There are a lot of decisions to be made when planning a wedding, but the best part is that the hardest part is over; you have already found your soul mate! If getting to the altar is all about finding the right partner, though, having a great ceremony is all about finding the right officiant. When it comes to saying “I Do” few things will impact your ceremony more than who you choose to officiate, but that doesn’t make the decision easy, just important.
Unless you and your fiancé share a church, have a minister you’re already close to, or have an ordained minister or officiant in one of your families, trying to decide who will conduct your ceremony can seem a bit overwhelming. Where do you even begin? Thankfully, there are straightforward ways that can help you find the perfect officiant for your big day, one who will make those sacred vows seem even more special, and make the ceremony personal to you and your love.
Start with the Obvious Possibilities
If either you or your fiance have a strong relationship with a minister or a licensed officiant, this is an obvious place to start. But there are still questions that can help determine if this is the right officiant for you.
- Is he or she available on your wedding date, and willing to travel to where the wedding will be held?
- Is this person close with both your families, or only one? Will this cause any awkwardness?
- If the officiant is an ordained minister, is it through a denomination you attend as a couple, or have close ties to? Does the minister require you get married in his or her church?
- Is the officiant willing to marry you based on your lifestyle (some require active participation at their church, for instance)?
- Will he or she require premarital counseling, and if so, how much and when? (Make sure this can be coordinated given your busy pre-wedding schedules.)
- Have you seen this person perform a wedding? If so, did it match the feel of the event you’re planning? Some officiants may be extremely strict about what vows can be exchanged, making them a bad fit if you plan to write your own. Some may be too comical for the mood you hope to set.
- If you’re considering a family member as your officiant, be especially clear about your expectations upfront, and make sure it’s someone with a proven track record of preparing and performing well under pressure. (Even if you love him, you may not want to choose an uncle with a history of showing up to reunions late, or intoxicated, just because he’s already licensed to conduct ceremonies.)
Finding Other Options
If you don’t personally know any officiants or don’t have one you’re comfortable asking to conduct your ceremony, then start by asking your wedding venue coordinator for recommendations. Since venue staff works closely with outside vendors, they are a great resource for finding an officiant that will match well with you and your groom’s temperaments. This is one of the best ways to find someone that will make your day meaningful and also enjoyable for both you and your guests.
When meeting with a potential officiant, you’ll also want to make sure that he or she can commit to conducting the rehearsal, as well, as this can greatly reduce the chance of mix-ups or embarrassment come wedding day.