How to Find a Catholic Priest for A Wedding: Complete Guide

Picking a wedding officiant is important when planning for the wedding ceremony. Nowadays, spouses have a wide range of selection of wedding officiants to choose from, from friends ordained as ministers to religious clergymen. For Catholic spouses, their wedding officiant is most likely to be a priest, bishop, or deacon, depending on their parish.

So, how do you find a catholic priest for a wedding? Most spouses for Catholic weddings usually use the priest at their local parish. He is a familiar face, and he knows them from the congregation; hence, seems like an excellent choice to officiate the wedding. Sometimes personal preferences when planning the wedding will influence the catholic priest to officiate at the wedding.

Most parishes have websites, if you do not go to church quite often, you can browse these websites to find a church that suits your preferences.

A catholic priest offers other services to the spouses in addition to officiating the wedding. A lot of things influence how couples select a priest to officiate their wedding. Read on to find out more about finding a priest to officiate your wedding and if you are allowed to tip your priest after the wedding ceremony.

How to Find a Catholic Priest for A Wedding

A catholic wedding ceremony is a once in a lifetime event that takes a lot of time to plan. Most catholic couples prefer to hold their wedding ceremony in their local parish. They are familiar with their parish’s rules and regulations regarding weddings and what the priest can and cannot allow in a wedding ceremony.

You need a catholic priest that will make you and your partner feel comfortable. Planning for a wedding can be stressful and might take a toll on the emotional strength of the couple. During the wedding ceremony, a good priest will make sure you feel comfortable. If you have trouble saying your vows from memory, the priest will guide you through it.

Catholic weddings usually last up to an hour. The wedding guests need to be engaged throughout the wedding ceremony to avoid getting bored. A priest can keep the guests engaged to the proceedings by cracking a joke in between events. Most spouses would prefer a fun-loving catholic priest rather than a dull priest.

There different types of spouses in a catholic wedding. There are those devout spouses who do not miss a single mass service, while there are those spouses who attend mass once or twice a year. If you are a devout catholic, you might want a traditional wedding ceremony.

Most catholic churches do not deviate from traditional wedding ceremonies. If you want a traditional wedding ceremony, then getting the conservative priest from your local parish to officiate your wedding could be best for you.

For those catholic spouses who do not go to church quite often they prefer having a more customized wedding ceremony to suit their preferences. The church will control the new traditions you would like to add to your ceremony.

The priest will decide if you can do certain things at your wedding or not. Hence, when planning for the wedding, what the priest allows you to add to your wedding ceremony might determine if you want him to officiate your wedding or not.

When it comes to interfaith weddings, most priests will request the catholic spouses to fulfill or promise to fulfill certain conditions to officiate the wedding. The most common condition a catholic priest will request is the raising of the future children.

If you are an interfaith couple and want a catholic wedding, the priest will request that you promise to raise the children in the catholic faith. So, before you chose a catholic priest to officiate your wedding, inform your non-Catholic spouse of this condition before going with the priest as your wedding officiant.

The catholic church has different guides on how women and men should dress during mass and other ceremonies. In a wedding ceremony, most catholic churches require the bride to wear a wedding dress that covers her shoulders and knees.

The groom is required to dress in an official manner, mostly a tuxedo or suit. Men are also not allowed to show shoulders and knees, so sleeveless shirts and shorts are not suitable as wedding attire.

Sometimes the best wedding dress a bride will pick for a wedding would be a strapless wedding dress that shows her shoulders. A conservative priest will not agree to officiate your wedding if you are wearing a strapless wedding dress unless you get another one. Other priests will request that you cover your shoulder during the ceremony, while a few others are okay with the strapless wedding dress.

The dress choices for your wedding will influence how you select a catholic priest to officiate your wedding. If your dress choices are more traditional, you will not have to look far for a priest.

If your choices for the wedding dress are more modern, then you might have to look harder. You might spend a considerable amount of time finding a catholic priest that will allow you to wear a strapless wedding dress.

A key role of a catholic priest in a wedding apart from officiating is offering advice. There are a few things regarding the wedding that you might need the help of the priest. These include selecting the wedding vows and the readings.

A catholic priest will advise you on picking the best vows and readings that suit you and your spouse. Hence, choosing a catholic priest as a wedding officiant is best since they offer more than just witnessing you say your vows.

A personal relationship with the priest can influence a spouse to pick him as a wedding officiant. It is possible for a catholic or a non-Catholic to have a personal relationship with the priest outside the church.

Nowadays, many spouses prefer to have a close person to officiate their wedding. If your close friend or relative is a priest, then it will not be a difficult search to find a wedding officiant.

The venue of the wedding could also affect your choice when finding a catholic priest to officiate at your wedding. You may want to have your wedding outside of the church, at a place that holds something special to you, like the first meeting your spouse.

The catholic church law says that a marriage should be celebrated in the parish or in another place with permission from the priest or bishop.

This law leaves it to the discretion of the priest to decide whether he can allow the wedding to happen outside of the parish. If your local priest is conservative, he will not allow you to hold your wedding ceremony elsewhere.

You will have to celebrate your wedding in the church or try and find another priest who will allow it. Many priests are reluctant to allow outdoor weddings; hence your search might be long and tiresome before you find one.

For a non-Catholic spouse, you are not in luck as a priest cannot officiate your wedding. The catholic church law requires a marriage to be between two catholic for it to be considered valid before the eyes of the church. This law has been changed to include interfaith couples.

The non-Catholic spouse who invites a priest to officiate a wedding does it out of sentiment. This means that he only attends the wedding for the appearance as he cannot perform at a non-Catholic wedding.

A catholic priest plays a crucial role in celebrating a marriage in a catholic church. The priest who officiates at a catholic marriage does a lot more than just attending the wedding ceremony.

The presence of a catholic priest does not essentially make the marriage valid in the eyes of the catholic church. He can attend the wedding as a guest, but he will not do a lot in making the marriage valid.

Do You Tip a Catholic Priest for A Wedding?

The services of the priest regarding the wedding are free. You are not required to pay the priest any money to officiate at your wedding. However, it is customary for a couple to offer a stipend (tip) or donation to the priest. It is not a must, and the decision to tip a priest is left to the couple.

The catholic church has a strict rule forbidding the buying and selling of sacred things. However, there are several categories in a catholic wedding ceremony that will require either fees or donations from the couple.

The couple is required to pay a fee for the music minister, singers, wedding director, and others. The couple can also make donations to the church at which they are having their wedding ceremony.

It is proper etiquette to thank the priest for officiating the wedding. The priest will spend considerable time on your wedding, advising you on marriage, wedding vows, readings, and many others. Hence it is not out of the norm to tip the priest to show your appreciation for their time spend on planning and executing your wedding.

The amount of the tip or stipend varies depending on several things. The first being the church’s policy regarding payments and donations. Some churches discourage congregants from offering any money directly to the clergy. Any payments or donations should be to the church, where it will decide what to do with the funds.

If your wedding is held in a church with such a policy, then it best to use the tip as a donation to the church. If the church allows the clergy to receive any form of payment, then go ahead to offer them a tip for their services.

The priest’s involvement in the wedding will determine the amount of money they will receive as a tip. The more time a priest spends on the wedding, the higher the tip should be. In a catholic wedding, a priest can carry out several duties like interviewing the spouses, offering prenuptial advice, helping in selecting the wedding vows and readings in addition to officiating the wedding. If the priest carries out all these duties, then he deserves a higher tip compared to a priest that only officiated the wedding.

The type of wedding ceremony will also determine the amount of money a priest shall receive as a tip for his services. Spouses want the best wedding ceremony to mark the start of their marriage. Nowadays, your budget will dictate the type of wedding ceremony you will have.

A small budget will result in a simple small wedding, and a vast budget will result in an extravagant wedding. If you have a small wedding, that means the tip expected from you is relatively small. If your wedding is extravagant, then your tip should match how your wedding ceremony appears.

The closeness of the priest to the spouses will also influence the amount of tip. If you are close to the priest, it can be easy to determine how much you will tip them. Meeting the priest for the first time could make it difficult to decide the amount of money to tip.

Sometimes due to the closeness, a priest might decline to take the tip because of the strong relationship. If it is the first time meeting the priest, then you can try other methods to decide how much you will tip him.

You can talk to other people in the church when deciding the priest’s tip. When planning the wedding, look for other couples who had their wedding officiated by the same priest.

Try and find out how much they tipped the priest. You should also compare the services offered by the priest to other couples and their tip. This will make it easy for you to come up with a suitable amount to tip the priest.

When planning the wedding ceremony, you will interact with different church leaders. When you talk to the church secretary or wedding director, ask them how much worth of a tip the priest usually takes. Ask about the standard rates or expectations. Take your time to research the amount to tip or donate shows your respect and appreciation for the priest.

It is also important to plan on paying a good amount. There is a strong chance that the priest could give a tip as a donation to one of the church’s projects. Try and make the amount enough to make a difference in whatever the priest will decide to spend the tip on.

If you are on a small budget, do not strain and tip more than you can afford. Sometimes the gesture is enough to show appreciation regardless of the amount.

There are other ways you can show appreciation for your priest’s services other than money payments. You can provide a meal for everyone at your wedding ceremony, rather than feeding the guests at the wedding reception only.

You can also offer a meal to your officiating priest. It does not have to happen immediately after the wedding ceremony. You can invite him to lunch or dinner at a later date after the wedding ceremony. 

You can also offer to volunteer at your local parish as a way of saying thank you to the priest and the church. If the church does not allow the clergy to take tips, volunteering could be the best way to show appreciation.

Find out the projects the church has and pick the one you see you can help. Take a few hours of your time to help out; the priest does not even need to know that you are volunteering at the church.

Writing a note can also be a good way of saying thank you to your priest. It does not have any monetary value, but it will show how much you appreciate the time the priest took to help you with your wedding. Writing a note is personal and endearing; the priest will appreciate it and will be willing to help you as you go on with your marriage.

One important thing to note is that donations and stipends should be placed in clearly marked envelopes. The envelopes should state the intended recipient of the donation or tip. Church leaders are not supposed to share or divide any stipend among themselves. You should also give the tip or donation a day before the wedding ceremony.


A religious wedding officiant is a perfect person to officiate the wedding of a devout religious member. If you and your spouse are Catholics, picking a priest to officiate your wedding will be easy. It is easy to get a priest to perform at a traditional catholic wedding.

There are other issues that will influence your choice of a catholic priest, for example, personal wedding ceremony preferences, interfaith marriage, personal relationships, among others.

The catholic church prohibits the buying and selling of something spiritual or closely connected with the spiritual. This law is known as simony. You cannot pay to receive the sacrament of marriage, but you can tip the priest for other services he provided while planning for the wedding. You should also research the church’s policy on receiving payments before offering your priest a tip after the wedding ceremony.

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