Published: Tuesday, Mar. 16th, 2021
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
- 3.5% + 15 cents fee for manually keyed-in debit/credit card 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...
- No-fuss payment
- 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
And while 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: