Margaret and Drew Wedding 423

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! This is undoubtedly an exciting time for you and your beloved as you plan the special event that marks the beginning of your life together as a married couple.

At the heart of your wedding celebration is the ceremony that unites the two of you as husband and wife. The vows of love and commitment that you exchange set the stage for your happy and successful marriage. Your wedding ceremony should be special and unique…and, of course, you need someone to perform that ceremony.

If you and your fiancé attend church, you will probably ask your spiritual leader to officiate. However, if you are not church-goers or choose to have someone else perform your ceremony, you’ll need to do some research for officiants. Consider asking other wedding vendors on your dream team for recommendations—look for someone who knows the venue, works well with others, is reliable and performs a beautiful ceremony. You might also ask your newly-married friends for a referral, especially if you attended their wedding and liked what you saw.

Once you have some potential officiants to contact, here are some important questions to ask:

  • Is the officiant available on your date and at your location?
  • Is he or she willing to meet with you and your fiancé to see if you will be comfortable working together?
  • How much experience does the officiant have performing weddings and are references available?
  • What is the officiant’s fee and what does it include (such as preparing and performing the ceremony, attending the rehearsal, filing the marriage license, etc.)? Are there any extra fees?
  • Does the officiant offer (or require) pre-marital counseling?
  • Will you be able to sign a contract with the officiant?
  • What is the officiant’s spiritual or religious background? Will those beliefs be incorporated in your ceremony?
  • If you wish to write your own vows, does the officiant offer any samples or suggestions to help you do this?
  • If you have special needs (such as family blending, cultural or interfaith rituals, etc.), is the officiant familiar with those elements?
  • Will you be able to review the ceremony before the wedding? If you want to make changes, can you do so, and is there any extra cost for changes?
  • Approximately how long will the ceremony last?
  • In case of emergency, does the officiant have a backup person who can step in and perform your wedding ceremony?
  • Finally, after meeting with potential officiants, what is your “gut feeling” about each?

The most important thing in choosing an officiant is to find someone with whom you feel comfortable, and who feels honored and delighted to share your special day. May you find the perfect officiant for your wedding, and may you enjoy a long and happy marriage!

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Article appeared in the Summer/Fall 2012 issue of Real Weddings Magazine; article by Rev. Jeri Murphy, Rev. Murphy is a regular contributor to Real Weddings Magazine.

Photo features Rev. Jeri Murphy with featured real wedding couple Margo & Drew—to see more from Margo & Drew’s wedding, click here—photo by Stout Photography.