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Author Topic: Proper amount of $ to give Priest/Chanters for wedding?  (Read 2423 times) Average Rating: 0
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« on: April 14, 2009, 09:38:22 AM »

Hi everyone. I had a question. What is the proper amount of money to give to the Priest and Chanters if you are married in the Orthodox Church? I know that there is probably no set amount, I would just like everyone's thoughts on this. Thanks, and God Bless!
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 09:45:41 AM »

That depends on your tradition.  We don't give anything in the Coptic Church (at least in Ontario) because that would be like buying a service.  As you have freely received, so freely give.  I think in the Armenian church we gave a token of gratitude to the Priest for baptizing our 1st daughter, but that was in the form of beer and hamburgers and christian fellowship.
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2009, 09:51:23 AM »

That depends on your tradition.  We don't give anything in the Coptic Church (at least in Ontario) because that would be like buying a service.  As you have freely received, so freely give.  I think in the Armenian church we gave a token of gratitude to the Priest for baptizing our 1st daughter, but that was in the form of beer and hamburgers and christian fellowship.
Yes, perhaps that is what I should have phrased it as, "a token of gratitude ". That is what I meant anyway. I never intended to buy the service. I know that many of the Chanters, as well as the Priest, would be taking time out of their busy lives to be there, and although I don't have much to give, I would love to show my thanks to all of them. Any thoughts?
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2009, 10:05:58 AM »

Hi everyone. I had a question. What is the proper amount of money to give to the Priest and Chanters if you are married in the Orthodox Church? I know that there is probably no set amount, I would just like everyone's thoughts on this. Thanks, and God Bless!

I gave something ($50? $75?) to the priest and an invitation to the reception. For the choir I got champaign and a party platter (many were going to the reception anyways), and a donation ($50? $75?).  We spent over a hundred on the program at Kinko's, so I couldn't justify less for the Church.
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2009, 10:11:17 AM »

i know one church that says the acceptable amount is $200, but this is a big church...

we ended up giving the priest golf tickets (which we got for free b/c we had our reception at the golf club), and an iPod. 
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2009, 10:12:36 AM »

i know one church that says the acceptable amount is $200, but this is a big church...

we ended up giving the priest golf tickets (which we got for free b/c we had our reception at the golf club), and an iPod. 

Bravo!

For one thing, don't give him a Bible or an icon.  Some people seem to forget that priests have secular pursuits as well.
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2009, 10:13:57 AM »

I gave something ($50? $75?) to the priest and an invitation to the reception. For the choir I got champaign and a party platter (many were going to the reception anyways), and a donation ($50? $75?).  We spent over a hundred on the program at Kinko's, so I couldn't justify less for the Church.
Was that $50-$75 per chanter/choir member, or just $50-$75 for all the chanters collectively? Is it proper to invite the chanters to the reception? Thanks everyone!
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2009, 10:38:10 AM »

I gave something ($50? $75?) to the priest and an invitation to the reception. For the choir I got champaign and a party platter (many were going to the reception anyways), and a donation ($50? $75?).  We spent over a hundred on the program at Kinko's, so I couldn't justify less for the Church.
Was that $50-$75 per chanter/choir member, or just $50-$75 for all the chanters collectively?
LOL.  No, collectively. It was actually to their fund.
Quote
Is it proper to invite the chanters to the reception? Thanks everyone!

Many in the choir I knew, so they had invitations because of that.  The champaign brunch thing was to make sure no one was forgotten.
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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2009, 10:42:24 AM »

I gave something ($50? $75?) to the priest and an invitation to the reception. For the choir I got champaign and a party platter (many were going to the reception anyways), and a donation ($50? $75?).  We spent over a hundred on the program at Kinko's, so I couldn't justify less for the Church.
Was that $50-$75 per chanter/choir member, or just $50-$75 for all the chanters collectively?
LOL.  No, collectively. It was actually to their fund.
Quote
Is it proper to invite the chanters to the reception? Thanks everyone!

Many in the choir I knew, so they had invitations because of that.  The champaign brunch thing was to make sure no one was forgotten.
Yeah, I about messed my pants when you said $75 to the choir Cheesy. Thanks to all for the good ideas. God Bless!
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2009, 11:53:40 AM »

Well lets see if I remember this from my wedding......

Priest: $250
Church: $300
Choir: $150 (into their fund)
Choir Director: $75

Fr. & Matushka and their children were invited to the wedding as well as the director and the entire choir. However, most of the choir didn't take us up on the offer for one reason or another.

-Nick
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2009, 12:17:26 PM »

Well lets see if I remember this from my wedding......

Priest: $250
Church: $300
Choir: $150 (into their fund)
Choir Director: $75

Fr. & Matushka and their children were invited to the wedding as well as the director and the entire choir. However, most of the choir didn't take us up on the offer for one reason or another.

-Nick
The problem with this scenario is that I don't have close to a grand to give. I suppose it would be OK to give what I can afford?
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2009, 12:47:06 PM »

Well lets see if I remember this from my wedding......

Priest: $250
Church: $300
Choir: $150 (into their fund)
Choir Director: $75

Fr. & Matushka and their children were invited to the wedding as well as the director and the entire choir. However, most of the choir didn't take us up on the offer for one reason or another.

-Nick
The problem with this scenario is that I don't have close to a grand to give. I suppose it would be OK to give what I can afford?
It would be a sin to expect more.
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2009, 12:55:56 PM »

The problem with this scenario is that I don't have close to a grand to give. I suppose it would be OK to give what I can afford?

Anyone who is ungrateful for your gift isn't worthy to receive it.  Fear not; it's between themselves and their Maker.
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2009, 01:02:16 PM »

Anyone who is ungrateful for your gift isn't worthy to receive it.  Fear not; it's between themselves and their Maker.
Thanks to everyone for the helpful, and encouraging words. You all have been a big help. God Bless.
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« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2009, 01:37:51 PM »

Gratuities don't always have to be in dollar amounts.  They can also be in services (such as lunch) or gifts.  This week, I was, surprisingly, given a gift by a parishioner who was thankful for the chanting I provided during Lent.  He gave me a book.  As a bibliophile, this was an act of kindness.  Since so much of my dollars go to books anyway, that was great.

I don't think there is such a thing as a set amount, but a gift should be given because of the time that is required to do these "extra" services.  I'm not biased or anything, though. Wink
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« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2009, 04:25:59 PM »

Well lets see if I remember this from my wedding......

Priest: $250
Church: $300
Choir: $150 (into their fund)
Choir Director: $75

Fr. & Matushka and their children were invited to the wedding as well as the director and the entire choir. However, most of the choir didn't take us up on the offer for one reason or another.

-Nick
The problem with this scenario is that I don't have close to a grand to give. I suppose it would be OK to give what I can afford?

That was exactly what I was trying to imply, although I should've been more explicit. Since God had granted me good gifts, I responded by giving back what he had given me. If I had made 1/10 of the money, I would've given whatever I was able to, its all relative to your position. The dollar amount is not significant, its the thought of the gift and the actual act of giving back to God for what he has given to you. No one will be offended by being given a small token of gratitude, they will contrarily be happy that they were able to partake in one of the sacraments and any little effort on your part will be treated as well or better than giving loads of cash.

-Nick
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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2009, 05:22:04 PM »

I know people who made a donation to SAMP in the name of the priest who married them, instead of getting him yet another "church-y" gift; he was touched by the gesture.
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2009, 08:46:33 PM »

Well lets see if I remember this from my wedding......

Priest: $250
Church: $300
Choir: $150 (into their fund)
Choir Director: $75

Fr. & Matushka and their children were invited to the wedding as well as the director and the entire choir. However, most of the choir didn't take us up on the offer for one reason or another.

-Nick

This sounds right for most Slavic Orthodox Churches.  I am Ukrainian Orthodox and belong to our cathedral in a major city.
First of all a marriage is not part of a priest's regular "work" but is a "Treba", an extra service although a joyful one.
In our church there is a set rate for membership set by the Sobor which is $100 a year for a single person and $200 for a family.  If you are a member you do not pay for the use of the church.

So the average rate for the priest for a wedding is $250 and $50 for the cantor.
If you are a member then you can request the choir.  You do not have to invite the whole choir to the wedding but you should pay for coffee and sweets after the wedding for the choir members.  Most people just assign someone in the family to bring the coffee urns and the sweets plus, paper plates and plastic utencils in the church basement.  That person also sets up the foods and clears up afterwards.

Our previous choir director was a retired music teacher and quite well off so we didn't pay him: he said he didn't need the money.  Our new choir director is a professional choir director with our church choir and 2 other choirs in the city and needs the money.  $75 as suggested above sounds good.

And the priest, his wife, cantor & wife get invited to the wedding for the meal prayers and a short speech.

If you are not a member of the church then you pay for the church too.
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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2009, 08:58:27 PM »

Hi everyone. I had a question. What is the proper amount of money to give to the Priest and Chanters if you are married in the Orthodox Church? I know that there is probably no set amount, I would just like everyone's thoughts on this. Thanks, and God Bless!

When asked this question Metropolitan Anthony of London (God rest him) would say, "See how much you are spending on the flowers and the cars and the reception, and then decide how important the priest and the church is in it all."

I know a priest (quite close to my skin) who has always hated the question, and so when really pushed for an amount he started to say, "A nice bottle of whisky."   However after receiving a few bottles of whisky of a quality with which he would not even brush his teeth, he stopped saying that.   Grin
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« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2009, 11:38:21 PM »

I have to agree with "admiralnick," Reply #9, as to Slavic Orthodox parishes.  Their priest's salaries are not too generous, though they tend to live in rectories and some of their living expenses are paid for by the parish; sacraments should be considered necessary for their reasonable remuneration.

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America parish priests, especially with 200 or more members, are paid by the GOAA Clergy Remuneration scale which is quite generous.  Gratuities for sacraments should not be considered too necessary, $60.00 to $75.00 is sufficient; -0- is not too uncommon.  I've been a nonsalaried, volunteer chanter for nearly 38 years, and I expect $35.00 to $50.00; the presiding priest sends a letter to that effect (for the chanter) to those who schedule sacraments.

Antiochian and Romanian parish priests are better remunerated than the Slavic parishes, but not as well remunerated as the Greek parishes.

People who are active parishioners, regularly giving, are not expected to come up with significant gratuities for the priests in the good sized GOAA parishes.  Those who join the parish to have a wedding or baptism performed, are expected to be more generous with their gratuities, based on my experience.  No one is expected to go beyond their means.  No gratuities are required if the gratuity would be too financially straining.  But, with people spending $15,000.00 for a wedding, $50.00 for the chanter should not be considered too much to ask, in my opinion.
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« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2009, 12:35:18 AM »

I have to agree with "admiralnick," Reply #9, as to Slavic Orthodox parishes.  Their priest's salaries are not too generous,

If you would like a quick overview of the poverty and substandard living conditions of many of the clergy and families of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad...

https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0006A&L=ORTHODOX&P=R8636
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« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2009, 12:45:05 AM »

I've been paid paid squat for singing for Weddings (and Funerals) and also paid $100 (for that Wedding, EVERYONE did - the bridal party must have had money and the choir director a con artist so to speak - I was offered the deal and didn't complain).  At my home (OCA parish), usually nothing - just get to go to the reception.  I usually get $25 when I go to SF to sing at Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral (ROCOR).  Matter of fact, since it is 50 miles away, they better or I'll stay home and take a nap or doing something I want to do.  They should be able to scrounge enough local sings in a big city.

To the original question though, yes, my experience is in line with what others have said.
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« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2009, 07:45:37 AM »

I have to agree with "admiralnick," Reply #9, as to Slavic Orthodox parishes.  Their priest's salaries are not too generous, though they tend to live in rectories and some of their living expenses are paid for by the parish; sacraments should be considered necessary for their reasonable remuneration.

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America parish priests, especially with 200 or more members, are paid by the GOAA Clergy Remuneration scale which is quite generous.  Gratuities for sacraments should not be considered too necessary, $60.00 to $75.00 is sufficient; -0- is not too uncommon.  I've been a nonsalaried, volunteer chanter for nearly 38 years, and I expect $35.00 to $50.00; the presiding priest sends a letter to that effect (for the chanter) to those who schedule sacraments.

Antiochian and Romanian parish priests are better remunerated than the Slavic parishes, but not as well remunerated as the Greek parishes.

People who are active parishioners, regularly giving, are not expected to come up with significant gratuities for the priests in the good sized GOAA parishes.  Those who join the parish to have a wedding or baptism performed, are expected to be more generous with their gratuities, based on my experience.  No one is expected to go beyond their means.  No gratuities are required if the gratuity would be too financially straining.  But, with people spending $15,000.00 for a wedding, $50.00 for the chanter should not be considered too much to ask, in my opinion.

Just be careful with this because there are GOAA parishes that DO give the priest a high salary but he lives in a very expensive part of town.  Case and point:  just about any priest in NYC is gona have this problem. 

Most churches/priests send out a letter or some kind of indicator for what the proper amount is.  Just ask your priest, he should be able to provide you with information.  (other churches you just know what is expected to give...)
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« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2009, 08:06:01 AM »

I know people who made a donation to SAMP in the name of the priest who married them, instead of getting him yet another "church-y" gift; he was touched by the gesture.

What's SAMP?

Hi everyone. I had a question. What is the proper amount of money to give to the Priest and Chanters if you are married in the Orthodox Church? I know that there is probably no set amount, I would just like everyone's thoughts on this. Thanks, and God Bless!

When asked this question Metropolitan Anthony of London (God rest him) would say, "See how much you are spending on the flowers and the cars and the reception, and then decide how important the priest and the church is in it all."

Sage advice from, well, a sage (reported by a guru, if not officially a starotz).
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« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2009, 08:13:10 AM »

I know people who made a donation to SAMP in the name of the priest who married them, instead of getting him yet another "church-y" gift; he was touched by the gesture.

What's SAMP?

Oh, sorry.  It's OCMC's "Support a Mission Priest" program.
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« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2009, 09:07:55 AM »

Great ideas guys. Thanks so much. I will keep all of them in mind. God Bless!
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« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2009, 05:20:01 PM »

I know people who made a donation to SAMP in the name of the priest who married them, instead of getting him yet another "church-y" gift; he was touched by the gesture.

What's SAMP?

Oh, sorry.  It's OCMC's "Support a Mission Priest" program.

Just thought i'd add the link to make it easier for you Isa.  http://www.ocmc.org/programs/samp.aspx
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« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2009, 06:28:46 PM »

Well lets see if I remember this from my wedding......

Priest: $250
Church: $300
Choir: $150 (into their fund)
Choir Director: $75

Fr. & Matushka and their children were invited to the wedding as well as the director and the entire choir. However, most of the choir didn't take us up on the offer for one reason or another.
-Nick

If there are acolytes, don't forget them either. I was an acolyte when I was boy and I always apprecited it when the groom or the best man slipped me a buck. Of course those were the days when I could go into the corner store with $1 and come out with a moon pie, an RC cola, a new comic book and still have a few cents left...today you should probably give'm more.
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