Wedding $$$$$


#1

Ever hear of this?

Family is regular active member in St. X parish for 25 or 30 years. Daughter and son attend that elementary school, etc. Daughter goes to college, gets job in another town and moves away.

Now daughter is 25 and wants to get married at St. X parish because that’s her “home” and is where all her family and friends are anyway.

Parish says, “oh, you are not a member of our parish. The fee for a non-member wedding is $1200!”

I couldn’t believe it was true. Of course this is a somebody told somebody who told me deal so I can’t say for sure this was the deal.

But isn’t the use if the church for weddings normally free or nominal fee?


#2

You are paying for the use of a air conditioning, cleaning, putting a building out of use for other events. You may also be paying for the use of a singer, organ, etc. There are lots of things you are paying for.

It is normal to charge for use of the church. Now if the church normally doesn’t charge parishoners and is just charging the person as a non-parisioner because they left for college and now came back that is another thing. The key is has the family itself been registered there the entire time. If so you may want to talk directly to the priest/pastor. If it is just a administrative assistant telling you that, they may be wrong. If you explain things to the pastor, he may say something different.

$1200 does sound a little high, does that include the use of a reception hall also or just the church.


#3

Are parents still members of the parish? If so, was it clear to the office staff that it was the parents’ parish? Typically, one is able to marry from one’s parents’ parish at “member prices”. Maybe $1500 is the member price, but, it does seem pretty steep.


#4

This is very common. For example, the cathedral nearest to me charges $200 for the Church + $600 for the reception hall for parishioners wishing to marry there. Non-parishioners will expect to pay $400 for the Church + $1500 for the reception hall. Those outside of the diocese are charged $500 for the Church and $1500 for the reception hall! There’s also a clean-up fee of $500 no matter who you are and, of course, there’s a “customary” $20/altar server and a “gift” for the priest/deacon.

I doubt you wanted all the numbers, but I’m planning a wedding over here and I’m definitely looking at the numbers!!


#5

The Church used to be free but somewhere around the mid to late nineties a lot of churches started charging for use of the Church. There is a very long thread going on about this over in the sacrament forums.

Musicians and priests have always been paid.


#6

Hi,
Not trying to hijack, but I have a question -
I thought you had to be a member to get married in a particular church, and if you weren’t a member, then you had to have permission from a Bishop or something to use a different church?
Just trying to understand…I would think that if that’s the family church, then I don’t understand why they would look at this bride as not a part of their membership…


#7

No, you can get married in any Catholic church but you still need to go through the pre-Cana classes. The pastor at the church you are getting married at needs to have some type of proof that you are properly prepared to receive. A perfect example is that if you wanted to get married in say, St. Lucia. You can go through the training at your home parish and get married in the cathedral in St. Lucia. Of course you still have to go through the legal requirements and find out from them what paperwork is required for proof from your home parish, but it can be done. Also the fees charged by the church may be higher for a non-parishoner.

Now a wedding on the beach would be an entirely different matter, then you would need a dispensation from a Bishop.


#8

I find the practice of “charging” church use not good.

I’ve been a member of my parish for over 40 years. I have contributed every week to the coffers, and volunteer my time as much as I can to various projects, and now they gonna bill be for the church??

My 28 year old bachelor son holds 2 memberships, in the city where he works, and home. He is home often, and has many friends in the parish and elsewhere in the community. He enjoys being a bachelor, and has dated Catholic and non Catholic girls. Of course he prefers Catholic girls, but you never know.

The last time we discussed this, if the girl is non Catholic, the topic is not open for discussion. It will be a Catholic wedding in our parish, or there will be no wedding. If the young lady is Catholic, in say the town he works, (but same diocese) the location can be worked out.

His roots go deep in our parish, he was baptized there, altar server, First Communion, and Confirmation, grandparents funeral Mass, and even the church his mother and father were married. If they charge me to “use” the church for his wedding, I’m gonna jump and down.


#9

I agree with you until I hear people (usually the brides) saying, “I want to get married at St XYZ, because it is soooo pretty and it will look so nice in my pictures” Keep in mind they don’t go to St. XYZ not contribute to them. They just want the LOOK for the wedding. Usually these are the parishes that charge the outrageous amounts to be married at.


#10

First off I find it funny that people want to spend thousands on church receptions but they don’t want to pay a cent to the church that is actually doing the ceremony odd, but that is a different topic.

Honestly whether a church “charges” for use of the church or not depends on where the church is and whether it is a destination church or not. If it is a small church where the majority of parishoners pay their “fair share” then the church doesn’t usually charge for parishoners to get married. As the number of people that get married there that don’t pay their “fair share” goes up the amount the church needs to charge goes up.

Of course you can always have a wedding with just the priest, the couple, and two witnesses for free.


#11

Very true…


My church charged me $300 (but we were parishioners, I don’t know what it would have been if we weren’t). And that went mostly to the organ player, because it has a *real *organ in it, that takes a specially trained person to perform on. I know the priest said that if it was too much we could do a payment plan or if we really couldn’t afford it we didn’t have to pay in full. Maybe asking about a payment plan?


#12

Our daughter was just married at our Cathedral (we are parishioners in a local parish, but not the Cathedral parish) and she needed a letter from our pastor stating she was a member and giving permission to marry outside our parish, a letter from the officiating priest indicating that the appropriate marriage prep had taken place, etc., and a “letter of delegation” giving the officiant permission to witness the marriage in the Cathedral. I imagine something similar to this is the norm elsewhere.


#13

Our Cathedral parish charges $500 for members, $1200 for non. My brother is going to pay $800 for a non-member at another church.

Seems like in this particular case they ought to at least WORK with you.

But also - you can get married for a nominal fee during a regular weekday mass, or a private ceremony with witnesses and the priest. Of course, very few people do this or want this.


#14

I suppose the big difference is that you aren’t members of the reception hall, you haven’t donated tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of volunteer time to them over the period of 20 years, and they actually have lots of salaries and costs involved where the church pretty much will be there wether there is a wedding or not, at a habitable temperature, and won’t really be cleaned between the wedding and the Saturday afternoon mass.

But I think the answer to my OP is that this church has a pretty nice building and must think of itself as a destination. And perhaps their facility has been adopted in the past by some CEOs and that may have rubbed some regulars the wrong way.

It still astounds me they would be so foolish as to categorize the girl as a “non-member” (BTW the parents are still active there). However, I certainly can believe it, considering the feedback on this.

I remember my wedding was almost free. What a wonderful gift from my parish.


#15

I hear stories like this over and over again and still don’t want to believe they are true. Unfortunately this is not the case. This is why I have taken a standoffish attitude to things like funeral Masses - that is my own funeral Mass someday. I’ve elected not to have one so that I don’t inconvenience anyone.


#16

dozens of threads this topic on liturgy and sacraments

there is NO fee, ever, never, nada in the Catholic Church to receive sacraments.

there is often a fee for use of parish facilities to offset expenses and overhead.

there may be also a customary stipend for the services of a priest or deacon, a custom retained from the time when such stole fees were the sole income of a cleric. NO ONE will be denied the sacraments if such a donation is impossible due to real need.

if someone is not attending and not supporting the parish financially, it is reasonable for the pastor to assume he or she is not a parishioner, and hence should pay a higher fee for use of facilities which are maintained by the donations of regular, participating, contributing parishioners

an adult who has gone through college and is now living on their own should register, contribute and participate in their own parish, and ordinarily should celebrate sacraments there, ;unless they obtain their pastor’s persmission to go elsewhere


#17

First off I find it funny that people want to spend thousands on church receptions but they don’t want to pay a cent to the church that is actually doing the ceremony odd, but that is a different topic.

Honestly whether a church “charges” for use of the church or not depends on where the church is and whether it is a destination church or not. If it is a small church where the majority of parishoners pay their “fair share” then the church doesn’t usually charge for parishoners to get married. As the number of people that get married there that don’t pay their “fair share” goes up the amount the church needs to charge goes up.

I can understand paying for the church if you are just passing through.

off I find it funny that people want to spend thousands on church receptions but they don’t want to pay a cent to the church that is actually doing the ceremony odd, but that is a different topic.

What is your feeling on funeral Masses? The same guy might have a huge reception at the local Holiday Inn (I’ve been to a number of wakes that put wedding receptions in the shade) Do y’all charge a family for burying somebody? Or do ya just bill them for marriage? In y’alls church if I can afford a wake for someone deceased, I can expect a bill for “church use,” or is that policy confined only to weddings?

Country clubs, motels, catering etc operate on a per profit basis. A parish* does not.* They Parish is to serve the needs of the people. To bill a member of the parish for the use of the Church for a Sacrament is just plain wrong. I thought that was why we took up a weekly collection?

I expect the caterer to bill me, I expect the photographer to bill me, I expect the cake people to bill me, I expect the DJ to bill me, but my Church??

I thought this why we had weekly offerings?

Moot point for ME, my parish has NO such policy, we are members of our parish, not customers..


#18

How much fee can there be for a funeral???


#19

Are you listening? This girl is a few years out of college and 100 miles away from where she grew up. She knows the people from work and a handful of others in that town. Does it make any sense to you that she marry in her new “home” town?

I can just imagine the caravan down the freeway - mom, dad, gramma, friends, cousins, wedding party. Heck, you could just rent a couple of buses.


#20

In my small town the funeral director has an understanding with the local Catholic parish that a certain $$$ amount will go to the parish with every Catholic funeral Mass. The extraction of money is subtle but it is there. This is why I have chosen to go straight into a box and then into the ground. No wake - No Mass no priest at my graveside. By the way I am Catholic and as long as I go into a respectable and acceptable receptacle and into the blessed ground of a Catholic cemetary this is OK with the Catholic church.

I know what you mean about big delicious funeral receptions at fine eateries. They can be quite nice. If my family wants to do THAT when I die they have my blessing. Otherwise I am taking the no frills way to the grave.

I would choose the no frills way to matrimony at the altar rather than dish out one penny for church facilities. Gifts to individuals would be at my own discretion.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.