Here is a list of the most important questions to ask the officiant before you hire them for your wedding.
A wedding officiant is anyone who you want to officiate your marriage. This person must be certified legally to officiate weddings, but they do not have to have a specific denomination or a religious background.
Most couples have a preference when it comes to who will officiate their marriage. A marriage is often something people want to be witnessed by their specific religious leader.
Some couples choose a church leader if they are more religious, or if they want religious aspects added to their ceremony. If you want a church service or a sermon delivered at your ceremony, you may want to look for a minister or church leader.
Typically you spend a good deal of time with your wedding officiant before the wedding. There are several scheduled meetings that are set up to discuss what you want written in your vows.
Wedding officiants may also offer premarital counseling services to go through lots of paperwork and other important legal information before you walk down the aisle.
What to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Officiant
Finding the right wedding officiant wedding party can oftentimes be just as important as choosing the right wedding dress. This is the person who will pronounce you husband and wife, and kick off the wedding ceremonies. This is also the person who is going to crack inside jokes, help you prepare for your marriage, and control noisy guests.
Whoever you end up choosing to officiate your wedding, religious or non-denominational, you must realize that you are laying these responsibilities in their hands.
Keep in mind that different wedding venues may call for different types of officiants. If you are getting married in a traditional church or religious type building, it may be best to have a minister or a religious affiliated officiant out of respect.
Also keep in mind that it is not uncommon in the wedding business to see people have family members or someone close to them officiate their wedding. You can easily get legally certified to officiate marriages online, so if you have someone in mind, this is definitely an option.
While it may be a good option for some to have a wedding officiant that they know, some look for more professional wedding officiants who know what they are doing. Some people look for an officiant that they know are going to know exactly what to say.
The more experienced the officiant is with all different types of weddings, the better they will be able to make your ceremony a special one. The perfect wedding officiant is one that will work with you and your partner, help you write your vows, and make you feel confident that your wedding ceremony will go exactly as planned.
Here is a list of questions to ask your prospective wedding officiant before you choose them to officiate your wedding!
1. How many weddings have you officiated?
One really important question to ask your wedding officiant before you choose them for your wedding ceremony is to ask how many wedding events they have done before. Most professional officiants will have a list of different weddings they have done and couples they have worked with.
Just like any other person who you have working for your wedding, look into how long your potential candidate has been working as a wedding officiant. Ask them what kinds of weddings they have done in the past to determine if they are right for your wedding vibe.
2. Are you available on my wedding date?
Perhaps the most important question to ask your wedding officiant is if they are available on your specific date. This will help with the overall logistics of the situation and that they do not have prior plans for your wedding day.
Asking this as the first question will save you time and make sure that you don’t fall in love with an officiant that is not even available for your specific day.
3. Are you able to travel to my venue?
Depending on where certain venues are located, it may be harder for your wedding officiant to get to the location. To avoid problems down the line, ask your potential wedding officiant if he or she will be able to travel to exactly where your ceremony is.
This is a pretty major question, as if they won’t be able to reach your ceremony location, they will not be able to officiate the wedding. You should also ask if they are able to legally marry you if your ceremony is in another state than where you or your wedding officiant lives.
4. Do you customize the ceremony for each couple?
Some wedding officiants are very traditional and have a specific religious style script that they use for every ceremony. Depending on your ideal ceremony style, this may not be what you want.
If you have an idea of certain personalized wedding ceremony aspects, you may want to ask your officiant if they are willing to make a personalized script to use for your ceremony.
If you want a minister but you want a non-religious wedding ceremony, it may be in your best interest to ask if they are willing to break their traditional aspects and customize it to you and your partners wishes.
5. How many meetings will we have?
Another question that may be in your best interest to ask before choosing which wedding officiant you would like at your wedding is how many meetings do they suggest you have. Usually when you have an officiant they want to get to know you as a couple before they marry you, which is why they may want to meet with you several times.
Whether it is for premarital counseling, which if you are consulting a religious minister may feature biblical readings about marriage. If you feel you do not have time for these premarital counseling sessions because of how taxing the wedding planning process can be, you may want to choose an officiant that requires less pre-wedding meetings than others.
6. How much do you charge?
Talking about price may be an awkward topic, but it is important if you are trying to stick to a specific wedding budget. Most commonly, fees will vary based on where you live. Some officiants offer wedding ceremony packages that will throw in the cost of premarital counseling and the writing of your wedding ceremony.
If you are using a religious affiliated minister, it may be kind to in addition to paying them, make a donation to the church. This is especially true if you are using the venue of a church or the minister works at.
7. What kind of microphone and sound equipment do you use?
When you get to the point of your wedding rehearsal, it will be an important question to ask, so mind as well ask your officiant when you first meet.
Usually wedding officiants will use whatever equipment is available for them to use at the venue, but if they have special equipment, you may have to speak with your other wedding vendors to get it set up at your venue of your wedding ceremony.
8. How long do your ceremonies usually take?
Ask your officiant exactly how long their ceremonies usually take. This can be anything from minutes to hours, so depending on what you have in mind for your wedding ceremony, this may be a deal breaker.
Some couples want a short and sweet ceremony so their guests do not have to wait too long, while others want a long and traditional ceremony that goes on for hours. Depending on what you and your partner want, this is an important question to ask.
9. Can we customize our vows?
A wedding officiant should be able to tailor your ceremony to exactly what you want and give you advice on anything that you may have questions about leading up to the wedding ceremony.
The wedding officiant is a service, so if you want to customize your vows, make sure that your officiant allows that and will help you make a good decision on what to include in them.
10. Do you have a portfolio of past weddings you have done?
Sometimes wedding officiants will have a portfolio of other weddings that they have done. This is a great way to see what their personality is and how they will perform at your wedding.
You may want to ask your wedding planner if they know any good wedding officiants that they had seen other couples use in the past. With their wedding planning experience, they have probably seen some really good wedding officiants and can give you tips on some that performed amazingly well and made the ceremony truly special.
11. Are you LGBTQ+ Friendly?
If you and your partner are a same sex couple looking to get married, you may want to ask the officiant if they have done this type of wedding and if they are willing to do so. Even in 2021, there are a lot of religious officiants and churches who have issues with gay weddings.
This is also true if you want to perform an interfaith ceremony, as some religious wedding officiants may have issues with doing this. If you find that your wedding officiant will not do your ceremony because of this, there are many non-religious affiliated officiants out there who will be happy to help!
12. Will you help us get our official marriage license?
The most important part of the officiant’s job is legally obtaining your marriage licenses. This will officially make you and your spouse husband and wife legally, and depending on your state, may have to be certified by a marriage license office or marriage commissioner.
Discuss the laws on marriage in your state with your wedding officiant and see what they suggest you do. If your officiant is a qualified marriage counselor, they should have the answers to all your questions and take care of the legal aspect for you.
12. What will you wear at our wedding?
Religious officiants often have pre-determined clothes, like robes, for wedding ceremonies. Depending on your religious affiliation, however, this may be a good question to ask. You’ll also want to ask about wedding celebrant attire if you have a secular officiant with no religious dress code.
Make sure your officiant won’t clash with you or your wedding party so that your photos of the ceremony look gorgeous!
It may seem difficult to find the person who you want to marry you and your future spouse. The perfect person to do this job is someone who you feel comfortable with, someone who you are close with, and someone who answered all of your questions perfectly.
A good wedding officiant is someone who will take control of your wedding ceremony and will be able to handle rowdy guests or unexpected situations that may occur during a wedding. Once you have found the perfect wedding officiant, you will feel confident in their ability to make your wedding the day of your dreams.
If you’ve chosen a friend or family member, ensure that they know how to become an ordained minister to carry out your ceremony.
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