Many of the couples we have met with in our wedding officiating business tell us that they have had trouble figuring out how to even start the wedding officiant search process, so we thought maybe we could use our knowledge and experience to help other couples who are about to start the process. For couples who believe the wedding ceremony is one of the most significant parts of their wedding day, the question of who should perform the wedding ceremony is a very important one. In this blog post, I wanted to cover the options that are out there and some hints for each.
If you are getting married in a house of worship, your choice is probably going to be limited to the spiritual leaders who lead in that house of worship. Even with limited choices, if you are closer to one of spiritual leaders or one of them fits your personality and relationship better, then you should push for that person to be your officiant. Having a more personal connection to the individual performing your ceremony can lead to a more comfortable and meaningful ceremony.
This is a tough one since “professional officiant” covers a range that is very large. There are clergy who work outside a house of worship. There are individuals who officiate as a full-time business (like us). There are individuals who officiate as a part time business. Some of these individuals are spiritual or religious, but not technical clergy. Some of these individuals are not religious at all. Some of these individuals look at a wedding ceremony as a performance. And I could go on… So, how do you choose?
First, you need to figure out how much religion and tradition you want. I find this is one of the most important facets of getting an officiant who will deliver a wedding ceremony that fits you. If you decide that you want to have a religious/traditional tone or a partial religious/traditional tone, then meet with people who have the proper background and show it on their website. If you decide you don’t want to have a religious/traditional wedding, than meet with people whose website specifies that they are not religious/traditional (note that non-denominational is definitely not the same as non-religious). And remember, if you find a religious officiant who says they can do non-religious wedding ceremonies, be cautious… it is tough for someone who believes in something so devoutly to deliver a wedding ceremony without any reference to that belief.
Second, research your options carefully. Probably less of an issue in this day and age, with large numbers of reviews on sites like Yelp, Wedding Wire, The Knot, etc., but figured I would mention this since not only do the reviews tell you how good the officiant may be, but reading the reviews can give you a good picture of the officiant’s style and how their couples related to them.
Third, start this process early in your wedding planning and meet with the officiants you are considering before you hire them. By starting early, it gives you plenty of time to go through the selection process and it also allows you to meet with the best officiants who usually book up more quickly. And by meeting with the officiants in person or via Skype, you can get a feel for their personality and hear how they will work with you to prepare your wedding ceremony.
Finally, and most important, don’t scrimp or go cheap on an officiant. If the ceremony is important to you, spending more than you originally thought/budgeted to get the officiant you want is not going to make that much of a dent in a wedding budget, but will make a large impact on the specialness of your wedding day. Trust me, we have many years of experience to back up this statement.
Friend or Family Member
It is very possible based on what we offer on the Asked to Officiate website that you ended up reading this blog post because you were thinking of asking a friend of family member to perform your wedding ceremony. We understand why couples want to do this, and to be honest, we have heard of this option sometimes going very right and sometimes going very wrong. If you are thinking about this option, or have already asked a friend or family member to officiate your wedding, please make sure that everyone involved (couple and the chosen officiant) are working together to make sure they are in sync about the tone of the wedding ceremony, the timing of everything (ceremony preparation timing and day of timing), and the ceremony logistics. We believe in no bad wedding ceremonies, so we have created a step by step workbook and other guides to help you with the ceremony preparation process, and the logistics, but even if you don’t use our products, make sure you start the ceremony preparation process early and do the necessary research so that it can yours and done well.
We hope that this helps you to begin your wedding officiant search process and makes the search a little less daunting!
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