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VonNoble

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I have been hanging around the forum for more than eight years. It is a very, very helpful place as lots of very wise people are willing to share their wisdom. MOST of them non-judgementally.

Early on there was a question raised about how much to "charge" when officiating at a wedding.

And the numbers ranged from nothing, to $25 bucks....all the way up over $200

Each minister naturally must decide for his or her self so there is no right or wrong to this one.

The more experienced voices when I was a newbie - seemed to fall into a majority (at least those posting at that time) that none of them officiated at weddings as a business. It wasn't a money making deal for them. It largely happened infrequently. It was a great honor to be chosen to officiate. And most often they did so as a gift to the bride and groom.

On the reverse side (then and now) - there are those who feel if you do not charge - your efforts have little value.....that you are less likely to be taken seriously or afforded the respect owed to your efforts unless there is some obligation on the part of the bride and groom to offer an exchange for services.

I am curious more than eight years later - what the majority of posters are doing these days.

Disclosure: I am retired. I do not officiate for the money. I do not need the money. I am very honored to be asked and frankly have so much fun I sometimes feel like I ought to pay them. Even with the discussion that I do not charge for my services in all but two instances......the bride and groom have handed me money and insisted that I accept it....which I accepted ....and told them the money would be forwarded to a charity.

thx, Von

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I still do not charge, and frankly still pay out of my own pocket to marry a couple (travel, and copies of filed documents).

I do not advertise in anyway. Those that I have joined together are usually military couples who know I am ordained because we know each other from work or friends of my wife and I or even a "friend of a friend."

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I generally ask the couple to directly donate $250 dollars to either St. Jude Hospital or Operation Smile. I take nothing for myself other than accomodations if an overnighter, which I leave to the couple to arrange and, of course, an invitation to the reception if appropriate. For close friends it's free of course, as their wedding gift from me (but they are still encouraged to donate - any sum - to charity).

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actually,9 years ago(yeah von,we've been around awhile)when i started,i was part of a group of ministers who did weddings.yes we charged,and i learned that alot of work went into these services,and sometimes travel was requried(long distance).we had a standard contract(which i still have),and have used,although modified.

the only weddings i have done recently have been for friends,and the mother of the bride paid me.i had made it clear that i was doing the ceremony because i wanted to,but she was very happy with it and wanted me to have something.

otherwise,espically if travel is involved,i do charge.gas saddly is ALOT more than it was when i started,so i just can't do them free,execpt for close friends.

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people have lied to me and promised to donate 250.00 to my church.

and after the wedding give me a envelope with 50.00 in it. and I am a priest and dont charge, so what can I say?

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It's a tough call, but for me personally I take it on a case by case basis. If I am going to charge, it's a nominal fee, usually just to cover actual expenses. But the ceremony itself is a gift to the bride and groom.

Last year I had one couple use my time for over two months and the amount of work I did was many, many hours of computer time and personal resources. The night before the ceremony, I got a rather nasty text message telling me my services were not required. Just a few weeks ago I found out the couple had arranged for another minister all along and the work I did was to negotiate the fee to him way down.

But such is life and brings into question why some require a deposit.

Blessings,

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I do not charge fees, but I have only performed weddings for friends and family. If someone was in need of a Pagan minister and contacted me, I would not charge a fee. I would have to meet with the couple and make sure I was comfortable performing the service for them. I work full time as a paid counselor at a mental hospital, so I do not need to support myself by charging for ministerial services. I am a minister for the sake of spirituality, not financial gain. I do not begrudge someone who accepts a nominal donation or compensation for actual expenses (gas, etc.), but I do not like the concept of a minister having a "wedding officiant" business that seeks to make a profit.

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Hi Von,

When I first joined this forum (about 5 years ago) yours was a regular voice here.

I hadn't learned "the lay of the land", and was under the impression that

you were one of "the organizers" of the forum...an official of some sort.

I think it was because you usually had something worthwhile and cogent to say.

I don't do weddings... at least I haven't thus far. I only answered this post because

I saw your name, and wanted to let you know that "I miss your smiling face"

(so to speak). Don't be gone so long next time!

Hex

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As I mentioned somewhere else, I tell people that I'm happy to perform the service and as a minister I don't charge a fee, but an "honorarium" is gratefully accepted !

Even if you don't care about the money, most people feel a need to give you something. They realize you are performing a service for them. They want to show you their gratitude. They want to do the right thing and not feel they are imposing or taking advantage.

Accept the payment. What you do with it, whether you give it to charity or your local barkeep, is your own business. I wouldn't diminish their contribution by telling them you will give it to charity. In a way that's telling them their offering to you gives you no enjoyment.

In my view.

( I have only done a few weddings. It's an honor and a privilege for me. I really don't care if I get paid or not. The first one I ever did, the father of the bride paid me $100. Unbeknownst to me, my wife gave the bride a gift of $100. I told my wife, "How are we ever going to make a racket out of this if you are going to give it back?! The minister's wife isn't supposed to give a gift!" We laughed. )

Edited by Carl Harry Carlson

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I don't charge for weddings. It's one of those things where if I'm not willing to do it as a gift I'm not willing to do it.

And, for some strange reason, I keep adding the words "Mr. Grainger" to the end of the topic title whenever I read it....

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Hi Von,

When I first joined this forum (about 5 years ago) yours was a regular voice here.

I saw your name, and wanted to let you know that "I miss your smiling face"

(so to speak). Don't be gone so long next time!

Hex

Thank you. One of the few times I was taken for an official anything. :crazyeyes: It might well have some of the old timers smiling as i am about the most techno-challenged person to ever land here - so many have had to walk me through (drag me to) the basics of computer operations. And have always done so patiently. So many times.....Edtrain, meredog, most recently Atwater, Dorian (a zillion times), Qryos, and of course Murph (from day one)...my ole buddy Mark45 .....It is nice to be able to have a a chance to catch up a bit. So much wisdom shared in this place. I do miss it when things get pressing elsewhere. I appreciate your kind words.

Last year I had one couple use my time for over two months and the amount of work I did was many, many hours of computer time and personal resources. The night before the ceremony, I got a rather nasty text message telling me my services were not required. Just a few weeks ago I found out the couple had arranged for another minister all along and the work I did was to negotiate the fee to him way down.

Blessings,

NEVER had anything remotely close to that happen. How awful.

I never heard of asking for a deposit either - but in light of that experience i can see why some would.

Writing an original ceremony, personalized and within guidelines established by the bride an groom is VERY time consuming.

That would be a major disappointment - and one I never realized was even possible short of them calling off the wedding.

Ya learn lots here. Not always happy stuff - but real stuff, that's for sure.

What you do with it, whether you give it to charity or your local barkeep, is your own business. I wouldn't diminish their contribution by telling them you will give it to charity. In a way that's telling them their offering to you gives you no enjoyment.

In my view.

You make a valid point.

Perhaps the perception hinges on the relationship of those involved, the tact of the ensuing conversation, and the mutual respect of all concerned.

I don't charge for weddings. It's one of those things where if I'm not willing to do it as a gift I'm not willing to do it.

And, for some strange reason, I keep adding the words "Mr. Grainger" to the end of the topic title whenever I read it....

THAT was funny and I do appreciate your wit. I suspect, I'll be chuckling at that for awhile to come. Thanks.

Von

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I do charge for performing weddings, commitment ceremonies and vow renewals as it is a part-time business for me. I also charge extra to perform rehearsals. I do give discounts, depending on circumstances. I also pay taxes on this income (after appropriate deductions). I do require a deposit to hold the date/time for the couple. In a few instances I have charged a mileage fee due to the distance. My fees are here: http://www.idoidos.com/feesandfaqs.html. I have been doing about 20 - 40 ceremonies a year for the last 4 years.

Joe

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And, for some strange reason, I keep adding the words "Mr. Grainger" to the end of the topic title whenever I read it....

Glass of water for Mr. Mererdog! :)

Edited by Belenos

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When doing weddings, it is very important to charge something. You need not charge a lot, but it can't be free. This is for your dealings with the Internal Revenue Service. If your services are free, you have a hobby. If you bring in an income as a working clergy person -- the IRS regards you as a business person. As such -- you have legitimate business expenses.

Think of all the money you spend on books about how to do weddings and funerals. The ceremonial robes. Clergy shirts. Candles and incense. All the rest of it. All of it is now a legitimate business expense -- if you have a real income. Even a pathetic income. It just has to be a real income.

Do you have to travel to perform the ceremony? Business exense. Do you have to eat while you're on the road? Business expense. Do you need to stay at a hotel? Business expense.

Did you become a $10. saint? $20. Doctor of Divinity? Would you like to invest in a chapel or office space?

Only an accountant will be able to figure out your savings. (The accountant is also a deductable expense.) The tax code was created for the benefit of business people. I suggest you play the game. Be cheap if you want, but not free.

:dirol:

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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