Who should you choose to officiate your ceremony? You might be wondering what a professional officiant does, and whether you should choose one as part of your wedding vendor team?
Before getting how a professional officiant can help you, I want to review your other options.
If you are a member of a faith community, you might want a clergy member to officiate. When holding your ceremony in a house of worship this is often the requirement. Sometimes this is not an option; from time to time some clergy will not marry a couple of mixed faiths.
Alternatively, you could select a family member or friend to officiate. Asking a loved one to officiate is a generous way to involve the person in your wedding. It can bring a level of familiarity that other options may not.
If you select a court ceremony, it will likely be a deputy clerk presiding, although at times the clerk or even a judge will conduct the marriage. These ceremonies can often be scheduled with little notice. They might be well suited for instances where the couple wants or needs to be wedded by a certain date.
And finally, in select jurisdictions, the couple can self-solemnize their union (this is uncommon, but is available in Washington, DC).
A professional officiant brings a few talents together to help you in crafting and then conducting a ceremony that is unique and authentic to you. Professional officiants are wedding vendors who help couples through planning and conducting what is the reason for the whole event—the ceremony. We can work independently or as part of a team, along with your planner, DJ, photographer, and more.
We’re different than the other officiant options listed above in several ways. I'll run through some of our strengths here.
Professional officiants are not tied to specific venues in the way that clergy might only work in their houses of worship, and judiciary employees restricted to the courthouse, opening the possibility of a ceremony anywhere you like. Beach or mountains, barn or city rooftop, you’re limited in venue only by your imagination.
Likewise, professional officiants are usually not constrained by ecumenical rules around who they can marry. This freedom means we can help a broad range of couples enjoy the rite of marriage. This could mean mixed faith marriages or marrying couples who practice no faith tradition. In fact, we take this seriously. I always ask my clients what faith tradition, if any, they come from and what degree, if any, they want a religion to play in their ceremony. I'm comfortable with the spectrum of religious involvement; I have conducted ceremonies for Hindu, Jewish, and Catholic couples, among others, as well as many for couples who prefer nonreligious wedding ceremonies.
Possessing a wealth of knowledge to draw upon in crafting your ceremony, we open our minds to you. We have a lot of ideas for unique ways to celebrate your love. What's more, we can recommend readings (I have a trove), help with vows, and describe ways to incorporate a unity ceremony.
To expound upon this, often I find that couples are unsure how to write their vows, or whether they'd like to do something like light a unity candle. I talk them through options. And it makes sense, as it's many couples’ first time as the center of the wedding. Sometimes couples ask me to review their vows to help them strike the same tone. Moreover, I can draw upon experience to help them pull off a unity element in their ceremony; I can point out that a candle outdoors is risky because of wind, for example.
We see ourselves as experts who help you through designing a ceremony that echoes you as a unique pair. As resource for you, please ask us for as much support as you need!
Standing up to be married can bring nerves. You might have a hundred or more pairs of eyes on you! As a professional officiant, I want you to tell me what stresses you so I can help. I do this all the time and can share tips and tricks to put you at ease.
To that end, I give my clients a pep talk in the days before the ceremony. I explain that something unexpected always happens; I suggest to them that they take it in stride as it won't change the fact that at the end of the day they'll be united in marriage!
One thing that must be done correctly is signing and filing the couple’s marriage license, and that falls to me. A mistake doesn't necessarily invalidate the marriage, but it can lead to headaches! We’ve seen them all and know just what to do.
In short, we’re here for you and your partner! We want to help. After all, officiants love weddings and we want you to make a memory that you'll carry with you forever. Whether you rely on our flexibility, knowledge, or confidence to pull off your big day, we support you!