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!
Click the title of each question below to get advice on why you should ask that question of any wedding officiant.
Before you hire a wedding officiant, be sure to ask these 8 questions.
Are you legally permitted to perform a marriage in the county/parish where our wedding will be held?
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!
What social networks can I find you on?
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.
Can you provide information on obtaining the marriage license?
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.
What is included in your fee?
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.
Can you offer a ceremony style that fits in with our vision?
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.
Can we have input on the wording of the ceremony?
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.
Will you show us the final draft of the ceremony before the big day?
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.
Are you capable of filling out the license properly and making sure it is filed with the courthouse or the relevant legal authorities?
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.
After you hire a wedding officiant, ask these 7 questions.
What time will you arrive to the ceremony?
You want to be on the same page and make sure that you know when to expect the wedding officiant’s arrival.
Who should meet with you prior to the ceremony and what do you need when you arrive?
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.
What will you wear?
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.
How long does the ceremony last?
Many venues only allow a certain amount of time for the ceremony, so make sure the everyone is aware of any rules or limits that may be in place.
Will you be staying after the ceremony and attending the reception?
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.
Who will provide any needed accessories, such as microphones, handfasting cords, sand ceremony elements, etc?
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.
When will the license be filed?
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.
Don’t be shy. Ask questions of the officiant.
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!
Still looking for a wedding officiant? Start your officiant search for a wedding officiant right here at the Officiant Directory!