Just Said Yes March 2014

Pay the Minister?

meperson, on March 14, 2014 at 2:16 PM Posted in Planning 0 7
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So, I have a rather unique situation.

The minister at my church had agreed to marry us last year; we really wanted this guy to do our ceremony for a number of reasons. After the new year, he did not have his contract renewed and found employment elsewhere. He assured us he would still come back for our wedding and wound up taking a week's vacation in the surrounding area.

He got in touch with us and asked us to pick up the cost of his plane ticket back. No problem. Circa $250. A hotel room for the night, another $115. Let me reiterate: we really like this guy and want him to do our ceremony.

Problem is, we have never discussed an actual "fee" for services. I'm not sure if I should have an envelope prepared for him or not. I don't want to seem cheap or stiff the guy, but at the same time, I already laid out a nice sum for his trip back. I don't really want that awkward, "where's my envelope" at the end of the night?

Any thoughts or ideas on this?


  • Zzil
    Master October 2014
    Zzil ·
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    I would just ask him if he's expecting an envelope since you are covering his flight back and hotel.

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  • Pezzy
    Master May 2014
    Pezzy ·
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    If he will not accept anything, maybe a donation to the church he is now at.

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  • F
    Dedicated May 2015
    FutureMrsLewis ·
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    I dont know about minister but if you are getting married in a catholic church, you should pay the altar server. I was an altar server and they asked us if we wanted to altar serve at a wedding and were told the bride and groom usually pays us.

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  • Maureen Thomson
    December 2019
    Maureen Thomson ·
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    The hotel and plane fare are the price you're paying to get him there because you like him. In reality, you could forgo those payments and hire someone local (not that you want to--but you could).

    So, that being said, even though you're already shelling out $365, none of that is really considered to be compensating the officiant for his work--it's just the "premium" you're paying to get him from point A to Point B (and that's not covering any of his meals or transportation costs while he's in town).

    I know it's a financial "ouch" to pay that much for your officiant, but yes, you really should hand him an envelope on the day of the wedding. If he chooses to donate the money to his church, then so be it--that's his call.

    As far as the amount? That depends on what officiants are charging in your area. Is he customizing the ceremony for you, and if so, how much?

    Ballpark, I'd say you might want to aim to stick $200-$300 in the envelope.

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  • Celia Milton
    December 2019
    Celia Milton ·
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    I agree with Maureen.

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  • Courtney
    VIP September 2014
    Courtney ·
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    Yes, you should pay him AND pay for any travel/lodging expenses he incurs to get there. Outside the friendship you may have with him - you are paying for a service he is providing. You're paying for his travel and lodging b/c you asked him to be there. You also need to pay a fee for his services (just like you would pay your caterer or your DJ).

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  • Lora
    Super April 2014
    Lora ·
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    We're in the same situation, however luckily because he is bringing his family and staying the weekend to visit friends and family he isn't asking us to cover his travel, we're just an excuse to come.

    funny story: on monday when we were doing our first pre-marital fh said something about him being in town a couple of weeks ago and the pastor replied "yea we didn't have time but it would be awesome to see you! I'm coming to town the first week of april we should get together!!" "I was just like... it will be impossible to NOT see us" lol silly pastors.

    I may be confused and correct me if I'm wrong but I would feel uncomfortable paying for his travel because he is going on vacation and staying longer yes? it isn't your responsibility to pay for his vacation and if you weren't getting married he would probably still make the trip down... just my two cents..

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