VIP January 2012

Honorariums for Minister

Cavan, on May 12, 2011 at 3:27 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 10
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Hi brides-to-be!

FH and I met with our minister last night for the first look at our wedding ceremony. He is a great guy who had actually baptized my FH as a child and is an old family friend from way back with him and FFIL going to university together. He is a retired minister although he has church privileges in the church he used to preach. I was curious about the honorarium we are to pay him and he just said to pay what we felt we could afford. We are not getting married in a church so do not have any idea what amount to pay him. He will be invited to the reception after the ceremony as well.

What is a good honorarium to give?


  • B
    Super November 2002
    Beth G ·

    I would think at least $100. It seems he is a valued family friend. Also, since he is coming to your location (outside of his church) you might want to factor in travel/inconvenience costs.

  • Nancy Taussig
    August 2019
    Nancy Taussig ·

    If he's married, invite his wife, too -- since he's a family friend. If you think cash would offend him, give him a gift.

  • Cavan
    VIP January 2012
    Cavan ·

    Do most people pay $100 or a gift to their officiant? I always thought you paid a lot more. When he asked us to pay what we could afford I just assumed that he was just being polite as he is a family friend and didn't want to discuss the money. Our wedding budget is $30 000 so I assumed I would be paying much more than $100 for him to officiate.

  • EdubbsWife™
    Master October 2011
    EdubbsWife™ ·

    My wedding budget is right around yours and we are paying him $175, inviting him and his wife to the reception and rehearsal dinner, corsage for her and boutonniere for him, listing him in wedding program. I have known the Elder performing my ceremony for about 7 years and we travel in the same circles. So not quite the same relationship but I think $150-200 is fine.

  • Nancy Taussig
    August 2019
    Nancy Taussig ·

    My fee to officiate starts at $200 and goes up the farther I have to travel. Just to give you an idea.

  • ShaTerra
    Super September 2012
    ShaTerra ·

    Our pastor requires $100 which is not bad at all for members. We will also invite his family to the reception and get him a small gift of some sort

  • Fun bride
    Master November 2010
    Fun bride ·

    Just from my experience, the secretary at out church told us the amount varied from $300 to $10,000; plus we had to pay $2,500 for the church; plus $100 to the church volunteer; plus $500 to the church's organ player; plus donate all ceremony flowers to the church.

  • CandiM
    VIP June 2011
    CandiM ·

    We paid $770 for the use of the church and they said that included the minister fee, are we suppose to give something on top of that? Ohmigosh, I didn't realize.

  • G
    Just Said Yes June 2003
    gretchen ·

    Start by asking the clergy if he/she has an honorarium rate(nicer that a 'fee'.)When thinking about an honorarium, remember that he/she will perform the sacrament for the marriage, not just the wedding (celebration.) Remember that clergy do not take a vow of poverty. Their training, counsel, and time are worth something, aren't they? So much money is spent on the wedding, flowers, photos, and party, without much thought about the person who actually united the couple. All this being said, the guideline should be a mimumun of $250 plus travel expenses, if out of town. This should include mileage, hotel, per diem for food. Also they should be invited to the rehearsal dinner and the wedding & reception. Clergy are responsible for sealing the deal. They've been with you for the counseling, preparation, family and bridal party angst, so shouldn't they be invited for the fun, too?

  • E
    Just Said Yes August 2014
    Eddie ·

    Think of it in terms of your own profession: if you are an attorney, what would your hourly rate be? Has the minister provided pre-marital counseling for you and your future spouse? 3 hours? 5 hours? Now think in terms of the rehearsal which he/she is required to attend or direct. The minister is likely staying after normal business hours and is away from the family for that time. The rehearsal is likely on a Friday evening. The wedding is likely on a Saturday afternoon or evening. If you were working in your office and billing a client, what would you charge? "Ahhhh," you say. "You must be a minister -- a minister is leaving this comment." "Why, yes. I am. Should I not have a say in the matter?" "Well, an attorney's time is worth much more than a minister's," you think, but you are a bit hesitant to say. Hmmm. Is that so? Sure, the minister is frequently not paid as well as an attorney -- in fact, in small towns and rural areas or small cities, his salary may be measured against that of local school teachers or junior administrators in such an area. Then this could be your time to bless your (or "the") minister. If you called out a plumber on a Friday evening for 2 hours and then again on Saturday for 3 hours, the bill would be substantial -- just the labor. Right? If a minister isn't worth as much as you are as an attorney, isn't he/she worth at least as much as a plumber? Just a thought.

    I just returned from conducting a wedding. I don't have a set fee. The most I have ever received is $200 -- which seems to me to be a good minimum, if the family for whom the wedding was conducted has the means to pay it. If not -- like the one I just conducted -- then the fact that I did not get an honorarium at all is all right. The groom is a friend of my son. He has no financial means. I travelled twice a round trip of some 120 miles -- Friday evening and Saturday. 240 miles total. I conducted a wedding for the daughter of one of the leading business men in our community. He is a millionaire many times over. There was no honorarium, and they are not members of my congregation. Just a few thoughts on the subject. As a minister, I have been away from my family many holidays (for church services), and many weekends, the pressure was great and I was working in preparation for the weekend duties (my job averages about 60 hours per week). I, in my rural area, receive the median household income of the average American. What struck me a few years ago was that throughout my 35 year career thus far, when my children were most available (from school and later from college), I was least available. Weddings add hours in which I am not available to my family. Just a thought!

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