A wedding officiant is a male or female who is licensed to conduct wedding ceremonies.
When you are choosing an officiant to perform your wedding ceremony, first review the choices of persons available in your area. If they have biographies or any testimonials from couples, take the time to read them.
Once you choose a particular officiant, you will need to know if he/she is available on the date and time that you have decided to have your wedding, and how much it will cost for their services. There may be travelling costs if your venue is out of town. It is important to find out if there is a contingency plan in case the officiant you choose has an unexpected emergency and is unable to make it to your ceremony. Find out what the procedure is to book your officiant and if you are able to contact them before booking (in case you change your mind). Also, find out how far in advance you will need to book your officiant. It would be practical to make a list of any questions that you have ahead of time, as there are many things to think about and discuss.
Here are some things to think about when you are speaking with your officiant:
May we see the officiant’s credentials?
What type of attire does the officiant wear, and will he/she wear clergy garb if we make that request?
Does he/she sound pleasing and make us feel at ease on the phone and through e-mails?
Does he/she respond promptly and answer our questions to our satisfaction?
Approximately how long does it take for them to perform a wedding ceremony?
Are we able to write our own vows, and if we need assistance will he/she offer advice and suggestions?
Will we be expected to memorize our vows?
Can we customize our ceremony regarding the wording or with special rituals?
May we have friends or family do readings?
Will the officiant require a wireless microphone?
Can we have children/pets involved?
What are the legal requirements to be met as far as the wording of the ceremony?
Can we have a friend or relative participate in the conducting of the ceremony?
Are there any restrictions to photography/videography during our ceremony?
Can he/she perform an interfaith or same sex ceremony if required?
Will we be able to meet with the officiant to discuss the ceremony, how often and when?
Will the officiant be present for our rehearsal if needed, and is there a fee for their participation?
Do we require counseling prior to being married?
What is the officiant’s fee, types of payment allowed, and are there any cancellation and/or refund policies?
Will the officiant be able to join us at the reception?
Your officiant should be able to answer these questions and make you feel confident that you have made the right decision in choosing them. As with all other persons involved in your wedding…from florists to caterers, you need to take the time to choose an officiant that will help to create the vision you have for your wedding.