How Much Does A Wedding Officiant Cost

While it only takes two parties to engage in a mutual and binding lifetime agreement, it always takes a ‘third party’ to complete the endeavor. A pair of professional fighters has a referee. Two sides of the legal battle require a judge. The same can be said about prospective couples. It takes a wedding officiant to complete the covenant and begin married life.

According to pages 31 and 33 of the research editorial titled State of the Unions (2011), ‘the rate of satisfaction in marriage is higher for husbands and wives when both individuals regularly maintain religious attendance and feel that God is the center of their marriage.’ It is one of the many obvious facts why couples choose to officially solemnize their union before an ordained minister or any representative of a ‘higher authority’ right before walking the uncertain path to their lifetime commitment.

Some couples who take their relationships very seriously often understand that there is more to weddings than feelings and attraction. Regardless of whether the couples have a secular or religious point of view, the importance of a wedding officiant gives their unity ‘a strong sense of structure and stability.’ This third party individual is just one of the many investments a committed pair is ready to pay in order to begin their life together.

Rate Per Wedding Officiant  

Groom placing wedding ring

As pointed out in the earlier part of the article, wedding officiants may come from a religious or secular institution. The societal background is somehow a crucial factor responsible for the fine distinction in terms of the overall average wedding officiant cost in the United States.

Secular Ministers

The national average cost for a civil ceremony presided by a ‘justice of the peace’ is anywhere between $50 and $100. This type of wedding ceremony is often held at a local city hall, a public park or inside a county courthouse. A retired judge is more expensive, entailing an average fee of about $100 to $200. A friend who earned the license to officiate weddings can usually charge a tip fee anywhere between $50 and $100.

Religious Ministers

When it comes to the religious wedding officiant cost, prices may vary according to a particular sect. A Roman Catholic priest charges an average of $100 for their stipend as a Eucharistic wedding officiator. Protestant church pastors charge as much as $200 and above to officiate a wedding ceremony.

In a forum posted by The Knot, couples would pay an average cost ranging from $500 to $800 in order to hire a rabbi for their Jewish wedding ceremony. According to The Nations Mosque, the cost of an imam with a license to officiate Muslim weddings is $25 for Masjid Muhammad members and $50 for non-members.

Additional Extra Expenses                            

There is more to the stipend fee that comprises the overall wedding officiant cost. Secular and religious branches have different prerequisites that preclude the appointment of wedding officiants. In both cases, a chosen wedding officiant may charge mileage fee of 30 cents to 50 cents en route to the wedding ceremony venue.

Prior to selecting an official wedding minister, couples must also spend $10 to $90 for securing their wedding license. This price range applies to both secular and religious wedding ceremonies.

When hiring Catholic priests, the officiant may charge as much as $200 for tithes or charity works donation. For Jewish weddings, there is also an additional fee for the cantor who will chant the passages from the Torah – which justifies the higher wedding officiant cost.

Knowing The Right Officiant

The greatest return on investment spent on the wedding officiant cost is the success of choosing the right minister. All of it boils down to the personality of the appointed minister and how that character can bring out of the couple’s positive wedding experience. In terms of choosing the right wedding officiant, here are three great standards couples must take note:


The main reason why couples often prefer licensed friends from professional officiants has a lot to do with the third party’s familiarity with the couple. One’s knowledge of the relationship shared by the couples provides a clearer personalized narrative (e.g. Catholic homily) that the couples and guests would enjoy hearing.

A close associate appointed as a wedding officiant could waive other necessary expenses such as the church donation or mileage fee. Concessions even include a huge discount comparable to the national average wedding officiant cost charged by detached professionals. Lastly, choosing a familiar person as a wedding officiant somehow alleviates couples who are naturally apprehensive the commitment guaranteed by individuals who can’t take a keener interest in their most important lifetime milestone.


Another key element in making the most out of the investment is the perspective that a chosen wedding officiant upholds. This aspect serves as the focal point of consideration for couples who wish to have a religious wedding ceremony. Religious ministers vary when it comes to their open-mindedness in line with the scriptures.

Simply put it: if a religious minister is neither a friend nor a close relative, it is always important to take note of their personal inputs about marriage. The saddest experience a couple may not foresee in failing to screen their officiant’s general philosophy is hearing hostile tirades and rants during the ceremony. Some priests, pastors, or religious ministers uphold standards that may find particular lifestyles or personal backgrounds offensive (e.g. interreligious union, same-sex marriage, divorcees, women with children outside marriage, etc.)


party planners cost

Another key factor worth considering when choosing a wedding officiant has a lot to do with the performance of the minister as a public speaker or performer. After all, the main function of the appointed officiant is to deliver a meaningful wedding ceremony.

A wedding minister with a renowned positive reputation and a talent for public speaking is an ideal choice that more than makes up for the lack of familiarity with the couple. Wedding guests always love an excellent performance that revs up an otherwise boring and dragging ceremony. Speaking of wonderful performance, here is an example of an Irish priest who went viral online for his inspirational adaptation of the dirge titled “Hallelujah.”

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: