Wedding Officiant Rev. Rebekah Maul performing a marriage ceremony. Photo Courtesy: Ben Ostrowsky
When it comes to your wedding ceremony, you may or may not have a choice in who will be performing the ceremony. If you have a regular place of worship, be it a church or a synagogue, chances are, one of the affiliated priests, preachers, rabbis or ministers will perform the wedding ceremony. However, if you and your partner do not have an affiliation with a place of worship, you will have to find an officiant in advance who can serve both of you on your wedding day. Below are some tips you can follow to find the ideal wedding officiant that will complement your personal style and the type of wedding ceremony that you will have.
Searching for a potential wedding officiant
As mentioned earlier, if you and your partner regularly attend an established church, the choice for an officiant will be easy since it is likely that the affiliated officiant will be the one assigned to perform the ceremony. Keep in mind, though, that most houses of worship arrange their event calendars in advance, so it is in your best interest to contact the office to get the details about the officiant’s availability and have your wedding day listed in their schedule.
If you are not affiliated with a house of worship or if you are planning to have a civil or secular ceremony, the best option you have to find the right officiant is to ask referrals from your friends and family. Or, you may also want to check with your local authorities to have a list of authorized wedding officiants in your area.
Bear in mind that some officiants follow strict rules about whom they should marry. For example, some would only perform weddings for the members of their own house of worship. Others, on the other hand, accept to officiate couples of any denomination. So if you are planning to tie the the knot outside a place of worship or perhaps you and your spouse do not share the same religion, consider finding an officiant that falls in the latter category.
Make appointments for face-to-face meeting
Once you find an officiant, plan and schedule appointments for meetings. Check with his or her schedules and make sure that you work your way around them as it is the most polite thing to do. After you have confirmed the dates (since you will be meeting the person several times), make sure that you set an ample amount of time to go over all the details that you would like to know as well as the concerns that you may have.
Usually, officiants prefer to meet at their offices or place of worship, but some are willing to travel a short distance to meet at a convenient location. However, since you will be using his or her time, so it will be preferable that you do not let them meet you at a far off place. If the instance came that you need to cancel an appointment, never wait to cancel until the last minute. Do it as soon as possible and make a phone call to personally send your apology for the inconvenience. Then, ask to reschedule the appointment and know what time will work best for him or her.
Getting a sense of the officiant’s personality
When meeting the officiant for the first time, there are some questions that you need to ask in order to get a sense of his or her background and style. Inquire about the person’s wedding experiences, trainings and education. It will also be wise if you get a feel of how comfortable you are with his or her presence as this will greatly help you on the wedding day itself. If you’re looking at an informal wedding, an officiant with a polished presence may not be an ideal choice. Instead, look for someone who is more upbeat, casual and has a sense of humor.
Going down the wedding details
Most officiants have probably heard a ton of questions related to wedding ceremonies, so you should never be afraid to inquire about the things that you are curious about. Be as candid and open during the meeting to make sure that you go down all of the details. A few of the usual ceremony-related questions you might want to ask include:
- Is the officiant available on your preferred date and time?
- Can you write your own vows and choose your own music?
- Are there pre-marriage requirements that need to be completed?
- How long will the ceremony be?
- Are there rules that your wedding vendors (decorator, florist, videographer and photographer) have to follow?
- Does the officiant have any recommendation to make your ceremony unique?
- Will he or she perform the ceremony if you have a unique circumstance – interfaith, pregnant bride, same sex?
- What degree will his or her involvement be in the planning of the event?
- Will he or she allow special readings from the family members or other guests?
- Does he or she conduct a rehearsal?
- Are children allowed in the ceremony?
- Does he or she have the final approval of the wedding script?
- How much is his or her fee and is he or she willing to sign a contract?
When you have asked the questions, you and your spouse-to-be should discuss everything and agree if the officiant is truly the right one for your wedding. At the most, you would want someone who complements your style, personality and has a pleasant sounding voice to ensure that you and your guests will clearly hear what he or she has to say. You do not want an officiant that will put people to sleep!
Article written by Ericka, who loves to write wedding-related articles. She is also a regular contributor for http://www.froxoffalkirk.co.uk/, a UK-based shop that specialize in mother of the bride and mother of the groom wedding outfits.