Is $700 a lot to pay to a Parish to get married?

My Fiancee are paying $700 (out of our own pocket of course because the parents think everything Church related should be free because the Church just wants money) to get married in Church.

Does that seem high for a Catholic Church w/ full nuptial Mass?


Our parish didn’t charge my husband and I for our marriage at the church. Our parish priest knew that we were completely and utterly broke, and to try and repay the community, we donated a lot of our time volunteering and such in return.

My experience with the Catholic church is “do what you can” and “focus on your need to give, not giving to a need”. Whenever there has been a “preset donation amount” for a service, it’s always been flexible or they’ve given us a break. It’s nice to be able to give what the Church or parish really needs, but some of us just don’t have the means, and can only do what we can.

Maybe if you talk to your parish priest and let them know that you don’t exactly have that kind of money, they can work something out for you…I would understand the amount of the donation they are asking for if the ceremony is going to be large, and you are renting the hall or something…hmmm. My experiences have been that they are pretty flexible. But you have to ask.

I think it depends on the overall amount of money you’re spending on the wedding. If you’re able to do a $40k event, for instance, I don’t think $700 is unreasonable. If you can only afford, say, $50 for the marriage license and nothing else, than $700 is obviously way too much. :wink:

I don’t think it sounds that high, but I’m thinking of the numerous costs to the church. I’ve heard that that the mere deposit is a couple of grand in some churches.

There could be an extra person who must open and close the church. There is the cost of heating/lighting it when it might now otherwise be open. They may have to pay someone to clean before/after too. I imagine they have to provide some type of wedding coordinator to tell your group what to do, where things are, etc.

Just because something is at a church does not mean it costs nothing. If someone can afford to buy a dress and have a reception, then I think that defraying the cost to the parish is not too much to ask also. They would give someone the sacrament of marriage even if they could not afford to have a ceremony with dresses and things before a group of people, but if we can manage to spend money on other things then I think we should spend it on the church also.

There are a lot of variables that go into this, and it really doesn’t sound that unreasonable. Does this include paying for the music, altar servers, coordinator, clean-up, etc. or is it just for the use of the Church? Is this your or your fiancee’s parish? Are you active in the parish? If one or both of you are active in the parish and the pastor knows you well, it may be possible for them to give you a break on the fee.

I know that a lot of churches have such a high fee to try to prevent couples from just picking the prettiest church instead of truly wanting to celebrate the sacrament. Our pastor was willing to work with us on some things because he knew that even though we were fairly new to the area, we were at Mass every Sunday, signed up for a weekly adoration hour, and were looking for other ways to get involved in parish life. Even if you’re not able to pay less for use of the Church, $700 is not all that bad. Some of the Churches in our area charge significantly more than that.

While I didn’t have to pay to get married in my church(although we did give a donation to the church and a stipend to the Priest), I had friends that got married in New Orleans. Every church there requires that you pay a fee to get married, and there was usually a reduced fee if you were a member. The reduced fee was around $700 for the church they got married in. They told me that the more beautiful the church was, the higher the fee that was asked. Which leads me to believe that it was being employed as a method of church shopping for a wedding. If you have problems with it, I would talk to the pastor and find the reasons why.

No, doesn’t include any music- thats an extra $450 (also out of our own pockets).

Yeah I’m a bit annoyed at the parents selective interpretation of tradition- they are the ones saying the Church should be free otherwise they go on about how its all about money.

When one reserves the parish church (small “c”), one also figures in the following:

  • air conditioning or heat.
  • lights.
  • cleaning crew.
  • carpet cleaning or floor polishing.
  • getting to decorate within reasonable standards as governed by the parish board.

And although technically speaking, anybody can come to any sacrament, most people wouldn’t think of “intruding” on the church during “your” time.

$700 in an area with high electrical or natural gas rates might be about right. The average here is $500, but in the City, it can run as much as $1500.

PS: If you are having a simple wedding, such as a priest, two witnesses and close relatives in between one of the reguarly scheduled Masses, you might get off cheaper.

It’s Assumption Parish, downtown Chicago.

This is a sore spot with me so bear with me please:

I beleive (personal opinion) that a church should only ask what will cover their legitimate expenses for electricity…janitor service etc.

What does a church “charge” for a Baptism? How about a Funeral? Why is it that the Sacrament of Marriage seems fair game to ask for more money? Maybe I’m being unfair here. My sister wanted to get married in her church and they wanted $900 plus she had to be a registered parishioner for two years.

Anyway, maybe I’m wrong here and I’m willing to take the heat if I am…it just seems like the church seems to be in a position where they could be profiting and that seems wrong to me.


I think $700 **IS **too much. Are they saying every Mass costs $700? Are they hiring a “clean up crew” and carpet cleaners/floor polishers after every single Mass? I was married in a big, beautiful gothic-style church. Suggested donation to the priest, $100. They gave us a list of church-approved organists in the area and it was up to us to contact one and arrange a price. One altar server was provided, but altar servers are a ministry, not “hired help.” It is a priviledge for those children to be picked to serve in a wedding, or at least that was the attitude at my parish.

I also happen to believe that the church should be open all day every day (not necessarily throughout the night, but definitely during daylight hours), including lighting and heating or A/C, for those faithful who wish to come visit Jesus in the tabernacle. So I’m not seeing how a church would incur a $700 heating bill for having the heat on for one hour during a nuptial Mass.

I’m with you, Monicad. The more I think about this the more annoyed I get! :mad:

I can see what you’re saying. Here’s my take. :smiley:

I was not charged for Baptisms, and I don’t know about Funerals yet, but it seems to me that there are 2 basic issues in the difference between Matrimony and the other Sacraments.

One, people are not likely to spend outrageous amounts of money on Baptisms the way they do on weddings. If all Sacraments are equally holy, why wouldn’t people spend the same amount of money each time? Unfortunately, in our society, the amount of money someone spends on something is a general indicator of how important they think something is. So, if a church wedding is important, why wouldn’t someone be willing to devote a nice chunk of their wedding budget to it? I mean, if someone really wants the dress, the cake, the chocolate fountain, the personalized coffee stirrers, and all that jazz, they should happily pay for the church. Money is generally how our society attaches value to something.

Two, I don’t think most people in most parishes in the US give what they really can afford when the collection basket is offered. If our parishes had more community support, they might be able to offer everyone a free pass, no matter what the size of the wedding is. I would much rather have free RCIA programs, free Baptisms, etc. Since funds are limited, they have to be wisely distributed.

I was married in July of this year and our church cost us $800. That was with a parishoner discount. Had we not been parishoners it would have cost $300 or $400 more. This cost includes stipends for priest, cantor, organist, altar boys and use of church. I think it may have cost us more than $800 since we had the Deacon also preside with Father. We thought it was worth it since for us the Mass is the focal point not the reception. Overall I the wedding probably cost less than $4000 with food and reception hall rental, wedding dress, etc…

We had two family weddings this summer - the church was in use by the wedding party far more than one hour for the service…

As most parishoners do not have keys to the building, someone has to be there to unlock and be around for little things that come up.

The church had to be opened at least twice during the “planning” stages while the bride and her mom and the entourage decided on flowers and other such things.

The building had to be open for the wedding rehersal, this was at least 2 hours of time. Then came decorating the Church, that was another 2 + hours of time before the wedding.

The church also had to open classrooms/parish hall for dressing rooms.

Pictures? Those took 2 hours before the guests could come in to be seated - guests began arriving 30 minutes before the wedding.

After the wedding, there were MORE pictures, that was at least another hour.

Then came clean up - our family did the clean up after my neice’s wedding, we had about 10 people pitch in and it took an hour.

Just above, I’ve accounted for 12 hours of time the church and property were at the disposal of the wedding party PLUS 10 man-hours of cleaning time.

AC, personell, insurance, electricity, water, toliet paper, soap, cleaning supplies - a fill blown wedding is more than just an hour for Mass.

Completely agree. I understand that we should give an offering for a priest’s time, etc…but, I’m not seeing the need for $700 ‘stipend’ either. That’s quite a stipend! I want to get into the marrying business. (Kidding):wink:

$200-300 is reasonable. $700, I would need an explanation in writing, as to why. “Sacraments” are not for sale, let alone, with that much of a pricetag. Just my thoughts.

My daughter was married this last may. They gave 250dollar deposit that was refunded after the wedding took place. This is a very large parish in Houston and they charge a deposit to avoid people booking the church and the changing their minds later. My other daughter was to be married in July and that church also charged a 250 deposit that would be refundable. A lot depends on if you are a registered member of the parish and if the prist know you. In the case of my daughter in Houston the prist knew them was willing to do alot more for them.

I agree that we do not pay for baptism or funerals or confirmation so why weddings. I am a member of St Vincent De Paul in Petaluma , Calif. which is on of the most beautiful churches around. my daughter could not be married there unless she wanted to wait over 2 years. That is also rediculas. Most churches will not marry if you are not a member of the parish.Which makes it hard if your church is book over 2 years in advance.

That is a good idea…to hold it as a deposit…makes sense. The Catholic Church needs to be careful as to not appear as a business, when it comes to serving as a conduit for receiving the Sacraments. My children received their Sacraments, and there is money involved, because I had to pay for their religious classes, but that is to be expected, as it takes books, time of the ‘volunteer’ teaching staff, lights and heat to remain on in the school (this is when I lived up north) so…that makes sense. Asking for $700 for a wedding is not right, in my eyes.

that seems like a lot!! We only had to put a refundable deposit to use the parish hall for the reception. We got that back if nothing was damaged.
We used their cantor and pianist and priest (obviously). But we didn’t have to pay for any of that.

We paid for our whole wedding and didn’t spend more than 2K (including dress/tuxes), well my FIL bought our cake and offered to do catering but we opted to just use a cake.

As I’m sure any Priest would tell you… the Sacrament of Marriage can take place during any regular Mass or with just the couple/Priest and 2 witnesses.

The cost is to cover the expenses associated with having a building available for a full wedding and all that entails (time, utilities and personel).

With the time line from my experience, this works out to less than $35 per hour. I don’t think you could get exclusive use of a skating rink or very many places for that kind of rate!

Did this include anything besides the building such as organist, vocalist, parish hall for reception? It would be easier to make an assessment if we knew this.

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