• Peter Roehrich

How to Pick a Wedding Officiant

It is easy to get caught up in planning your wedding reception, but the ceremony is the reason for the day! And the officiant that you select can make or break the ceremony. Go about selecting your wedding officiant mindfully, and remember, it's your big day, so it's OK to ask questions--both at the start and as you go along.


Communication

Above all else, your officiant should be a good communicator. In fact, most problems, whether with a wedding vendor or someone else, can be traced back to communication. If your officiant is chronically slow in returning emails and voicemails, never picks up the phone, and puts a cap on the number of times you speak--run! In preparing for your big day there are a lot of details that require both the couple and officiant to be on the same page.


What to Look For

When you speak with wedding officiants, look for one that offers a complimentary consultation. This could be by video, phone, or in person (the ideal), but it is essential to making sure that you have rapport, and planning the consultation will give you a sense of how well the officiant communicates, and listens to, important details. At the consultation, you want to make sure the officiant is attentive to your thoughts about the wedding ceremony, asks good questions, and does not talk over you. Services that your officiant offers should include unlimited communication leading up to your big day.


Secular or Religious

Many wedding officiants will have a religious affiliation. If you want a secular wedding ceremony be certain to articulate this to your officiant. If you want a religious ceremony, look for an officiant that not only accepts your religious or spiritual beliefs, but actively celebrates them. Some religious officiants will not perform interfaith or same-sex weddings; this is a shame, but it is reality.


What to Look For

Ask your officiant about his or her religious affiliation. Whether you want a secular ceremony, or one where religion is present, ask whether he or she will accommodate your religious or spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof)--then follow up with "will you celebrate our religious or spiritual beliefs?". If you are LGBTQ+, ask how your officiant will celebrate that.


Ceremony Remarks

I'm not kidding, I heard an officiant once say to a groom "what you say can be used against you, over, and over, and over again"!!! That is unacceptable in my book, even as a joke. It was not celebratory of the success of the relationship leading up to that point, nor did it look forward to a loving, egalitarian relationship. Your officiant should make remarks during the ceremony that highlight the best parts of your relationship with your fiance. Your officiant should get to know you, both from the initial consultation as well as continuing dialog, and should use this to craft remarks that are unique to you. His or her remarks should tell a story that explains how you fell in love.


What to Look For

Ask your wedding officiant to share his or her philosophy on writing a ceremony script, including how he or she describes your relationship, any advice to be given, and any humor. Better yet, ask for a few sample scripts! Tell your officiant how you fell in love and what you love in each other. Then ask how those points will be woven into the ceremony. If there is something that you definitely do or do not want said in the ceremony, say so!


Logistics

Wedding logistics are a big deal and encompass a lot of things. You do not want to have to wrangle your officiant on the day of your wedding--that's stress you don't need! I encourage you to ask your officiant how he or she handles logistics, down to the nitty-gritty.


What to Look For

Ask how well your officiant plays with other wedding vendors. If you are having a wedding planner, is your officiant will to have a call with him or her? When will your officiant arrive for the ceremony? At least an hour before is critical. And finally, ask about your officiant's preferred means of communicating.


Wedding planning can be stressful, but picking your ceremony officiant doesn't have to be. Take a deep breath, follow these tips, and you'll find the perfect officiant!

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peter@vibrantceremonies.com | 301.200.2333

 

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