The main reason you’d ask a friend or family member to officiate your wedding is because they know you, which would make the ceremony very meaningful. I completely understand the impulse and have definitely seen it work a time or two, but, in general, there is a lot that an experienced, professional officiant does that a friend or family member wouldn’t know how to do. With that in mind, I put together a top 10 list of reasons to work with a professional wedding officiant.
Top 10 list of why to work with a professional officiant
#10 Welcoming and Engaging
With a warm and genuine welcome, your professional officiant sets the tone for your entire wedding day. Your guests will feel included by the way your professional officiant draws them into the ceremony. With eye contact, voice control, and experience performing ceremonies, your professional officiant will engage your guests and make them feel part of the proceedings, as opposed to just passive observers.
#9 Create a Calm Environment
Your wedding day is wonderfully chaotic! With so much going on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Also, not everyone is comfortable being the center of attention, so that creates even more stress. All this to say that wedding days are exciting and very lively. What you really need, especially during the ceremony, is a calm and centering energy. You need someone to ground you, to keep you relaxed and present. A professional officiant understands how to provide this environment for you. You’ll have the time and space to sink into the moment and savor the ceremony!
#8 It’s About You, Not About Us
This is a tricky one. When a friend performs the ceremony – and I’ve seen this happen – they sometimes crack jokes and tell stories that include themselves. While this can be entertaining, really the right time to tell these stories is in a toast during the reception, not during a meaningful moment like the ceremony. Also, including themselves in the story takes the focus away from the couple and puts it onto the storyteller. I’ve also seen a friend become overly emotional and unable to keep presenting. While this can be a sweet moment, it once again takes the focus away from the wedding couple and puts it onto the friend. As a professional officiant, we understand that we need to be a visible part of your ceremony and simultaneously not make it about us at all. We know how to balance being part of the ceremony, but ensuring it’s about you, not us.
#7 Making it Legal
You want your ceremony to be legal and binding, yes? A professional officiant, authorized by the state, knows the formalities that must happen to ensure the ceremony is legal. Putting this kind of obligation onto a friend or family member can be stressful. They may be unsure of how to file for the marriage license, how to fill it out completely, or where to send it after the wedding. A professional can guide you through the process of obtaining your Maine marriage license, most definitely knows which boxes need to be filled out and by whom, and how to return the license to the town office to make your marriage legal.
#6 Manage Family Dynamics, Advocate for Your Wishes
Not all families get along. And, even some families who do get along get agitated when it comes to a wedding. They want to see certain things happen, maybe things that they didn’t do at their wedding. Or they have ideas that just don’t match what you and your honey want to do. A professional officiant is adept at managing unique family dynamics. More importantly, we can be an advocate for your vision and your wishes as they pertain to the ceremony. Basically, what I’m saying is, we can be the “bad guy” and take the pressure off of you, if you’re at odds with a family member about any part of the ceremony. We can protect and support you.
#5 Collection of Ideas
Over the years, we professional officiants have collected special readings, unique vow options, creative unity rituals, meaningful ring exchange language and other wonderful ideas for customizing and personalizing your ceremony. If these officiants are like me, they’ve collected these ideas into one big Dropbox folder jam packed with goodies. Not only that, but many of them will write brand new elements for your ceremony that are based on you – your customs, traditions, beliefs and values.
I can’t tell you how many inquiries I’ve received where the couple says their friend or family member, who agreed to be their officiant, couldn’t do it for one reason or another. It makes me so sad for the couple when this happens. As if they need any additional stress during wedding planning! A professional officiant would never back out on you at the last minute, and if they do have a major emergency, then they will have a well-prepared back-up plan so you’re not left in the lurch. Being professional means being prompt, responsive and predictable. You put your trust in us and we take that very seriously.
#3 Quickly Adapt to Changes
Professional officiants are prepared for anything that comes our way. We’ve managed last minute changes like shy flower girls who refuse to walk down the aisle, a best man being hospitalized the day before the wedding, sudden and damaging downpours, microphones that cut out mid-ceremony, late shuttle busses, and so much more. As they say, something will go wrong on wedding day. You want someone who can anticipate issues, think quickly, and take deliberate action. Professional wedding officiants know how to do this because we’ve done it before. We prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and adapt to whatever comes our way swiftly and confidently.
#2 Know and Work with Your Vendor Team
There’s a very good chance your professional officiant knows your photographer, videographer, wedding planner, site coordinator, wedding DJ or musician. To ensure a smoothly run event, the entire team needs to be in communication. It’s unlikely that a friend or family member will be in communication with the entire ceremony vendor team or even know what they need to know or what they need to tell the other vendors. A professional wedding officiant, on the other hand, communicates and collaborates with your other wedding pros to make sure the ceremony unfolds seamlessly. I can’t stress enough the importance of communication when it comes to the ceremony. It may not seem like it, but there are many moving parts, and it’s imperative we’re all in contact with each other.
#1 Years of Experience
And finally, the number one reason to hire a professional wedding officiant is because we have years of experience. Our experience in creative writing brings your ceremony to life. Our experience performing ceremonies ensures your guests won’t be bored. Our experience guiding our couples through the process of getting married means you have a trusted source for info
rmation, reassurance, and support. More specifically, a professional officiant knows exactly what we need to do to help the photographer capture the perfect photo, like stepping aside for the kiss. We remember to ask your guests to take their seats (one of the most common rookie mistakes). Our polished public speaking skills keeps your guests’ attention. And, most importantly we know just when to put a hand on your back for comfort; just when to offer you a tissue or push your hair aside; just when to laugh and let go of the “script” and just when to bring it back. The nuance of what we do cannot be adequately shared without truly experiencing one of our ceremonies, but we trust that you understand our value and know that we’ll do all of this and more for you!
There are many other reasons why hiring a professional wedding officiant for your ceremony is a good idea. Can you think of any of them? Drop them in the comments or leave them in the comments on this post on my Facebook page.
To bring this post to a close, I want to end by saying that working with a professional wedding officiant allows your friends and family to sit back, relax and enjoy the day without any added stress. Afterall, isn’t that exactly what you want for them?