Gratuity for Wedding Officiants – What to Tip at a Wedding and How to Tip Your Wedding Minister
Many brides and grooms, or their parents, are very shy when it comes to making payments to a wedding professional in person, but they are generally more embarrassed when dealing with their wedding clergy in regards to payment, and especially a giving a gratuity. I have been on both ends of the wedding altar and I can tell you that it’s much easier to deal with than you think and there is a smart way.
Everyone is a bit unsure of what is proper mostly because wedding ministers as a whole have historically dealt with rituals and properness in situations and most folks do not want to cross the line. But remember that wedding professionals deal with this issue on a daily basis and so they understand your uncomfortableness and they have seen it quite a bit. To them, it is part of the work day.
Do I tip? Definitely, yes. How much? It depends, but it is not unusual to double a fee. How? There is a good time to pay the gratuity when you pay the balance of your officiant fee. Why? Because t.i.p. stands for to insure proper service. Your marriage officiant is still holding your marriage license when you part ways (they are required usually to file it themselves). Where? At the signing.
How do you pay and tip with class? It is not so difficult after all. Tipping anyone should be done with joy and gratitude. Consider the following wedding information.
Most officiants charge from $275 to $900 for a wedding ceremony. It all depends on your wedding ceremony location, what things you feel you need from your wedding minister and how busy they are. The busier the wedding minister, the more expensive they will generally be.
Most wedding vendors will ask for a deposit in advance and the remainder to be paid on the day of the wedding. Do remember to make a prompt deposit as wedding professionals do get calls and emails constantly. A typical wedding professional gets anywhere from 10 to 100 requests a day. That is a lot time requests to be juggling. Frankly, the first person to commit by putting down a deposit is the one who wins that time slot.
We recommend that you send the officiant you have chosen the deposit by check or by credit card immediately so that you do have a hold on their time and also so that there is a paper trail. However, in my experience, the balance should be paid by cash.
When you pay the balance it is usually more embarrassing for people since it is in person and there is no “right moment”. But there is.
The best thing to do is to bring an envelope with each wedding vendor name on it and put the remainder in cash in the envelope. If you are in a large wedding, hand these to your best man or the father of the bride (which makes him feel more important) and tell them to distribute the money for you.
Do make sure to pay by the balance you owe your wedding minister in cash or your license may not be filed in time for the check to clear. Even worse, if you are traveling after your wedding and your check bounces, you may find that you are not married by the time you return from your honeymoon. A wedding officiant is required to file your marriage license within a certain amount of time with the county, usually 10 days. If they are paid by check and it bounces while you are in Tahiti then you may have a bit of a problem as that wedding clergy does not know if you will be paying on your bad check.
The best time to pay is at the signing of the marriage license. There is always a shuffling of papers from each person and when the wedding officiant signs it you can easily hand the envelope over with a “Thank you!”
And do not forget the minister gratuity. You can include that in the envelope as well. What is the proper tip for an officiant? $75 – $150 is the proper officiant gratuity and if that seems to be too much to you, consider this: your wedding officiant is probably the least paid of most of the wedding professionals present at your wedding and yet you need that one person at your wedding ceremony more than anyone else there, or else. . . you would not be married. Yes, you do not need to tip a wedding official but think of it this way: it’s good karma and a good way to start your marriage with a positive vibe from the one person who joined you as husband and wife.