Etiquette

When the officiant says they don't want to be paid

blabla89blabla89 Atlanta member
Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
Do you give them a gift anyway?

Our officiant and his wife are good friends of mine. He's the pastor of the church I attended in college and I visit with his wife regularly. He said that he doesn't want any payment or gift, since we're friends, and his family would be attending our wedding even if he weren't officiating. Still, we've budgeted to pay the officiant and since he's a friend, we wouldn't feel right about not giving him anything as a thank you. Giving cash seems a little gauche, but we were thinking of sending a thank you note after the wedding with a gift certificate for dinner at a very nice restaurant. Does this sound okay, or should we take him at his word and not give anything? What's the proper etiquette for this situation?
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Re: When the officiant says they don't want to be paid

  • What about making a donation to his church?
  • nhs226 said:

    What about making a donation to his church?

    This is a good idea. As much as I would definitely love to at least give a gift as a thank you, given the circumstances it might come off as a little rude to deliberately ignore their request. If you wanted to, you could say "Since you said you did not want any payment or gift for officiating, I would love to make a donation to the church. That way, everybody wins." I think this is a thoughtful compromise and since even he knows a donation will benefit the church as a whole, he won't be offended at all.
    indianaalum[Deleted User]
  • My officiant (a Rabbi) was a cousin of my mothers (my first cousin, once removed) who would have been invited anyway. He absolutely refused payment (it was his gift) so instead I made a nice ($250) contribution to his synagogue in his honor.
  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper

    nhs226 said:
    What about making a donation to his church?
    Forgot to add - he also said no donation, which is what we had initially planned and intended to give to the church's new building fund. I guess either way it's ignoring his wishes, but I still wouldn't feel right about not giving anything. So should I give the donation anyway? Would this be the most appropriate way to go?
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  • allispainallispain member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited November 2014
    My personal view is that if he specifically requested that no gift be given, you honor that wish. The way I see it, it's as if his role at your wedding is their gift to you - you don't give a gift to someone just because they gave you a gift. Had he not been so specific (no payment, no gift, no donation), then I think giving them something would have been lovely. However, I think it would be rude to blatantly ignore his request.

    That being said, you can always give a nice donation to his church in honor of your first anniversary or something along those lines. That would help compensate while still honoring his wishes now.

    ETA - typing is hard without coffee
    image
    mollybarker11tammym1001
  • At least send a nice card with a heartfelt message inside. Your kind sentiments will be compensation enough if he's adamant on not receiving anything at all
    cafarriemollybarker11MadHops21
  • sophhabobophasophhabobopha The Midwestern tundra member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I think the gift card would be fine. (:
    image
  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    This would be hard for me because I don't like to be indebted to people but I would respect his wishes but keep an eye out for the next time I could be generous to him or a fundraising cause of his that I believed in in the very near future. I would write a heartfelt note of thanks for sure, of course, though.
  • Our officiant was a minister at my H's family's church. We gave him a check, and he said he didn't accept payment for doing weddings.

    He asked if he could donate it to the church, we said of course.

  • melbensomelbenso Hoth, apparently member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited December 2014
    If the officiant really doesn't want to be paid and doesn't want a donation to the church either (and I assume wouldn't want/you think would be offended by a gift card or thank you gift either), I would just send him/her a nice thank you card. 
    image
  • I agree - a thank you note appears to be the way to go. If you think he would like it you could also send a nicely framed photo of him and his wife, or him and the two of you frok the when you get your pics back, but even that feels a little strange given his insistence against a gift.
  • RosieC18 said:
    I agree - a thank you note appears to be the way to go. If you think he would like it you could also send a nicely framed photo of him and his wife, or him and the two of you frok the when you get your pics back, but even that feels a little strange given his insistence against a gift.
    Maybe, but the framed picture is more of a "token" than a "gift".  It's almost like receiving a candle as a gift for attending a shower; a favor for my VIPs that I'm sending out after the wedding.
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