donation. The bottom line is that funds change hands.

      2. Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D's Avatar Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D

        Yes free is a detriment to what we do. It invites often negative additudes ( some I have read above) ...

        This is a service and an important one to everyone involved!

        1. Rich's Avatar Rich

          I concur with you Davia! My last wedding I did not charge cash for as the couple / family were family....... IF they had not been family, then YES money would have changed hands! It IS a value thing.

    2. Amjit's Avatar Amjit

      The Lord doesn't charge?! He takes 10% of my income, don't know about you. The Lord is expensive

      1. Rt Rev Dr N's Avatar Rt Rev Dr N

        Um, not sure I understand, I mean, do you pay in to a bank of Heaven or something? Amjit?

        1. Amjit's Avatar Amjit

          I mean God requires tithing

          1. Ev0Lv3D1's Avatar Ev0Lv3D1

            Since when doe GOD require tithing? Your church, or possibly your religion may. But certainly GOD does not.

    3. Laura Compton's Avatar Laura Compton

      Don’t muzzle the ox while it’s treading the mill. If this is one’s life work and he/she still needs to put food on the table, then the right price should be fair to the minister and his/her family.

      1. Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D's Avatar Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D

        I like to say if someone is uncomfortable with charging a “fee” it is important to inform the couple to let them know it’s customary for the couple or the family of the couple to give the Minister a “Donation “ minimum of $_____ and who the can make the payment to if writing a check.

        I find it way less stressful!

  1. John Smithkey lll's Avatar John Smithkey lll

    I agree with Rt. Rev. Dr.N. We are doing the work of the Lord! I simply charge a "Free Will Offering". This is whatever the couple choose to pay! Have a blessed day. John Smithkey III RN BSN

  1. Martha Knight's Avatar Martha Knight

    The statement that ministers charge for officiating marriages is not accurate as an across-the-board statement. Some do, some do not. Some deominations forbid charging! Free Methodist pastors are not permitted to charge for marriage ceremonies, nor to marry couples who have not completed at a comprehensive marriage preparation course (often ten weeks of sessions) AND being considered to have a sound basis for an enduring marriage. Also, the use of the church building for marriage has similar provisos.

    1. Kevin J Morgan's Avatar Kevin J Morgan

      I knew an Episcopal priest who told me that he didn't charge for weddings or funerals. "You don't pay for the prayers of the church," he said.

  1. Karen Ann Cavender's Avatar Karen Ann Cavender

    I live in Wichita Falls, Texas, but 165.00 seems a little low to me to charge for officiating at a wedding. Am I being too greedy?

    1. john hilley's Avatar john hilley

      John of Wichita Falls, Karen....I`m surprised that anyone left a comment from our little city. If you ever need to talk to somebody.....I live here. Will meet you at Lowe's---Sutherlands---where ever.
      Jesus is Lord----------------------------------------John

    2. Jerry's Avatar Jerry

      In my area (Louisville, KY) the going rate is about $125 - $275, with most at the lower end. (125 - 150) Some markets are as high as $500 - $1000. You need to find out the going rate where you are. Most here also charge extra for rehearsal, extra for travel beyond a set radius, extra for premarital counseling, if desired. Don't price yourself out of the market, but don't go so low as to be unhappy with what you're getting for your services.

  1. Danny carroll's Avatar Danny carroll

    Consider the event and your costs against what you should charge .

  1. quantumburp's Avatar quantumburp

    I married my wonderful "adopted" daughter and her fine man in Kiev, Ukraine. Airfare, hotel, translator (even though I did the ceremony in Russian). Would I have charged them for any of it! Heck no! Especially since I gave them the money to pay for it...:)) That, of course, is a special case.

    Since I'm only a part-timer at this, and have enough money to buy the holy water, as a practice, I don't charge. If they want to pay, I ask them for an equivalent donation to their favorite charity. The charity needs it more than I do.

    1. Mark's Avatar Mark

      Well done!

  1. Dan Bodamer's Avatar Dan Bodamer

    Thumbtack is dishonorable. “Cheap Officiants” is what our local ad said. Thumbtack also misleads by saying “0 response” In reference to how many Officiants have bid, but once you bid you see three to four others were already entered. I also find Thumbtack couples do not value our time in the slightest and Thumbtacks bid fee to high to justify poor response. Wedding Wire, Mywedding & The Knot are top quality lead generators.

    Daniel Bodamer Amazing Day Weddings

    1. Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D's Avatar Rev. Dr. Davia Coutcher D.D

      Thanks for the information.. I believe that when we openly share and communicate what’s working and not - it benefits our community ! We can bless each other and our work when we lend each other a hand up in our advice, support, kind words, sites to avoid or to flock to... it’s amazing how we can all be blessed!

    2. Jocelyn Ross's Avatar Jocelyn Ross

      I so totally agree with you about The fees are sky high. $16.70 when the couple asks any type of question. If the couple asks all 10 or 17 Officiants if they are free on their wedding date, thumbtack gets 10-17 separate $16.70. I wish we could request that the couple be more careful on this point.

      1. Carol's Avatar Carol

        Put up your own web site through Google it's easier and inexpensive. Or Vista print. Good luck!

  1. David's Avatar David

    I normally don’t charge members of our church. However, don’t refuse whatever they offer either. For the general public in my area (rural southern Louisiana) I charge $75-$100 depending on how many rehearsals etc. This covers my travel back and forth to each rehearsal, travel day of wedding, travel to court house for filing of license and mailing of certified copies to clients. I don’t do it as a business, but do make sure my expenses are covered.

  1. Joe Bill Schirtzinger's Avatar Joe Bill Schirtzinger

    I don't charge to marry people. I will, however, accept donations for the service.

  1. Joe's Avatar Joe

    Thumbtack is not the best resource for typical pricing. My experience is that Thumbtack inquiries usually come from folks looking for the lowest available price. The more experienced and professional officiants near me (Cleveland/Northeast Ohio) don't use Thumbtack and earn better fees.

    The numbers an graph above also don't distinguish between an elopement and full-blown ceremonies.

  1. Carol's Avatar Carol

    My price in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts is $175.00 it's my service and the Writing of their Vows. Add on Rehearsal time and a Certified of Marriage Keepsake I feel it's a fair price. Not to mention my time answering questions and concerns. If the Venue is over one hour travel I have to charge for travel at a reasonable rate. I thank the Lord every day that I am able to service couples in marriage. It balances my life so I can give back.

  1. Carol's Avatar Carol

    I have used Thumbtack and I am not a fan. It costs more to have a couple respond to you than you can service. Not worth it. I stay away from it. Wedding Wire is my favorite!

  1. Martha Knight's Avatar Martha Knight

    Someone posted that you need DD after your name. Nope. (Reminds me of the D.D. who never put the degree on his letterhead. His name was Fiddle. . .) These days the degree is D. Min.

    1. Kevin J Morgan's Avatar Kevin J Morgan

      Today DD is usually an honorary degree.

  1. Dave's Avatar Dave

    Hmm. I will have to think about that tomorrow.

  1. Joanne McCaughan's Avatar Joanne McCaughan

    Well, I have only done a couple of ceremonies locally. In each case I asked that the couple make a donation to a mutually agreeable local charity. The amount of the donation is up to them, according to what they can afford. I consider the time I put into the preparations and the event to be an in-kind donation as well.

  1. Carol's Avatar Carol

    I only charge what I need too. I also check with the state to make sure it is legit to Officiate a marriage in their state. I also send along with the Marriage license to be filed a copy of my Officiate Certificate so that there is no questions. It is acceptable and you know you are working with the Lord. I have asked for donations to their favorite Charity as well. Also, purchase spirituals to help the church. So, how you handle it is up to yourself. To be greedy is not the answer. To Officiate because you enjoy bringing couples together is on the right road. Only charge what you need $50 is usually a good start.

  1. Priestess Christina Maher.'s Avatar Priestess Christina Maher.

    I don’t charge unless I have to drive over 10 miles then it’s only to replace the gas I’ve used. I do ask if the couple make a donation to one of the charities I support, like a batterd women’s shelter of the food Bank. Which I think is a win, win.

  1. Reverend Wayne E Butler's Avatar Reverend Wayne E Butler

    For me, this quote suffices: "A man (woman) is worthy of his (or her) hire." I do believe pastors, ministers, priests, etc. are paid, either via room and board with a stipend or salary plus R&B.

  1. Carol's Avatar Carol

    That's awesome love the idea!

  1. Frank Villari's Avatar Frank Villari

    My usual fee begins at $100. I figure that, being retired, my time is worth about $20 an hour. With this base fee I include five hours of my time, planning, rehearsals, counseling, the ceremony and such. I have been lucky in that I'm usually invited to the rehearsal dinner and reception, which can bring an opportunity for more business.

  1. Carol's Avatar Carol

    You should charge $150 your under charging your self. You could donate some of it but go up on your price.

  1. Connie Riopelle's Avatar Connie Riopelle

    i'm going on my 3rd... i do not charge, and only do people who asked me that are my friends. it's a preference.

  1. Ren's Avatar Ren

    I'm from Mesa, Arizona, is there anyone here that can tell me what a good price out here is? O was thinking between $250 and $300.


    I charge $25.00 and will marry couples where they want or at my home with my huge yard and mountains. I am listed with my County Court house in the Clerks office.

  1. Jeffery Anderson-Burgos's Avatar Jeffery Anderson-Burgos

    I’ve been charging $125 for a standard service with a little writing and generally local in my area. I run races to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and have been using my offfiant services as one method of generating donations. It’s nice to see I’m not close to overcharging people.

    1. ECfromDC's Avatar ECfromDC

      I was thinking about 200 or 250 .... it seems it can run anywhere from 100 to 1000 depending on where you are.

  1. Heather White's Avatar Heather White

    In our part of the country a good will offering would solicit a $10 or $20. I was taken advantage in a large way by photography clients. I plan on re-investing what I charge into making affordable weddings for those who cannot spend a fortune. I have had two daughters get married and am on my third. We had an inexpensive wedding each time and was still in debt. By charging, I plan on giving back.

    1. S. R.'s Avatar S. R.

      You sound like me. I don't even know you but my respect and love for you as a fellow good hearted human is super strong. I just replied below you. Very similar ideals.

  1. Rich's Avatar Rich

    The last ones that I did, they offered to pay and I declined and told them that it was my gift to them.... I DO understand those who charge a set fee as it is their lively hood.... I think you did the right thing Sarah....

  1. Sarah Katherine Wimmer's Avatar Sarah Katherine Wimmer

    Just to clarify, compensation for officiant services are not "required" by any state laws, a fee is simply that, compensation for services rendered? Am I correct? I don't charge for weddings. I feel that people spend so much on making their day special, I want to gift that service to them. However I do ask that the couple pick a charity or a Non-Profit of their choice to make a donation to. An organization they are passionate about and care about the cause. I ask that they donate either a financial gift or a gift of their time to volunteer for a cause they care about after they are married. it's an act of giving it forward, and starting their married life together by giving to others. It has been a great joy to learn about their passions. No matter if they are friend and family or a random couple I've never met before. to hear their "Why" behind their choice of non-profit, and their personal connection to that cause, it is a great reminder of the good in peoples hearts.
    SW in AZ

  1. John William Edward Mumford's Avatar John William Edward Mumford


  1. Nancy Lazzarino's Avatar Nancy Lazzarino

    Hi everyone. I am new here and am learning a lot. Thanks for all of your comments on here. I have put many feelings into the “charging part” of the ceremony. I have always thought $250.00 and if family or friends are my clients, then it’s less. After reading these posts, I might have to re-think cost. I do agree that the traveling cost (gas, hotels, etc,), should be covered by Brides family (or Groom & Bride themselves). After that, not sure where I stand on my price now. Help??

  1. R Eric Ciolina's Avatar R Eric Ciolina

    When looking at what would be a fair price for my area I’ve decided to research it and after listing a cost I’m going to add “prices are negotiable and I’m willing to discuss other options if necessary”. I believe it would open up the conversation if the couple could only afford so much. Weddings can get very expensive and I would feel much better knowing I’m helping instead of getting greedy with prices. But that’s just me, I thought I would put out there a different way to look at it.

  1. shash's Avatar shash

    I have a couple who were married by a minister . they have finalized thier divorce in accordance with the law . However , They have asked that I put together and perform A divorce ceremony . in oder to balance out family and church . They asked thier reverand , And he cursed and said NO !!! used the f-word ?? So ; If the family is fine for this , Would I get in trouble for performing this divorce service ?? Again , They are legaly divorced . Thank you . Minister Jack

  1. Christopher W Patmore's Avatar Christopher W Patmore

    I am very new here, I haven't even done a wedding yet. This artical has been very helpful; especially all of the encouraging comments. But the problem I have is with a mental health issue. I am afraid of people. I am quite agoraphobic. Any advice would be helpfull.

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