Choosing Your Wedding Officiant

Choosing your wedding officiant is an important detail that sets the tone for your entire ceremony. Here are some tips for choosing the perfect person.

Deciding who is involved in your wedding day can be daunting, but one of the most important is the wedding officiant. Your wedding day is about your love story and starting your new life together, so you don't want leave this task to just anyone. If you're religious or are a member of a specific church, this might be an easy task. If you aren't, or prefer to have a secular ceremony, it's becoming more common to choose a friend or family member to marry you. No matter who you end up choosing, here are a few questions you should consider asking as you decide:

  1. Are they available for your wedding date, and will they be able travel to where your venue is located? Do they have a backup person in the case they have to cancel last minute?
  2. What type of ceremony are you looking for? The nature of your ceremony, whether religious or secular, will affect the type of officiant. Consider the type of ceremony you want to have, and seek an officiant that coordinates with those standards and your beliefs.
  3. What are the fees or donation required? If your officiant is not a family member or friend, they may require a fee or a donation to their church in exchange for their services. Be sure to consider this in your budget.
  4. Are they open to your customizations of the ceremony? Do they follow certain protocol related to their faith, or can you create your own order with things like selected readings, special music, or writing your own vows?
  5. What is their experience? Previous experience will often mean they are able to lead the ceremony in a smooth and pleasant manner.
  6. Are they comfortable with the setting and atmosphere of your wedding? If you are planning a wedding that will not be held in a church, or are serving alcohol at the reception, these may be important to discuss with your officiant to ensure they are comfortable with those factors.
  7. Do they require premarital counseling? Some officiants like to spend time with couples and work through a series of counseling sessions prior to the wedding.
  8. Do you feel comfortable and connect with them? You will most likely be filled with nerves and excitement on your wedding day. Having an officiant that puts you at ease can help make the ceremony more enjoyable and relaxing.