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How Much Does a Wedding Officiant Cost? (& Should You Tip Them?)

Published Friday, Dec. 16th, 2022

What's the average fee or rate to hire a wedding officiant? It depends! 



The cost of hiring a wedding officiant will depend on a couple of factors, including the type of officiant you choose, the style of ceremony, and when and where you’re married.


Professional officiants may offer a variety of services and packages that will impact their fees, such as: 


  • Writing a custom ceremony script 
  • Writing custom wedding vows 
  • Performing the ceremony
  • Performing related religious rites
  • Signing the marriage license
  • Returning the marriage license 
  • Travel and/or lodging (to and from venue)
  • Premarital and relationship coaching 


This variety of services means that there’s no set price for a wedding officiant, and how much you pay will depend on the type of officiant and wedding ceremony you choose. And remember – you’re usually paying for more work than you see on the wedding day! 


Below, we discuss each main category of wedding officiant, how and when to pay them, and a (very) general cost estimate for each one.


If you’re not sure which type of officiant is best for your wedding, take this quiz: Which Type of Wedding Officiant Should You Choose? 




Types of Officiants & Estimated Cost of Services 


Friend Officiant


Asking a friend or relative to officiate your wedding is usually the most affordable option. Some friends and relatives will officiate your wedding for free, or in exchange for a small gift, such as a nice dinner or bottle of wine.



Your friend will need to get ordained and file any required paperwork with the county clerk’s office before the ceremony. (Note that only a few states require registration paperwork.) This is a simple process, and online ordination is free with American Marriage Ministries.



If you want to spend a little more, for about $100 you can purchase a ‘Will You Marry Us?’ gift box for your friend or relative. This gift box includes minister credentials and any required paperwork they might need to file, as well as a planning workbook, cute officiant swag, a sweet greeting card, and instructions on how to perform their first wedding like an expert.



Religious Officiant


Most religious leaders don’t charge couples a fee to perform their wedding at their local church or faith center. Instead, couples may be encouraged to make a donation to the faith center itself as a show of gratitude and appreciation. 


This donation amount will depend on the location, and can run upwards of several hundred dollars. 


Professional Wedding Officiants


Professional wedding officiants set their own rates depending on the types of services they provide, their level of experience, and where they live. Often, their rates include expert services that couples aren’t aware of, such as ceremony research and script writing, attending a rehearsal ceremony, coordinating with other professionals, returning the marriage license, and travel time to and from the venue.  


In general, hiring someone for a quick ‘sign and go’ marriage license signing ceremony will cost less than hiring someone to perform a small backyard wedding, which will cost less than an elaborate wedding ceremony with a full bridal party and custom unity ceremony. 


Related: Read about Sign & Go Ceremonies


A ‘sign and go’ ceremony might cost $100-$300, for example, compared with $200-$600 for a microwedding, or $400-$1,200 or more for a large ceremony. It all depends! 


When hiring a professional wedding officiant, budget at least a few hundred dollars for a simple ceremony. 


If you’d like to have an elaborate wedding that includes a custom wedding ceremony script or unique unity ritual, prepare to pay more for your officiant’s additional effort. And be sure to ask about ‘add-on’ services they offer, such as mileage fees, premarital coaching, and attending a rehearsal ceremony. 


Related: Advice for Officiants: All About Wedding Ceremony Rehearsals




Should You Tip Your Wedding Officiant?


Yes! Read on for tipping specifics… 


If a friend is officiating your wedding for free, we recommend you thank them for their time and effort with a small monetary tip or gift. For examples of great thank you gifts, check out: How Much Should You Pay a Friend to Officiate Your Wedding?


Most professional wedding officiants accept (but don't expect) tips, gifts, and other gratuity for their services – and they will certainly appreciate it! If you usually tip your hairstylist or waiter, consider tipping your officiant as well. A little love goes a long way!


If you’d like to give your officiant a gift instead of a cash tip, check out these great suggestions: Gift Ideas for Your Wedding Officiant


And at the very least, always leave your wedding officiant a great review online if you’re happy with their services. Reviews from happy couples help a great officiant find new clients and build a strong business. 





Take this Quiz: 

Which Type of Wedding Officiant Should You Choose? 



A bride places the ring on the grooms finger while the wedding officiant oversees the exchange, outdoors in front of a colorful wedding arch


Clergy member, friend, relative, or paid professional — Which type of wedding officiant should you choose? Take this simple quiz to discover what kind of wedding officiant is the best choice for your ceremony based on your personality, venue, beliefs, and more. 


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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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