If you’re reading this post, you’re looking for a professional wedding officiant. Maybe you’ve considered asking a friend to officiate your wedding, but you realized you really need someone who knows what they’re doing. You want an officiant with experience crafting a unique, personal ceremony, and expertise in planning all the logistics of the ceremony. You’re definitely looking for an engaging presenter who will welcome your guests and make them feel like they’re their for a reason (because they are!).
So, now you’re on the hunt for just the right professional wedding officiant. You’re a little worried, because you know this person is going to be a complete stranger.
You may be thinking thoughts like:
Will they embarrass us by telling ridiculous jokes?
Will we feel a connection to her?
Will the ceremony be about “us?” Or will it be some boring template?
Will we get to put input into the ceremony script?
These questions and maybe others are swirling through your head.
What you need, my friend, is the ultimate guide to finding the right wedding officiant for you and your beloved!
First you must decide that you definitely want to a professional and not a friend or family member. You must weigh the pros and cons of having someone close to you perform the ceremony. Being an officiant is so much more than just reading a script and being a good public speaker. It takes gravitas, creativity, calm amidst wonderful chaos, and the ability to adapt to anything that may arise (broken mic, dropped rings, fainting bridesmaid, unwilling flower girl, etc.).
What Does an Officiant Actually Do?
Great question! Understanding the role of a professional officiant before you start looking for one will give you a leg up. There are many kinds of professional officiants, and this whole post is about finding the one that’s right for you. So, educate yourself on what they do (and what they don’t do) so you’re prepared when you reach out to them.
There are many myths about what an officiant does. Myths like, officiants only work for 20 minutes on a Saturday and anyone can be an officiant, it’s not that hard. Make sure you understand the myths that exist so you are better prepared to find just the right officiant.
When Should We Hire Our Officiant?
Another great question! The big, national wedding blogs will tell you to hire your officiant 6-8 months in advance of your wedding, but, I want you to know that sought-after officiants will likely be booked if you wait until six months before the wedding.
Find out when you should hire your officiant so you’re not disappointed that the one you really, really, really want is already booked. My advice is to hire all the wedding pros who can only be in one place at one time – DJ, photographer, planner, officiant – first, then move on to hiring the pros who can do multiple weddings in a weekend like florists, bakeries, rental companies, etc.
Choosing the Right Wedding Officiant
Now it’s time to prepare for your professional wedding officiant Google search. Before you do this, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with some things you should be considering when looking for just the right officiant. Things you definitely want to consider are:
Do they have unity ceremony ideas and other ideas of elements to add into your ceremony?
Do they have years of experience and guidance and advice for you based on that experience?
Do they share resources, like, say, a blog full of hundreds of posts about wedding ceremonies?
Do they include managing the rehearsal as part of their service fee or is that extra?
Do they have stellar (and recent) reviews from past couples?
Officiants are More Expensive than We Thought
After doing a bit of Googling, you might find that you’re surprised by how much wedding officiants charge. Sure you can find one that only charges $100, but that’s not the kind of officiant you’re looking for. You want someone who will guide you with their experience, who will write a custom ceremony just for you, and who will be so engaging that your guests will talk about how unique and beautiful the ceremony was, for years to come. All that takes time, experience, wisdom and creativity. It’s not just “20 minutes on a Saturday. “
The Inquiry Call
By now you’ve reached out to an officiant or two and are preparing to meet with them. Prepare for the questions should you ask your officiant. and prepare for the questions the officiant ask you. Think about asking other questions such as:
Do you have a standard workflow to help us stay on track with the ceremony creation, or are we responsible for that?
Do you have a Dropbox folder full of ceremony ideas and readings or do we need to do that research ourselves?
Do you embrace LGBTQ+ couples and inclusivity for our guests, too?
What Does a Professional Officiant Not Do?
Knowing what a professional officiant will not do, is just as important as knowing what they will do. Knowing this will also help you find just the right officiant, because you want to make sure you find one that won’t do any of these things. These are also good questions to ask during the inquiry call. Finding out what they won’t do will determine whether they’re right for you. For example, if you want an officiant who will tell you to obey your
partner in your vows, then you’ll want to make sure that’s something they do (I definitely don’t).
Hiring Your Officiant
Ok, this link is about the five easy steps it takes to hire me, so this will be different for other officiants. Make sure you understand their client-on-boarding process. Make sure you ask him/her:
Do you accept credit cards and online payments or do you expect us to write a check and snail mail it?
Do you have an electronic contract to sign or will we have to print out a PDF old school style?
Do you create a client portal for us to view all our ceremony materials?
What is your method of communication and how responsive are you to emails and texts?
Congratulations, You’re Now Working with a Trusted Professional Wedding Officiant!
You’ve done your research; educated yourself on what an officiant does, doesn’t do and the myths about them; you understand their pricing and have determined they’re the right officiant for you. You’ve just hired him or her and now you’ll be working with a trusted, experienced, professional officiant who feels like a friend. Congratulations!
Wait, Do We Invite Our Officiant to our Reception?
You’re probably wondering if you should invite them to your wedding reception and include them in your guest count, right? This formality has changed somewhat over the years, so you really can do whatever feels right to you.