Gifts For Wedding Officiants
The officiant at a wedding is a very important person. After all, without him or her, you could not get legally married! Many officiants are not paid for their service, and therefore it is customary to show your appreciation with a small gift. These are some ideas about thank you gifts for wedding officiants.
The appropriate gift for your wedding officiant will depend quite a bit on your relationship with that individual. Some secular officiants may have a set stipend, but it could still be nice to give them a little something additional. A gift certificate to a nice restaurant would be a nice gift for someone that you do not know very well. For an officiant you may know a bit more about, perhaps you can tailor the gift to his or her interests. A set of golf balls and some tees would be great for the j.p. who golfs in his or her spare time, or a coffee table book with pictures by his favorite artist would be perfect for the art lover.
The size and lavishness of your wedding ceremony may also come into play. If you are getting married in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, you will make a donation to the church of course, but what about the priest who actually pronounces you husband and wife? Thank him with a nice sized gift such as a gift certificate to a bookstore or something that ties in with his favorite hobby. If you don’t know what the person might like, ask the church secretary for suggestions; she will surely know that the pastor likes fine wine or the priest is a fan of jazz music. When your wedding is less lavish, you might scale your gift back a bit (after all, no officiant would want the bride and groom on a tight budget to spend more than they can afford on their gift). A jazz cd instead of concert tickets, that sort of thing. This is one case where it truly is the thought that counts.
Also think about whether the person did anything special for you. Did your j.p. have to travel 100 miles to a remote country inn to preside over your ceremony? Of course, you would pay for his travel expenses, as well as his food and lodging (if an overnight stay is required), but it would also be nice to thank him for going out of his way. If you know the taste of the person, you can select something more personal, but when unsure, opt for a classic gift. For instance, if your minister spent many extra hours with you and your fiance in pre-marital counseling sessions, perhaps you could give him a handsome pocket watch will a grateful inscription inside (you can find them at stores which carry groomsmen gifts). Or if you are getting silver cufflinks for your groomsmen gifts, pick up an extra pair to give your officiant.
Another way to show your appreciation for your officiant is by inviting that person to both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding reception. If your pastor, rabbi, or j.p. is married, definitely invite their spouse as well. Naturally, you would think carefully about the appropriate dinner companions for your priest or minister when doing the seating chart for your reception! Do not seat your seventy year old family minister with your rowdy fraternity brothers, or for that matter, your young hip j.p. with your ultra-conservative uncle. It may be that the officiant cannot attend, but inviting him or her to your wedding reception is still a very nice gesture to make.