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How Much Should You Pay a Friend to Officiate Your Wedding?

Published Wednesday, Dec. 22nd, 2021

This question shows up in various ways all the time on FaceBook groups, online wedding forums, and wedding websites: 


Should you pay a friend or family member who agrees to officiate your wedding? 


And if so, how much? 



Let’s take these one at a time…


Should you pay a friend for officiating your wedding? 


Yes! Absolutely. You should always compensate a friend for their time, but it doesn’t have to be cash. Some friends and relatives will want to officiate for free, as a wedding gift to you and your sweetheart. In this case, a small gift is the perfect way to show your gratitude. (More on this below.)


Think about it – Your friend’s time is valuable. And they bring something priceless to the wedding day: themselves! 


You asked a friend or relative to officiate your wedding because you want a unique and intimate wedding experience with a specific tone or vibe that a professional wedding officiant can’t provide. Right? Friend officiants share your values, your memories and experiences, and your sense of humor. 


They get you, in ways no one else can, and they bring that irreplaceable energy and love into the wedding ceremony. 


And besides, officiating a wedding takes work. When a friend agrees to officiate, they’ll need to get ordained online, register with the state, choose a wedding ceremony script, rehearse the script with you, perform your wedding ceremony, and sign your marriage license. They’re doing a lot more than simply showing up on the wedding day. 


(This Minister Ordination Package comes with everything your officiant needs to marry you.)


That’s valuable! 



Two women toast with champagne flutes held up to the camera on the wedding day

How you say 'thank you' is up to you! 


How much should you pay a friend who officiates your wedding? 


To decide what’s fair, consider how much work your friend will need to do outside of the actual wedding ceremony:


Are they writing a wedding script from scratch? Are they traveling a long distance to attend? Will they have to pay for childcare or lodging? Is there a rehearsal ceremony? Is your extended family kind of a handful to deal with? 


Factor in all these things when deciding on a fair cash amount or an appropriate thank you gift. 


Remember: Compensation doesn’t have to be cash! (Although some friends will certainly appreciate it.) If it feels awkward or too ‘business like’ to offer a friend or family member money, go with a gift instead.


The best form of payment will be something that’s personally meaningful to your officiant, and that fairly reflects the amount of time and energy they’ve dedicated to your ceremony. 

This will depend on their tastes and your budget.  



A friend toasts the bride and groom at an outdoor wedding after officiating their ceremony

Friend Officiants bring something priceless to the ceremony -- themselves!


Examples of thank you gifts: 


  • Cover their hotel room / fees or travel costs
  • $50 / $100 / $150 tucked inside a heartfelt card 
  • Gift certificate to a comics shop, book store, or clothing store
  • Gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, bar, or cafe
  • Weekend getaway
  • Trip to a spa / massage
  • Home-cooked meal
  • Baby-sitting or childcare coupons
  • An original piece of artwork
  • A bottle of wine, box of cigars, or marijuana edibles
  • Sports gear / clothing 
  • Fandom toys / clothing 



Did you know?
To help put things in perspective, the average price for a professional wedding officiant is expected to be around $600 in 2022, according to Wedding Forward. 




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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