07 Jan 2016
January 7, 2016

What Not to Wear…As a Wedding Officiant

Although the answer to the question of what to wear, or what not to wear, when you are officiating a wedding ceremony might be a bit different depending if you are a friend or family member vs. a professional officiant, we do have some recommendations based on years of officiating weddings and many discussions with professional photographers.

Our first recommendation is to dress to the same level as the couple.   What we mean by same level is that if the couple is in wedding dresses and/or tux/suit, than the officiant should be in nice dress or suit, but if the wedding couple is in casual type clothing (e.g. sundresses and/or Khaki’s), than the officiant should be in the same level of dress.  The idea is that everyone feels comfortable.  If you have ever been the most overdressed or underdressed person in a room, you probably felt a little out of place.  And, although it is probably okay to be overdressed, being underdressed as an officiant might add a bit more nervousness to the person officiating and why would anyone want that.

Before I get to the second recommendation, I wanted to address the question of should the officiant wear a robe?  Personally, the answer to that lies in another question, did the officiant earn the robe?  Meaning did the officiant complete some sort of seminary, rabbinical school, or other religious ordination process in which a robe is an expected part of the outcome?  If so, a robe can be an option, if not, personally we suggest that they avoid the robe.

Our second recommendation is to dress in neutral colors.   We recommend this because bright colors stand out in pictures, and the couple should be what is seen in the ceremony pictures, not the officiant.  Let us use a standard example of a bride in a beautiful white dress and the groom in a black tux with white shirt.  If the officiant is wearing a light green shirt under their suit with a brightly colored tie or is wearing a red cocktail dress, to where will your eye be drawn when looking at the wedding ceremony pictures?   Let the couple be the center of attention.  We wear a black or dark grey suit with white shirt and if a male officiant, neutral color tie (e.g. grey).  This way, although we are still in the pictures, we don’t stand out.

Of course, the above are just suggestions, however the one thing that definitely needs to happen is for the couple and the officiant to discuss the way the officiant will be dressed and even if the couple says, “dress anyway you want”, the officiant needs to think about their attire in the context of the role they are playing… wedding ceremony officiant, not just wedding guest.

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