Firstly, what we are both doing is sharing anecdotes. Neither of us is providing statistically relevant information. Secondly, saying what I am sharing is a story could be interpreted as it being fictional.
Lastly, I am saying that many do charge for weddings and I know at least one couple who nearly didn’t get married in the church because of the reluctance of priests to lower the amount at all.
Now, we can add all sorts of variables into the discussion (heritage listing, parish chosen, etc.). However, it doesn’t change the fact that such a set fee can be a deterrent especially if a registry office wedding costs $400. Being charitable doesn’t mean not having a fee at all, it means being open that some won’t be able to financially carry that burden and therefore might choose to get married in the registry office.
Many a thread here talks about the end of Christianity. We aren’t helping. Some who may be marginally attached to a parish and their faith, we could lose forever. Getting married in the church shouldn’t be seen as a luxury but for many it is becoming that way, at least mentally.