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Etiquette & TraditionsWedding Minister Etiquette
Etiquette has always been sort of a touchy subject, especially when it comes to weddings. Weddings are usually filled with traditions and customs and the ceremony is no exception. So it's no wonder that people are nervous about what do to with the wedding minister. Since ministers deal with a world filled with religious customs and traditions, many couples are afraid to directly ask sticky questions and yet they don't want to commit some etiquette faux pas. This is where I come in. As an insider, I'm here to help couples navigate the world of wedding minister etiquette.
Etiquette Question #1: Do we invite the minister to our rehearsal dinner? Generally, an invitation to the rehearsal dinner is not necessary even though it is a thoughtful gesture. The exception to this would be if you've known the minister for a long time or if the rehearsal dinner is being held on church property, but even then it's more of a friendly gesture and not a hard etiquette rule.
Etiquette Question #2: Do I invite the minister to our reception? This one is a little tricky. How do you tell the most important person at your ceremony that they aren't welcome to stay for dinner?
Traditionally, it's proper to invite the minister to the reception, especially if that person has a special connection in your life. Generally speaking, most ministers don't expect to be invited to the reception unless they have known the couple for a long time and many will only stay for cocktails and/or h'or deourves.
Etiquette Question #3: Where do we seat the minister? It's generally not required that the minister sit at the head table. Having them seated with your family, either parents, such as parents or grandparents, is a good idea especially if they are affiliated with their church.
Etiquette Question #4: Do we tip the minister? It's easy to see why this is a questions couples hate to ask. You sign a contract and pay deposits and fees just like any other vendor, but somehow it always seems strange tipping a minister like you would any other vendor. Tipping is never mandatory, it's to reward exceptional service. The minister's fee is all you're required to pay and that's all they expect from you. If you feel they have done a wonderful service, feel free to add money to an envelope to deliver to them after the ceremony is finished. Again, tipping is not required or expected for the minister.
I hope that this clears up some confusion and helps every couple navigate the wedding minister etiquette world a little better. When in doubt, however, don't be afraid to ask your minister what they are comfortable with. Don't forget that they deal with weddings all the time and although you may feel strange asking, they are comfortable answering.