Beliefs

Choosing the Wedding Officiant for Your Ceremony
A wedding officiant marrying a couple.

Choosing the right wedding officiant can take your wedding from being great to being spectacular.

Once you’ve chosen a date, chosen your wedding colors and booked a venue, you have thousands of other details to manage in regards to your ceremony. A wedding coordinator might be able to handle the catering and decorations, but you and your future spouse are the only ones who can choose the wedding officiant. Whether you’re looking for a professional and skilled officiant or want a friend to do the service, you should still ask questions. Here are some of questions you can ask a potential officiant:

  • Are you available on our wedding date? Consider this carefully if travel is involved. Better to check the calendar first. Don’t forget to check the availability for your rehearsal dinner.
  • Can you personalize the ceremony? Many religious leaders use the ritual from the church, but some wedding officiants will allow you to customize your ceremony. At the ULC, we offer a template for our ministers, but it can be personalized to your own style.
  • How many pre-wedding sessions do you require? Although a friend or family member may not require pre-wedding counseling, some officiants might. It can help you get to know each other better, but the wedding officiant might charge for the sessions too. Find out what to expect before you sign a contract.
  • Do you charge a standard fee or do we make a donation to the church? When talking to a professional officiant, you want to make sure you know how much will be charged. Every minister is different. If you’re talking to a family member or friend, it might be awkward to bring up a fee, but remember that this person will be going above and beyond for your wedding, similar to your attendants.
  • How will you respect our wishes, if our beliefs don’t fall in line with yours? In today’s culture, it might be difficult to find a wedding officiant who believes exactly what the two of you do. Consider how the officiant acts when presented with personal requests and whether he or she respects your beliefs.
  • Do you want to come to the reception? Will you be bringing a guest? When you are having a catered dinner, one or two extras can throw the numbers off. You might be close to the fire code limit or not have enough seating for two extra. Make sure to find out all expectations before the wedding.
  • Do you have any restrictions on whether we can be married? Some officiants might not marry couples outside of their own faith. You may not be allowed to have another officiant take part in the ceremony.
  • Do you plan on giving a sermon during a wedding? We’re not sure why people think that a wedding is an appropriate place to proselytize, but some do.
  • What do you plan to wear? Can you adjust to our wedding style? If you’re having a themed wedding, better find out if the officiant will participate or not.
  • What happens if you get sick? No one wants to think about getting sick, but the reality is always there. Find out what the backup plan is before the wedding.

Other Considerations When Choosing a Wedding Officiant

Does the officiant make you feel comfortable? You want someone who is genuinely interested in your wedding and services. This person will be welcoming your guests and playing best supporting actor to you and your partner. Does the officiant have the presence to handle a noisy guest? What happens if someone stands up and says that you shouldn’t get married?

Before you start talking to wedding officiants, think about what you expect. Do you want someone spiritual or secular? Do you have special readings or music you want included? Will your officiant adapt to your wedding or do you have to adapt to his or her plan? By taking time to consider your options, you will find the right person to lead your ceremony.