Pay for the clergy, preacher, pastor or priest

Your wedding day is coming up and you have so many questions and decisions to make before you can say, "I do."  The pay for the pastor can sometimes be awkward because the clergyperson will hesitate to ask for payment and there is rarely a signed contract.  Here are some thoughts on figuring out how much to pay the pastor who officiates your service.

  1. How much are you paying for the other services in your wedding?  Take a moment to consider who else you are paying for the service.  Usually, the pastor will spend as much time as the DJ or caterer on your wedding.  You might consider making sure that the pastor's pay is similar. 
  2. Did the pastor take extra time to offer counseling?  Many pastors request that you meet with him/her several times for pre-marriage counseling (highly recommended by the way).  You may want to consider this time in your payment; however, some pastors would consider this part of their duty - especially if you met during regular office hours. 
  3. How many hours will the pastor work outside of traditional working hours?  It is good to realize that the pastor will spend time away from their family to officiate your wedding.  A Friday night rehearsal and Saturday wedding will take extra time when they might usually be with their family. 

Most all pastors (especially this one) love to officiate weddings.  It is a time for them to represent God as the couple celebrates love.  Pastor's certainly aren't in it for the money, but you want to make sure the pastor is appreciated.

OK, so down to the money.  Personally, I would aim to pay the pastor from $150 to $350 for their services in running the rehearsal and officiating the service.  Again, you need to match what you are paying other service providers in your wedding. 

It would be considerate to pay the pastor before the service or just after the service - this way they are not caught wondering if they will be paid - you just might forget too amidst all the excitement.  Sometimes the money (with a card is nice too) is given by the best man or one of the parents - let someone else worry about this on your big day. 

Some other quick points to assist in your relationship with the pastor:

  • Make sure to give them the marriage license before the service - it would be best during the rehearsal.  Usually, the pastor will take the license with him or her to sign and send back to the county.  The county will then mail it to you once it is processed.
  • Make sure to meet with the preacher a few weeks before to discuss the wedding.  Don't count on the rehearsal to get all the information to the pastor.
  • If the pastor will wear a robe, you don't need to get a corsage.
  • Invite the pastor to your rehearsal dinner, but don't expect them to attend.  Many pastors would prefer to head home and spend the evening with their family.  You probably shouldn't expect the pastor to stay for the entire wedding reception either - but some might. 

Your day will be beautiful and meaningful.  May your wedding be a blessing to you and lead to a long and fulfilling marriage.