How Do I Choose the Right Wedding Officiant?

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The “wedding officiant” refers to the guy or gal who stands with the bride and groom and leads the entire wedding ceremony. Needless to say, it’s important that you choose the right person for the job!

When it comes to most wedding vendors, it’s more about what they do and less about who they are. For example, if you get along with your photographer and decide to have a drink with them at the end of the night, that’s great! But ultimately, you’ve chosen them for their ability to take your preferred style of gorgeous photos. Same thing with your caterer and florist—you choose them based on the quality of their work.

Choosing your wedding officiant, on the other hand, is not as straight-forward. For this task, you want to find an experienced professional—that you could also see yourself being friends with. This will ensure that you’re comfortable during your ceremony. That’s what matters most.

Because at the end of the day:
The wedding officiant’s job isn’t very difficult.
(I can say that because I’ve personally officiated over three hundred weddings.)

It’s not about what they do; it’s about how you feel with them. Don’t pick someone just because they have a ton of reviews. Pick them because you’re comfortable with them, you like their style, and you feel they’ll make your day special.

Things to Consider:

  • Friend or Pro?
    If you’re looking for a more contemporary ceremony, consider recruiting a family member or friend to be your officiant!

    More info here:
    “How to Have a Friend Perform Your Wedding Ceremony”

  • Price Tag
    Many of the “high-end” officiants who appear first on Google offer pre-martial counseling and talk with you for hours upon hours before doing your ceremony. They ask endless questions and provide overwhelming amounts of information and options in order to justify what they’re charging you. If you want something simpler (and more affordable), steer clear of these guys. There are plenty of awesome officiants who offer simple, beautifully-personalized ceremony packages that won’t break the bank—all you need to do is search a bit.

  • Religious or Secular
    This is the single biggest question for a wedding ceremony, do you want religion involved, or do you want the officiant to just focus on love and marriage (a “secular” ceremony)? Let your officiant know in the first email what you’re looking for. Some—not all—officiants are church leaders and aren’t comfortable leaving religion out of the ceremony.

  • Serious or Silly
    Personally, I never recommend trying to have a wedding ceremony that rivals standup comedy, but if you do want something more contemporary and light-hearted, be sure to ask the officiant about their style. Many of the more traditional officiants prefer a serious, reverent ceremony style, while some of the more contemporary options take an approach that is much more upbeat.

  • Customized
    Do you want to write your own script and be involved with every little step of the ceremony creation? Or would you prefer to let the officiant create what he thinks will work best for you? Both options are common, but be sure to let your officiant know early on. Some officiants pride themselves on step-by-step customization, while others work better with couples who want a more straight-forward approach.

  • The Right Fit
    Like most things in life, when it comes to finding the perfect officiant, you’re better off finding the right fit than trying to make the right fit. At the end of the day, most officiants are flexible and happy to do whatever you ask of them, but it’s still always better to find one who routinely performs the sort of ceremony you’re looking for.

  • Communication
    Weddings are stressful enough without having to deal with flakey people. For this reason, all of your wedding vendors need to be strong communicators. They should make it easy to exchange information, and they should be happy to get on a phone call with you. If they aren’t… on to the next one.

  • Legality
    Honestly, the stories of unlicensed officiants performing non-legal marriages are few and far between. Feel free to ask them for their credentials, but if they have a healthy batch of good reviews, it would be my inclination to trust them.

How to Find Your Wedding Officiant:

  1. Consider the above variables.

  2. Go online and compare prices, reviews, and info.

  3. Find people who seem like a good fit and send an email asking if they’re available for your date.

  4. Get on a phone call or grab coffee with them.

  5. If they feel right… hire them!

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Iver Marjerison
Owner / Lead Planner