What to Pay a Priest for a Marriage Ceremony

Discreetly give your priest cash, along with a thank-you note.

Discreetly give your priest cash, along with a thank-you note.

The amount you pay the priest who officiates at your wedding varies according to the part of the country in which the wedding is held, the extent of the priest's involvement in the wedding, the extravagance of the wedding and the specific policy of the church in which the service is conducted. A few simple steps can help you determine what's appropriate in your particular situation.

Talk to relatives or friends who have been married by the priest who will be performing your wedding. Find out how much they tipped him for his services and what these entailed -- premarital counseling, rehearsal, just the ceremony or some combination of these.

Call the church where the priest will be officiating your ceremony. Ask the church secretary or the wedding coordinator about the standard rate and the expectations. Even if the church does not have a set fee for weddings, either of these women should be able to recommend an appropriate amount.

Plan on paying $200 to $250 for the priest's services during the ceremony. Add more if he also provides you with premarital counseling sessions and attends the rehearsal. For a very small wedding, in very small towns or when your budget is extremely limited, a lesser amount is considered acceptable. In large metropolitan areas or if you have a large, extravagant wedding, plan to give $400 to $500 to the priest.


  • Tips or gifts to the priest for his services are typically in addition to other church-related expenses, so expect to pay separate fees for the use of the church, additional officiants, musicians and a wedding coordinator.

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About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

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