How much does a wedding officiant cost?
$200 – $500 religious wedding officiant cost
$250 – $1,000 professional wedding celebrant cost
Wedding officiant cost
A wedding officiant costs $250 to $800 on average, depending on the ceremony type and location. Professional wedding celebrants charge $250 to $1,000+, while ordained ministers, pastors, and rabbis encourage donations of $200 to $500. A civil ceremony with a judge or Justice of the Peace costs $120 to $250.
|Religious wedding officiant|| $200 – $500 (member)
$800 – $1,000 (non-member)
|Minister, pastor, rabbi, priest, reverend, or preacher|
|Civil wedding officiant||$120 – $250||Justice of the Peace, judge, notary, city clerk, or magistrate|
|Professional wedding celebrant||$250 – $1,000+||Licensed and experienced professionals|
|Ordained wedding officiant||$0 – $80 (ordination fee)||Friend or family member|
Traditionally, the groom’s side pays for the officiant.
Wedding officiants charge $100 to $150 more for rehearsal time before the wedding.
Book your wedding officiant at least 7 months before the wedding.
Tipping a wedding officiant $50 to $100 is optional but usually expected.
Average cost of wedding officiant
The following table shows the average cost of a wedding officiant.
|National Average Cost||$500|
|Average Range||$250 to $800|
Wedding officiant fees for a minister, pastor, rabbi, priest, reverend, or preacher
Religious officiants affiliated with a specific house of worship typically don’t charge a fee. Instead, you’re encouraged to donate to the institution as a gesture of gratitude. Suggested donations are $200 to $500 for congregation members and $800 to $1,000 for non-members.
|Membership status||Average cost|
|Member of congregation||$200 – $500|
|Non-member||$800 – $1,000|
Professional wedding celebrant charges
Wedding celebrants charge $250 to $1,000 on average, depending on the ceremony type, length, and amount of customization. Celebrant fees for a highly customized ceremony are $500 to $1,000+. Many wedding officiants offer basic packages for small, informal ceremonies or marriage license signing only.
|Ceremony type||Average cost||Description|
|Standard||$250 – $500||
|Fully customized||$500 – $1,000+||
|Elopement / informal||$100 – $200||
|Simple signing service||$75 – $150||
|Rehearsal||$100 – $150||
Civil wedding officiant rates
A civil wedding officiant costs $120 to $250 on average, including marriage license fees of $20 to $90, depending on the state. A civil ceremony is typically nonreligious and can be performed by a Justice of the Peace, judge, notary, or other authorized government official.
Ordained wedding officiant prices (friend or family member)
If you’d like a friend or family member to officiate your wedding, they must get ordained ahead of time by an organization recognized by your state. The cost to become an officiant averages $30, but varies by organization. Popular organizations include the Universal Life Church, Rose Ministries, and the American Fellowship Church.
The Universal Life Church and American Marriage Ministries are non-denominational churches that offer free online ordination and accept voluntary donations.
Rose Ministries charges $29.95 for a basic ordination package and $80 for a wedding officiate package containing a Certificate of Ordination, Wallet ID, and keepsake wedding certificate.
The American Fellowship Church charges $30 for ordination with a 1-year minister license or $250 for a lifetime license.
Cost factors to have a wedding ceremony
The following factors affect the cost of hiring a wedding officiant for your ceremony:
Type of ceremony – Officiant fees vary depending on if the ceremony is a traditional wedding, vow renewal, or simple marriage license signing service.
Wedding size – Officiants charge less for elopements or small weddings with up to 10 guests.
Planning meetings – Wedding officiants provide one or more pre-wedding meetings to discuss your vision for the ceremony, select your vows, and choose readings, stories, or poems. Some officiants also assist you in writing personalized vows.
Customization – Some officiants use a premade script while others create a ceremony customized entirely for you. A fully personalized ceremony package typically costs more.
Premarital counseling – Many religious officiants offer premarital counseling sessions for an added cost. Some churches require couples to attend a premarital class or workshop instead.
Travel fees – Officiants typically charge $30 to $100+ more for weddings outside their local area.
License handling – Some officiants handle submitting the signed marriage license to the state after the wedding, while others allow the couple to submit it themselves. Most officiants do not charge extra for license handling.
Rehearsal time – Wedding officiants charge $100 to $150 more for rehearsal time before the wedding.
Equipment – Some officiants charge $50 to $100 to bring their own wireless microphone and speakers.
Add-ons – For an added cost, your officiant may offer extras like a framed wedding certificate, unity candle, or dove or butterfly release.
Location – Officiants in major metropolitan areas typically charge more than those in rural areas.
Tipping – Consider tipping your officiant $50 to $100 or give them a thoughtful gift to thank them for their time and effort.
Wedding officiant fees by location
|City, State||Average cost|
|Atlanta, GA||$300 – $900|
|Austin, TX||$300 – $900|
|Boston, MA||$400 – $1,200|
|Bridgeport, CT||$400 – $1,300|
|Chicago, IL||$300 – $1,000|
|Dallas, TX||$300 – $1,000|
|Denver, CO||$300 – $1,000|
|Honolulu, HI||$400 – $1,200|
|Houston, TX||$300 – $1,000|
|Indianapolis, IN||$300 – $900|
|Long Island, NY||$400 – $1,300|
|Los Angeles, CA||$400 – $1,100|
|Miami, FL||$300 – $1,000|
|Minneapolis, MN||$300 – $1,000|
|Nashville, TN||$300 – $800|
|New Orleans, LA||$300 – $900|
|New York, NY||$400 – $1,300|
|Newark, NJ||$400 – $1,300|
|Philadelphia, PA||$400 – $1,200|
|Portland, OR||$300 – $1,000|
|Richmond, VA||$300 – $1,000|
|San Francisco, CA||$400 – $1,200|
|Seattle, WA||$300 – $1,100|
|Washington, DC||$400 – $1,200|
Wedding blessing cost
A wedding blessing costs $150 to $300 and is sometimes called a Convalidation Ceremony. This service allows couples who have already married in a civil ceremony to get their union blessed by a priest or pastor in a church, meeting the requirements for the religious sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
Religious and civil wedding officiant contracts
A wedding officiant contract ensures everyone’s expectations are on the same page. The contract outlines the date, time, location, and details of the ceremony, the costs involved, and any add-ons included. The officiant also warrants that they are legally authorized to officiate a wedding in your state.
Wedding officiant FAQs
What does a wedding officiant do?
A wedding officiant performs your ceremony and leads you in exchanging your vows and rings. Religious officiants may also conduct symbolic customs or traditions as part of the ceremony. The wedding officiant is responsible for legally validating the marriage by signing the marriage license.
Who can officiate a wedding?
An ordained minister, priest, rabbi, Justice of the Peace, judge, notary, or professional wedding celebrant can officiate a wedding. An ordained friend or family member can also officiate the wedding. Check local laws to confirm who can legally officiate a wedding in your state.
Who pays the minister or pastor at a wedding?
Traditionally, the groom or the groom’s family pays the minister or officiant at a wedding. However, the bride’s family often pays if the wedding is held in their church.
Do you tip a wedding officiant?
Tipping a wedding officiant is optional but usually expected. Tip a civil or professional wedding officiant $50 to $100. Most religious officiants don’t accept tips, but donating to their house of worship instead is customary.
How far in advance should I book my wedding officiant?
Book your wedding officiant at least 7 to 8 months before the wedding. Planning your ideal ceremony takes time and may require multiple meetings in the months leading to the wedding date. Popular officiants often book weekend weddings more than a year in advance.
How much do wedding officiants make?
The average salary for a wedding officiant is $42,000 to $70,000 per year, depending on experience, reputation, and location. Officiants in major cities or areas with a high cost of living typically earn more than those in rural areas.
How to find and hire a wedding officiant
Before you hire a wedding officiant near you, be sure to:
Decide whether you want a religious or nonreligious ceremony.
Contact your house of worship if you’re planning a religious ceremony.
Ask friends, family members, and your other wedding vendors for referrals.
Browse their reviews on Fash and Google.
Request an in-person meeting to ensure you feel comfortable with the officiant.
Confirm the officiant understands your vision and can create your ideal ceremony.
Avoid choosing an officiant who schedules multiple weddings on the same day.
Get a written contract if working with a professional celebrant. Religious and civil officiants typically don’t provide contracts.
Ask to see a copy of the ceremony.
Extend an invitation to your reception.
Questions to ask potential officiants
How long have you been an officiant?
How many weddings have you performed?
Do you have a video available of a previous ceremony?
How will you create the ceremony? How much input will we have?
Do you use a script or will you customize the wedding ceremony for us?
Can you perform a wedding that incorporates our religious or cultural heritage?
Can we write our own vows? Can you help us with that?
What other things can we do to personalize the ceremony?
How long is a typical ceremony?
How many pre-wedding planning sessions will we have? Will we meet in person or via video chat?
How will you be dressed at the ceremony?
Do you attend the rehearsal? Do you charge extra for it?
Do you meet the legal requirements for an officiant in our state?
What is your fee for officiating a wedding? Are there any additional charges?
What add-ons do you offer?
What happens if an emergency comes up and you can’t be present on our wedding day? Do you have a backup officiant?
How early will you arrive before the ceremony?