My son is getting married and our parish is charging $450 for use of the church and $200 for the wedding coordinator. Why do parishes charge for weddings?
Parishes charge wedding (and funeral) fees to help cover the costs of maintaining and running the physical structure of the parish and paying its employees. There are basic costs that go with running any structure: electricity, heating/cooling, water, cleaning, maintenance, etc. Weekend collections alone are often not enough to cover all those costs as well as save for emergencies. The salaries for organists or music directors are often paid through a portion of wedding (and funeral) fees. For some organists and music directors their pay is directly tied to how many or how few weddings or funerals occur over the course of the year. Some parishes also make use of professional wedding coordinators whose job it is to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to what can and can’t happen at a wedding.
However, all that being said, if a couple is unable to afford the parish’s wedding fee that should in no way prevent them from having a wedding or even music at the wedding. It is not the sacrament that is being sold, rather the parish is merely asking those who can to help maintain the parish and its ability to minister effectively.