Question: We are planning a simple vow renewal/marriage blessing for our parents 50th Anniversary. We are lucky that the Bishop of a neighboring Diocese, and old family friend (he officiated my wedding and my siblings) is able to come to officiate. He will be traveling about 75 miles. What is the proper etiquette for paying him for coming. We will be having it at a local restaurant and of course paying for his meal. But, I feel we need to pay him more. Just not sure of what would be proper for a Bishop.
50 years is certainly something to be celebrated. Congrats!
Just to be clear, a blessing of the marriage is a completely different ceremony than the vow renewal so you’ll want to be sure about what ceremony you’re having. (You can read abut these ceremonies on the pages of this website from the left side of this age under ceremonies) I’d suspect that it would be a vow renewal, unless you parents never were married i the church and want the Bishop to bless their marriage in church. make sure the parents are aware of this so they can ask the Bishop for the correct ceremony.
(Also, for others who may be reading this post, since a vow renewal is not a legal or religious service, there is no need for a priest, pastor, minister or officiant, though it’s nice to have one of those if you can)
Typically, a man if the cloth sets a fee for his services. However, if he is a friend and has agreed to provide his services as a friend of the family, then including him in the dinner and festivities is expected, and generous. If you’d like to offer more, consider a donation to his church in his name. many officiants/priests/ministers won’t accept a personal cash tip The amount is really up to you. A typical amount is $75 – $100.
Please offer my sincerest Happy Anniversary wishes to your parents. I’m sure they are terrific role models for marriage.
Thanks for your reply. Having the Bishop there is going to be a complete surprise to my parents. They know that we are planning the vow renewal, but I didn’t tell them the Bishop was coming… We knew him as our Priest years ago, then he moved to a neighboring diocese and became a Bishop. My mom will be very surprised to see him. We are excited about celebrating this special occasion with our parents. Thanks for your suggestions.
Ah, I see. As long as your parents know about the ceremony and are able to agree to it and make it personal for them then it’s a nice surprise. Sometimes children of the anniversary couple think it’s a nice surprise to plan the whole thing and spring it on them. But, we’ve received feedback from some couples that they were surprised, but not in a pleasant way. Sometimes couples want to plan their own ceremony and have time to write their own vows. And, in some cases, one or the other parent didn’t want the renewal at all! Al responses have to be considered.
Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now
Great advice! And, this is something truly to celebrate. It is also wonderful that the Bishop could attend and perform the ceremony.
FYI: you mentioned purchasing the Bishop’s dinner, which is proper. It is also proper to pay for all of your guests’ meals as well. You probably know this, but it is best to mention it anyway.