As much as I believe in and love my job as a Certified Wedding Planner specializing in Day of Wedding Coordination, I’ve often said there are only three things you need for a wedding: a couple and someone to marry them. It is a great honor to be chosen as the person that unites a couple on their wedding day. The ceremony is the whole reason there is a party afterwards, and it can really set the tone for your entire event –and not all Officiants are created equally. How do you know which one is the right one for you? If you are planning a church wedding, your decision is already made. Two birds, one stone right? If this is you, you don’t even need to finish reading this post. For everyone else, there are Officiants for hire. It could be a Justice of the Peace, an Ordained Minister with no church affiliation (like myself), or a close friend ordained online. However, marrying a couple is more than just reading a ceremony. You want someone that is confident. Someone with a good speaking voice – not just a good reader. And you absolutely must love your Officiant. Is this someone you would enjoy having over for dinner or a game night? Is it someone that projects warmth, friendliness, love? You will remember this person every time you think back on your wedding day or look at photos – make sure it is someone you will think back on fondly!
It’s always best to be prepared no matter which type of Officiant you are looking for – here are some questions to get you started. Some you need to ask yourself, some are for your Officiant.
- What kind of ceremony do you want?
Religious, no religion, or something in between
- How long do you want your ceremony to be?
Long or short are not correct answers. When thinking of your ceremony, remember that you will be standing in front of your loved ones, wearing a heavy dress or a suit/tuxedo…and quite possibly on a hot day in the sun. I suggest standing still – no fidgeting, texting, phone surfing, for however long you think you want your ceremony to be. Then think about all of those conditions I just mentioned. Are you sure you still want a 45 minute ceremony?
- Do you want a somber ceremony, or something a little more light-hearted?
- Do you want any readers during your ceremony?
A reader can read from the bible, a favorite book or poem, or even your favorite song lyrics.
- Do you want a unity ceremony included?
Traditional (candle or sand) or non-traditional (Wine and Chocolate, Tree Planting, Wish Lanterns – create your own!)?
For your Officiant:
- Why did you start doing weddings?
- What type of ceremonies do you do?
- Do you have stock (insert name here) ceremonies to choose from or do you write your own?
- What will you wear for our ceremony?
- Will you attend the rehearsal (some Officiants charge an additional fee)?
- Is there a travel fee (some charge per mile outside a certain range)?
- What time will you arrive for our ceremony?
- How do you present your ceremony? Do you use a bible/book/binder/iPad/kindle/paper?
- Will you mail in our marriage license for us?
- Is there anything else we should know?
I hope this helps you make the most of your time interviewing your officiant, and making one choice of your big day just a little bit easier!