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How Much Will Couples Spend on a Wedding Officiant This Year?

Published Monday, Jul. 10th, 2023

Photo: Stacie Ong / Unsplash

How much will it cost the average couple to hire a wedding officiant this year?



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AMM Audio Articles · How Much Will Couples Spend on a Wedding Officiant This Year?




It’s no secret that the average wedding is more expensive than it’s ever been. But how much of the wedding budget is being spent on the wedding officiant? 


Considering the wedding officiant’s essential role in the wedding day, and the fact that a ceremony simply can’t take place without one, you might expect the answer to be ‘a lot.’ Right? 


In practice, no. Or, at least, not always. Officiants can cost a lot, or they can cost very little, depending on the types of services they provide, the style and location of the wedding ceremony, and their personal relationship with the wedding couple. 


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


Some wedding officiants are unpaid friends and family members who have been ordained online to celebrate the marriage rite, for example. Other officiants are clergy who serve at local brick-and-mortar faith centers, who officiate for free or for a small donation. Many officiants provide paid professional services, but their rates vary widely depending on location, availability, type of services, and level of experience. And of course there are civil ceremonies at local courthouses, with fees set by local offices.


As you can see, because marriage officiants have such diverse relationships with their couples, it’s nearly impossible to establish a standard fee for officiating. 



So, how much will the average couple spend on a wedding officiant this year? 


AMM spoke with 150 soon-to-be-married individuals to find out. Here’s what we learned.


Bar chart showing answers to the question, "What is Your Budget for a Wedding Officiant," posed to 150 soon to be married couples

Survey Results: "What is Your Budget for a Wedding Officiant?"; 16 answered 'Under $200'; 37 answered '$200-$500'; 37 answered '$500-$1000'; 24 answered '$1000-$2000'; 36 answered 'Over $2000'



We asked, “What's your budget for a Wedding Officiant?”


16 people told us that they plan to spend under $200 on a wedding officiant. That’s about 10.7% of respondents, and likely includes couples who plan to ask a friend or family member to officiate their ceremony for free or for a small gift. 


37 people told us that they plan to spend between $200 and $500 on a wedding officiant. That’s about 24.7% of couples, and likely includes couples who plan to have a friend officiate in exchange for a small fee or gift; couples who plan to hire an officiant for a small ceremony or license signing; couples marrying at a small church or temple; and couples marrying at the courthouse.


37 people told us that they plan to spend between $500 and $1000 on a wedding officiant. This result is tied with the previous one, at around 24.7% of couples, and likely includes couples who plan to marry at a local faith center in a religious wedding, or those hiring a professional wedding officiant for a private ceremony. 


24 people told us that they plan to spend between $1000 and $2000 on a wedding officiant. That represents about 16% of couples, and likely includes those couples marrying at a faith center and those hiring a professional officiant for a custom wedding ceremony.


36 people told us that they plan to spend over $2000 on a wedding officiant, or about 24% of all respondents. This likely includes couples who want to hire a professional wedding officiant for a large custom wedding ceremony at a traditional wedding venue.  


What does this mean for AMM Ministers and other wedding officiants? 


These results show that there’s a perfect wedding officiant for every budget and every couple, and that wedding officiants have the freedom to adjust their rates based on their individual circumstances. Officiants with more experience, with special expertise and unique services, or serving in popular locations are able to charge more. Officiants who want to provide more-affordable options for lower income couples and close members of their congregation will also be in demand. 


These results also demonstrate the continued importance of online ordination as an affordable pathway to ordination, so that couples with a small budget can be married by someone special to them. Free online ordination through American Marriage Ministries and other churches ensures that friends and family members are able to perform these meaningful rites for their loved ones at no cost. 


With more than 10% of couples having less than $200 to spend on an officiant, access to free ordination – and to a loved one qualified to officiate – is essential! 




See more results from AMM’s 2023 Spring Survey: 







Close up photo of a wedding officiant reading from a wedding ceremony script in a binder while the bride and groom stand near him, facing each other during their ceremony

AMM Survey shows 26% of couples will ask a friend to officiate their wedding in 2023, 44% will hire a professional, and high cost and convenience drive a record number to the courthouse. Read the full article here.




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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