How Much Does a Wedding Officiant Cost? [2023 Rates]

The average wedding officiant cost is around $200-$450 with all fees included. Learn more about how this cost is calculated, as well as tips to pick an officiant!

Two brides are holding hands in front of their wedding officiant, indicating they hired their officiant after researching wedding officiant costs.
Photo by Zola

How much does a wedding officiant cost? A wedding officiant costs between $200 and $450 on average, but this fee can vary depending on the type of officiant you hire.

Researching wedding officiant costs may not seem as glamorous as dress or suit shopping, but it’s an equally important wedding planning task that will help get you and your partner one step closer to saying “I do.”

What is a wedding officiant, exactly? If you need a refresher, (after all, this might be your first time walking down the aisle), the officiant is the person responsible for legally validating and performing your wedding ceremony. There are different types of wedding officiants and each comes with their own costs.

Our guide breaks down the cost of a wedding officiant in 2023, answers the top officiant questions, and is full of effective tips for when you’re ready to hire a wedding officiant of your own.

The Average Cost of a Wedding Officiant

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On average, a wedding officiant can cost around $200-$450 in the U.S. While some wedding officiants may charge little to nothing, others charge a wedding officiant fee well over $500.

Team Z Tip: Have a good grasp on your wedding budget before you search for a wedding officiant so you can narrow down your search to officiants in your price range.

There are several factors that can determine the ultimate cost of a wedding officiant. The following is what’s typically included in a wedding officiant package:

  • Event preparation: A professional wedding officiant must practice their part before your big day, so their fee might also include the time it takes to prep for your wedding.

  • Script assistance: The wedding officiant script can be written as a traditional passage or completely customized to include personalized wedding vows.

  • Rehearsal attendance: If you want your wedding officiant to attend one or multiple rehearsals, then it’s possible their fee will increase respectively.

  • Ceremony performance: The bulk of the wedding officiant cost is for the officiant to give a stellar performance at the height of your wedding day.

  • Licensing procedures: Although you and your partner will most likely be responsible for the licensing costs, the wedding officiant can help ensure that the paperwork is signed and sent to the appropriate government offices.

  • Operating fees: Any miscellaneous fees related to equipment rentals, costuming, renewing their wedding officiant license, travel, and business expenses can also be included in a wedding officiant fee.

Given all of these services, officiating a wedding can cost more or less depending on if the officiant is a religious official, a civil servant, or a family friend.

Religious Wedding Officiant Cost

The average cost of a religious wedding officiant service will depend on your religious affiliations and local customs.

In general, when a religious entity is able to officiate a wedding, they accept payment in the form of a donation on behalf of your religious organization. Be sure to ask your religious community if the costs of your wedding license will be included in your donation.

If membership into your religion involves paying dues, then it is also possible that an officiant service is covered by your regular payments.

Civil Wedding Officiant Cost

A civil or secular wedding officiant service can cost around $300 on average, with some topping over $650.

Unlike religiously affiliated wedding officiants, civil wedding officiants are totally responsible for their own operating costs.

You can think of them as another wedding vendor that you’ll be working closely with throughout your wedding planning process.

Family and Friends Wedding Officiant Cost

This type of wedding officiant cost is partly determined by the generosity of your loved ones and the wedding license fees in your area.

Plan to budget around $10 to $115 to pay for the wedding license fee on the behalf of your wedding officiant.

Although some of your family and friends may offer to perform this service for free, consider paying them with a special gift or thank you dinner.

5 Tips for Hiring a Wedding Officiant in 2023

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Choosing the right wedding officiant is a personal decision you and your partner should make together.

Dive into our top tips for vetting the right wedding officiant for your best day ever.

1. Confirm if Any Qualifications Are Needed

Check your local government's website to confirm if any specific qualifications or licenses are required for a wedding officiant to perform your ceremony. Every state (and even county) has different laws and requirements.

Becoming a licensed wedding officiant can potentially take weeks, so try to address this as soon as possible in order to avoid headaches closer to your wedding day.

Learn more about your state’s wedding laws and confirm if your wedding officiant needs to be registered with your state in order for your ceremony to be legally valid.

2. Clarify Your Religious Requirements

If you and your partner come from different religious backgrounds, have a candid conversation about what really matters to you both regarding the spiritual or religious nature of your wedding ceremony.

For example, some civil servants are open to performing a mixed-faith service if you cannot find an orthodox wedding officiant who is willing to do so.

Be clear with your partner about what kind of experience you’re hoping to get from your wedding officiant so that you can find the best match together.

3. Create a Tentative Attendance Schedule

Be upfront about your expectations from the start. Create a tentative attendance schedule for your wedding officiant to confirm if they’re able to be at every rehearsal and ceremony.

If they’re not able to attend all required events, then you can move onto the next candidate. If they are available to attend all your meetings, however, they may charge an added fee for surprise rehearsal times or last-minute Zoom calls.

4. Ask for a Quote and Preferred Payment Method

After you agree on a tentative schedule with the wedding officiant, it’s a good idea to ask for a quote. If they charge a flat fee, don’t be afraid to ask about anything that could potentially cost extra.

Also ask for their preferred payment method, if possible. For example, a religious organization might prefer a check, while a civil wedding officiant may only take credit cards or cash.

Though optional, a tip is certainly a thoughtful gesture. If you decide to tip your wedding officiant (and they’re able to accept it), ask them how they would like to receive this payment as well.

5. Consider Inviting Them to the Reception

This step is totally optional and largely applies to wedding officiants you had no previous contact with before the wedding planning began (like a civil servant).

If you hit it off with your wedding officiant, however, it is a thoughtful gesture to invite them to relax with you at the reception.

Consider sending them a wedding invitation along with your other wedding guests and also mailing them a thank you note after the event is over.

So, how much should you pay a wedding officiant? Well, your wedding officiant cost depends on the needs of both you and your partner, your religious connections, and how involved you’ll need your wedding officiant to be in your pre-wedding activities.

Screening wedding officiant candidates can be a breeze once you both have a firm grasp on what you want to gain out of the ceremony experience.

FAQ About Wedding Officiant Costs

Still have wedding officiant cost questions? We’ve got answers!

Why Do Officiants Cost So Much?

Civil wedding officiants might operate as more of a business compared to a religious wedding officiant or a family friend who volunteers to perform the ceremony.

Since this is a civil servant’s job, you can expect to pay the typical fee that you would to any other wedding vendor. This fee includes practice time, rehearsal attendance, and other relevant business expenses.

How Much Should I Charge Someone to Marry Me?

That answer depends on if the wedding officiant is a religious affiliate, civil practitioner, or a family friend.

The average cost of a wedding officiant in the U.S. is roughly between $200-$450 including all fees.

How Far in Advance Should I Book My Officiant?

Book your wedding officiant as soon as possible so that they can be clued into when the rehearsal times will be and offer you any wedding script assistance.

Consider booking them at least three to six months in advance if possible, or even earlier if your wedding officiant is popular or your wedding will take place in a busy season.

How Much Should You Tip a Wedding Officiant?

Tips are generally viewed as optional for wedding officiants; however, civil practitioners and family friends will likely appreciate the gesture.

Consider tipping your wedding officiant 10% of their fee. Feel free to be even more generous with their tip if they did a sensational job performing the ceremony.

How Do You Screen Wedding Officiants?

Screen your wedding officiant candidates by asking them a series of questions and presenting a tentative schedule during your initial consultation.

Some of these questions can include the following:

  • Are you licensed to perform wedding ceremonies in this state?
  • Are you able to attend all of our tentative rehearsals?
  • What services warrant an additional fee?
  • Do you provide vow writing assistance?
  • Are there any rituals you are uncomfortable performing?

Even more answers