Your officiant sets the tone for your wedding day so it is important that you find the perfect person to lead your ceremony on the big day. This is why hiring a professional is the best way to go. You really want to hire someone who truly gets your style and your vision, and is experienced enough to pull it all off smoothly and legally.
While officiating a wedding is second nature to most seasoned officiants, it is a new process to almost all couples. But don’t worry. Professional officiants are happy to help you navigate the process!
Here are 15 questions that you should always ask officiants, both before you hire someone, and after!
It may sound like a no-brainer, but it could save a lot of time and anguish by asking up front if the wedding officiant has the proper authority to marry you in the ceremony location. You don’t want to find out weeks or months later that the wedding wasn’t legal because the officiant didn’t have the proper authority to marry you!
In these days of social media, it is easy to check out the officiant’s business page, social media pages, and reviews. Do a little homework and see if their vibe resonates with you.
While in most cases the officiant cannot obtain the license for a couple, they should be familiar with the process in order to guide you in this step.
If it has not already been made clear, find out exactly what the officiant is charging for. Is the rehearsal included? Are elements such as a sand ceremony, handfasting, etc., included? Wedding fees add up quickly and careful budgeting is crucial. You don’t want any surprises at the last moment.
Not all officiants perform a variety of ceremonies such as spiritual, non-denominational, themed, etc. Make sure the officiant’s style, personality, and the ceremony elements they offer will match the vision you have for your wedding day.
If you want input on the various elements of the ceremony, including writing your own vows, providing personal readings, and which elements to include or leave out, make sure that the officiant is open to this.
If you want to see the final draft of the ceremony before the big day, will you be able to? Some officiants do not share the ceremony text with the couple ahead of time. If you don’t like surprises, make sure you don’t get one.
The marriage is not legal without the license being filled out properly and filled in a timely manner. You want to make sure this will be handled correctly.
You want to be on the same page and make sure that you know when to expect the wedding officiant’s arrival.
Make sure that someone will be responsible on the wedding day to get the marriage license to the officiant before the wedding begins. The officiant can help you decide who the best person would be to handle this task. It may be the wedding planner, venue coordinator, maid of honor, or other family member or friend. The license needs to be looked over by the officiant prior to the start of the ceremony. If the officiant needs anything else given to them prior to the start of the ceremony, they should let you know now.
Many officiants dress differently for different types of events, and you may have specific requests that you should make your officiant aware of ahead of time. If it is a themed, costumed ceremony, you should clarify if the officiant is expected to be in costume, and if so, who will provide the costume. If you want the officiant to honor your color scheme or dress in any particular manner, now is the time to clarify that as well.
Many venues only allow a certain amount of time for the ceremony, so make sure everyone is aware of any rules or limits that may be in place.
If the couple would like to invite the officiant to the reception, please send an invitation. Don’t be offended, however, if the officiant declines, as they may have other prior engagements or they may simply prefer to let the couple enjoy the rest of the event surrounded by friends and family only.
Normally, anything required for additional ceremonial elements such as candles for a Candle Ceremony, sand, and vessels for a Sand Ceremony, or cords for a Handfasting are provided by the couple, but this must be discussed so everyone is clear. Microphones and stands are often supplied by either the venue or the DJ, but officiants sometimes bring their own. Make sure everyone knows who is responsible for providing what.
The officiant should get the license filed within a couple of days after the wedding. Some counties will automatically send you a certified copy, but many will not. Ask your officiant or your local clerk of court’s office about the procedure. If it is not automatically sent to you, then you should ask your officiant to contact you once the paperwork is filed, so you can obtain your certified copy.
Ask about anything and everything that is relevant to the officiant’s role in your wedding ceremony. You may come up with many more questions than we’ve listed here, but these 15 questions are ones that should always be asked when you are shopping around for an officiant, celebrant, or minister to officiate your wedding ceremony. This is your big day, so make sure to choose the right officiant for the ceremony!
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