The cost of hiring a wedding officiant will vary from one type of officiant to another, such as a clergyman or a justice of the peace, and from one location to another. A wedding in a local church may cost a certain amount, while one where the officiant has to travel to another location may cost considerably more.
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Get a price quote for a wedding officiant at your church or place of worship. The church office or clergy can give you fees for wedding services.
Ask if the rehearsal fee is included in the price quote. If there is no rehearsal planned (such as in a private ceremony) make sure you're not paying for a service that you don't need.
Examine bundled charges in price quotes. These may or may not include pre-marital counseling, so clarify the content of the quote.
Determine if the wedding officiant charges by the hour or ceremony. If the hourly price includes the rehearsal and counseling sessions in addition to the ceremony, the charges can accelerate rapidly.
Obtain the price quote in writing. Everything should be itemized in detail so there are no surprises after the ceremony. If the wedding officiant is responsible for getting singers and musicians for the ceremony, these fees should be clearly identified in the quote.
Use a wedding planning service for a complete price quote. Depending on the service you choose, the wedding officiant may or may not be included. Many couples who don't have church affiliations will use planners with available clergymen or officiants.
Ask when the money has to be paid if you accept the price quote. Some officiants require payment in full in advance, while others may require significant deposits with the remaining balance due at the time of service.
Determine if the price quote you get includes a standard ceremony or if customized ceremonies are allowed at no additional cost.
Tips and warnings
- Some ministers will perform wedding ceremonies without charge. If this is the case in your plans, an honorarium is appropriate. The appropriate amount of the honorarium will depend on the length of service, required travel and day of the week, with weekends requiring more than weekdays.
- Take into account all of the required services when you get a price quote. The officiant charges are only a part of the ceremony. Many congregations require the use of sound-room personnel, an organist and a soloist, if professional musicians are not used.