When you’re planning a wedding, you have to account for a wide range of costs. If your budget is tight, simply handling the necessities might be incredibly difficult. As a result, you might start trying to find a free wedding officiant as a means of keeping the financial side of the equation reasonable. If you’re looking for a free wedding officiant, here are some options worth exploring.
Ask a Friend or Family Member
One of the simplest ways to find a free wedding officiant is to ask a friend or family member to perform the ceremony. They may be open to the idea of doing it without being paid a fee, as it allows them to have a significant role in your big day.
Now, there are processes your friend or family member needs to follow to be able to act as a wedding officiant. Usually, they’ll either need to be legally ordained or request a one-time temporary license.
While it may seem like getting ordained would be complicated, that isn’t the case. There are a few ministries that allow someone to apply online and can provide any needed paperwork fairly quickly. However, you need to research local laws regarding the process to ensure that the ministry meets the requirements. Additionally, there can be a fee associated with either becoming ordained or getting copies of any documents.
With the one-time license, the process is usually fairly straightforward, though its exact nature can also vary depending on the state or county requirements. As a result, it’s best to research the process in advance to learn more about what needs to happen and any associated costs.
Speak with a Member of Your Religious Organization
If you attend a particular church, synagogue, or other religious institution, you may be able to secure a free wedding officiant. While most religious organizations do charge fees for the service, some may be willing to do so at no cost in some situations. If you are experiencing a notable financial hardship or have extenuating circumstances, it may not hurt to ask.
Ask for the Cost to Be Covered as a Gift
If the main reason you want to find a free wedding officiant is that you’re dealing with an incredibly tight budget, asking friends or family members to chip in for an officiant in lieu of other gifts may be worth considering. It may allow you to get your preferred officiant without having to spend money you may not have available.
On average, a wedding officiant costs between $150 and $200. Since the cost isn’t incredibly high, one or more wedding guests may be willing to split the cost as a gift, or your wedding party might be open to covering the expense as a present to the couple.
Go with a Justice of the Peace for a Low-Cost Wedding
If you can’t find a free wedding officiant. Then you may want to consider a civil ceremony at a local courthouse or city hall. By going that route, your ceremony will be performed by a Justice of the Peace (or judge). This is often for far less than a regular officiant.
In some cases, a Justice of the Peace may be willing to travel to your ceremony location. Thus, suggesting it is in the local area. However, that isn’t always available and may come with a higher price tag.
While the price can vary. Justice of the Peace weddings often cost about $100. In some areas, it may be closer to $50. As a result, it’s worth exploring if you can’t find a free officiant.
Do you have any other tips that can help couples find a free wedding officiant? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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