Venmo or PayPal? Cash, check, or credit? We compare the most popular payment methods used by new and experienced wedding officiants to help you decide what method will work best for you, and your couples.
Do you want to charge a fee for the services you provide as a wedding officiant, but aren’t sure how to actually receive the payment?
With so many options to choose from -- credit cards, bank transfers, money orders, checks, mobile payment services, and good old fashioned cash -- it can be overwhelming to determine which payment method to offer your couples.
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that, in the same way that professional officiants have niche favorites (and pet peeves) when it comes to ceremony types, they also have preferences when it comes to payment types! For example, some professional officiants refuse to take checks, while others will take them, but only when they’re offered by parents or grandparents. Some officiants prefer cash and money orders, while still others only accept Venmo and PayPal.
What this tells us is that when it comes to collecting a fee, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
To help you weigh the options, here’s a quick look at the potential benefits and drawbacks of some of the most popular platforms we’ve seen utilized. But remember: AMM has no opinions or preferences between these, we’re just reporting what we’ve heard from the field!
A mobile and web based payment service, or ‘digital wallet’.
Very popular and widely used
Business options (services geared toward merchants)
A direct link can be added to a website or sent easily via email
Offers fraud and seller protection
Up to $10,000 transfer limit
Available in 200 Countries
Payments can be made over mobile or desktop browser
Money Pool option for fundraising, group purchases
Users can send money to people who do not have a PayPal account
May take a small fee, depending on what type of service is selected when paying
2.9% + $0.30 fee for debit/credit card payments
Up to a 2-day wait time for deposited funds to reach your account
A mobile payment service, or ‘digital wallet,’ owned by PayPal.
Popular and widely used
Business option and PIN option for added security
Users can send or receive money
Optional social component, allowing users to see what their contacts are up to
Allows users to carry a balance, money is not deposited immediately into the attached account (This can be a benefit or drawback, depending on preference and bookkeeping style.)
No fee/cost for bank transfers or debit card payments
Accepts credit, debit, bank transfer
All transactions must be made through the mobile app, requires a smartphone and personal phone number to set up
3% fee for credit card payments
$4,999.99 transfer limit
Cancelling payments is not possible
Must be physically located in the US
Doesn’t offer purchase support for users
A person-to-person (peer-to-peer) transaction app.
Users can send or request money
Money is moved directly from bank account to bank account, so deposits are immediate
No cost/fee to use
Fewer users (and both parties must be enrolled with the service)
Doesn’t accept credit cards as forms of payment
No business upgrade option
Requires a US bank account (no international accounts)
Cancelling a payment is very difficult
Bank and credit union fees may apply
A merchant services and mobile payment company.
Well known and popular option
No monthly fee or upfront costs
Geared toward in-person transactions (this can be a benefit or a drawback depending on needs)
2.90% + $0.30 & up
Offers a simple card reader that plugs into your cell phone or tablet
No instant deposit into your bank account
Limited customer/merchant support
Requires additional software and hardware to use
2.6% + 10¢ swiping fee for debit/credit cards and ApplePay payments
2.90% + $0.30 & up fee for online debit/credit transactions
Most officiants accept multiple payment options to make it as easy as possible for couples to pay for their services.
Good ol’ paper checks!
Some older couples, or a couple's parents and grandparents, prefer them
No technology or apps needed
Payment can be stopped or disputed by a couple, delaying payment
Checks can bounce and are easily forged
Those old fashioned paper bank notes we all know so well...
Less risk of fraud than checks (but carry a counterfeit detection pen for big bills!)
Not as easy to track for bookkeeping or when confirming payment
Requires a handwritten receipt
Not practical for larger fees
Andwhile we didn’t cover them here, other popular payment and invoicing options include Cash App, HoneyBook, 17hats, and ApplePay.
Most officiants we’ve talked to will accept several or a majority of the methods listed above. This is a great strategy for professionals who want to make it as easy as possible for couples to pay for services.
If you’re still unsure what will work best for you, we suggest taking a look at some wedding officiant forums. They’re a great place to seek advice and insider tips from fellow officiants, and you can find them on social media platforms and popular wedding sites. In forums, professionals and novices alike share information and resources all the time. You’ll find more opinions on these, and countless more!
Discover how much to charge to perform a marriage,
and how to build a portfolio of amazing ceremonies:
Jessica loves digging into the history and magic of ritual, exploring the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She’s an advocate for marriage equality and individuality. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys easy hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.