Planning for your wedding can be one of the most exciting times of your life. It can also easily be one of the most expensive single events you’ll ever plan: nearly $30,000 on average, according to 2013 statistics. In addition to the “big ticket” expenses, such as venue rental and catering, there are many other details to consider. Arguably, the most important one -- because without him, there’s no wedding -- is the minister’s fee.
The Hard Data
According to 2013 statistics released by TheKnot.com, the average cost for a wedding officiant was $260, up about 5.5 percent from 2012. That being said, the range can vary widely based on several factors. For example, ministerial interns or retirees tend to be less expensive, ranging from $100 to $200, while active ministers may charge as much as $400 or more. If you're a member of the church where you want to get married, you might be eligible for a better price -- or the fee might be waived entirely in lieu of a donation to the church.
What's Included for the Price?
Sometimes, a minister and his church are a package deal. If you can’t get one without the other, that will affect the minister’s cost accordingly. Depending on your faith, and that of the minister, he may also require meetings and/or pre-marital counseling, which may add to the price. Some ministers may charge extra for rehearsals and travel expenses, as well.
County courts will perform simple wedding ceremonies, sometimes for as little as $10 plus the cost of your marriage license. You can also have a friend or relative apply for credentials through an online institution, such as the Universal Life Church. Note that some localities may not recognize such credentials, however.