Choosing your ceremony officiant is often one of the last details couples think of when planning their wedding, but it’s extremely important and shouldn’t wait until last minute. Here are a few things to consider when you’re selecting your officiant.
Before you begin your search, determine if would like your ceremony to be religious or secular so you know which type of officiant to look for:
- Religious: If you and your husband-to-be share a common religion, then you may want to select an ordained clergy person of your same faith.
- Interfaith: If you come from different religious backgrounds, you can incorporate both into your ceremony (if your faith permits so). You may be able to find a nondenominational officiant who can combine elements of both religions into the ceremony or you can use two different officiants (one for each religion).
- Secular: If you aren’t very religious and would prefer to incorporate more personal elements into your wedding, then a secular ceremony would probably work best. You can try finding a justice of the peace, a licensed family member or friend, or a nondenominational officiant who is legally able to marry you within your state.
Personality and Availability
After you’ve determined which type of officiant you need, then your search can begin. First, be sure the individual you are interested in is available for your date and ceremony location (a contract is always wise to get before committing). Then, find out how often they are available to work with you before the wedding. Some officiants may just arrive the day of without getting much input from you, while others will work with you in advance to customize your reading and get a good grasp of your personality and beliefs.
Next, make sure you like the officiant’s personality and that he/she understands yours. If you are a fun and spontaneous couple, then confirm that the officiant would be comfortable and able to tailor your reading accordingly. Also, requesting references and sample ceremony readings is always a great thing to ask for.
Fees for officiants vary based on the individual person. For a religious ceremony, the fee is generally a donation to church or congregation. If you select an all-inclusive wedding package, sometimes the officiant’s fee will be included. If not, you’ll have to shop around and find out what the average rate is in your area. Also, keep in mind that it’s customary to tip your officiant after the service (just give a sealed envelope or gift to the best man or maid of honor and they can take care of this while you’re on to the next stage of the wedding.)
Once you select the officiant be certain to find out what their fees includes. For example: the paperwork for the marriage license, a ceremony rehearsal, travel to and from your wedding venue, if they charge extra to personalize your reading, if they provide any extras for the ceremony such as candles or the materials for a sand ceremony.
After You Make Your Decision
After you’ve selected your officiant and signed any contracts, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you work on the ceremony details:
- Make sure your officiant understands your ideals, beliefs and personalities so that can be reflected during the ceremony.
- Find out if the officiant has any restrictions or requirements, such as: are you able to write your own vows, can you play songs during the ceremony, is your photographer able to take photos, are there any wedding attire restrictions, can you personalize your ceremony with a Unity Candle or rose exchange, etc.?
- When creating your invitation list, remember that it’s polite to invite your officiant to the reception. If they accept the invitation, it’s generally customary to sit him/her with close family members.
Most importantly, choose an officiant who makes you and your fiancé happy and is willing to help make your ceremony visions a reality! The officiant plays a vast role in the ceremony, so be sure he/she is the perfect person for your wedding style.
For more wedding planning tips and information, be sure to visit http://www.bridalspectacular.com. And, save-the-date to attend our Autumn Bridal Show August 16 and 17 at Cashman Center!