While you are not generally obliged to provide a tip to the officiant who conducts a baptism, monetary gifts that show appreciation are always accepted. In some cases, your parish may let you know if a tip is expected. A baptism tip not only honors the officiant's time, but it also reimburses the church for any costs associated with holding the ceremony.
The parents of the baby being baptized are responsible for any tip given at the baptism. Even though godparents and grandparents are sometimes involved in the baptism, they are not responsible for gifting any money for the ceremony. Any gifts from godparents and family should go to the parents, and not the officiant or the church where the baptism is performed.
How Much to Give
The amount of money that the parents tip often ranges between $25 and $100. Giving $100 is appropriate when the priest or other officiant has taken special time to prepare with the family, or if the baptism is private. If the baptism is a part of a service where more than one baby is baptized, a smaller amount is acceptable. When in doubt, Newport Manners recommends calling the parish and speaking with the clergy's assistant to inquire about the appropriate amount.
How to Deliver the Tip
If the parents are giving a relatively nominal amount and not having a private service, the tip may be given during the tithing collection at a regular church service. However, when giving an amount closer to $100, or having a private service, the parents typically hand the priest or other officiant an envelope with his name on it and the money enclosed. The tip should be given after the ceremony is complete.
If the officiant has traveled from a different parish to conduct a baptism, the tip may exceed $100, provided the family can afford it. It's also customary to reimburse an officiant for travel expenses in addition to the tip. Generally speaking, the tip is given to the parish, so the officiant will not be compensated for his travel costs unless the family offers to pay him.
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