Besides your wedding attire, wedding venue, wedding décor, wedding photography, another most important thing is your wedding ceremony. Yeah, for your wedding ceremony you’ll need a wedding officiant.
Undeniably, he/she will play one of the most important roles on your big day. Your wedding officiant is the one who will set the tone of your wedding ceremony and legitimatize your sacred union. Like any other decision related to your wedding, it is also an important decision, which should be taken sincerely.
In this blog, I am sharing with you best 14 tips for hiring a wedding officiant for your wedding and make your ceremony a memorable one!
#1. Decide the kind of ceremony you want
First things first, before you start to find a wedding officiant, you need to know the kind of ceremony you are looking for. Whether you are looking for a Religious or secular wedding, traditional ceremony or for a celebration that’s unique, book or personalized, etc. Whatever you want for your wedding, you have to know it before you hire an officiant. The moment you know the kind of ceremony you want, finding your wedding officiant would be easier for you.
#2. Plan ahead of time
Like all the other wedding related tasks, including your venue, flower, attire, food, photography, etc. it is crucial that you plan your wedding officiant ahead of time. Understand that your wedding officiant is as important as any other details of your wedding. So, it is recommended to start planning your wedding officiant or who do you want to have as an officiant at your wedding as soon as you have the wedding dates.
#3. Read reviews of wedding officiant
While you hire your wedding officiant it is crucial that you read reviews about them. If you find their reviews satisfactory then only fix up a meeting with them. Because the bride and groom who hired him/her can tell you more about him/her than anybody else in the world.
#4. Meet your wedding officiant in person
Hiring an officiant you already know can be a great deal. Your wedding is a big event of your life, you would definitely want to begin it with a ceremony that’s unforgettable. Though the ceremony will last only 20 minutes, but those 20 minutes are the most crucial 20 minutes of your lifetime. And you would always want to have the best wedding ceremony. If the wedding officiant is personally connected to you he/she would be able to bring the right tone to your ceremony. It is crucial that you meet your wedding officiant in person. If at all meeting face to face is not possible, make sure you setup a meeting online like skype meeting. While meeting your officiant see how comfortable you’re with him/her, and if you’re not comfortable, then you know there are many others to fix your meeting with ☺ ☺ Don’t go with the one you don’t feel good about!
#5. See the level of experience he/she possess
Hiring an officiant with experience simply means that he or she already knows how to write and deliver wedding ceremonies with grace and confidence. Also, if you don’t know how to write your wedding vows or choosing readings, an experienced officiant can help you write your wedding vows as well. Readings can sometimes be difficult to choose if they do not have a direct connection to the couple. But an experienced officiant may help you cut any unnecessary readings or offer guidance about what type of reading might fit in to have a wedding ceremony within the time frame.
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#6. See how flexible they are
Hiring a wedding officiant who is flexible will help you have your ceremony your way, as it is your day. But if you hire someone who is locked into doing the ceremony a particular way or we can say typed way, it becomes difficult for couples who are looking for something unique. So, it is recommended to see an officiant who is ready to take inputs from you.
#7. See if they are able to add elements of personalization
A good officiant will always work closely with a couple to plan a meaningful ceremony. They will always take the personal details of the couple ahead of their big day in order to add elements of personalization to it. Some officiants even give their couples a questionnaire to fill out to have complete idea about how they met, what they think of their partners etc. These small details make the officiant know the couple as well as make guests feel like he knows the couple well.
Having a close friend officiate who is ordained can really be fun, as they know you on a personal level, however, any good officiant will surely take the time to get to know you well. The best and most memorable wedding ceremonies are personal and are able to invoke just the right amount of emotion from tears to laughter. Many wedding ceremonies include the couple’s story – Hiring a wedding officiant who takes time to know you well will be able to deliver a thoughtful commentary about you two at your wedding, from how you met to why you want to spend your whole life with each other. It’s your big day and it is imperative to start it with the right kind of ceremony.
#7. Ask about the length of the ceremony
When you meet your wedding officiant ask about the length of the ceremony. Because there are some couples who want a long ceremony; however, some look for a short ceremony. So, while hiring an officiant see how lengthy wedding ceremony you are looking for, because your wedding officiant may or may not be open to create the kind of ceremony you are looking for. So, it’s good to ask about the length of the ceremony beforehand.
#8. Ask him/her to describe his/her favorite wedding
The best way to get an idea about the officiant or to understand the officiant better is to ask him or her to describe his/her favorite wedding. If your wedding officiant is able to narrate a great wonderful wedding, then you know that you have to hire him. But if his/jer favorite story is regular, routines, typed, and have no fun element in it or if you couldn’t connect to the story emotionally, then there is no point hiring a wedding officiant like this, especially when you are looking for a unique wedding ceremony.
#9. Ask for a video or a working sample where he/she performed a ceremony
Of course, we are in the era of technology and to a great extent we are lucky to be in this era, where everybody has his/her work captured to show to his/her clients. Like other wedding vendors, wedding officiants also have their work videos to show to their potential clients. You also ask your wedding officiant show a wedding video where he/she has performed a ceremony. A video will help you have a great idea of his/her style. Also, you will be able to see how they are in front of a crowd and understand if you really like his/her style.
#10. Ask about your officiant’s schedule on the day of the wedding
It is highly important that you ask your wedding officiant’s schedule on the day of the wedding. See if he/she will be flexible in case the wedding starts late, or get delayed. No matter how much we try to be in time or go by timeline, certain unexpected situations, like your mom’s flight got delayed, or may be your VIP guests got stuck in jam etc. may arise at any moment. Hence, it crucial to be ready for them. Hiring a flexible wedding officiant will help you have a stress free wedding ceremony.
#11. Ask about his/her charges
Before you finally hire your wedding officiant it is crucial that you ask his/her charges. The rates or charges of an officiant will vary, as in more cases than not, they are based on the date, time of day, and the distance the officiant has to travel. It is important to understand all the upfront costs beforehand, because some officiants charge extra for additional ceremonies, such as sand ceremonies or unity candles. And some offer all inclusive rates to their clients.
#12. Ask about the marriage license
Make sure you ask about the marriage license and when the wedding officiant will send in the documentation. Because, some officiants do it as soon as the wedding is over, while some take time to mail it in. Whatever, it is crucial to ask about the paperwork, especially in the case of someone new or a friend who is going to perform the ceremony, make sure they don’t miss to send off that paperwork!
#13. Pick the one you will enjoy
Last but not least, while hiring a wedding officiant make sure you pick the one that you will simply enjoy. Hiring the right wedding officiant will allow you to have a perfect wedding ceremony, exactly the way you have always dreamt of it.
#14. Fee for a wedding officiant
A standard fee usually ranges from $200 to $500. Some civil officiants however charge more for add-ons such as custom ceremony scripts, premarital counseling and/or a rehearsal. However, it is recommended to provide your wedding officiant a small tip or bonus of maybe $25 or more. It is a great way of saying “Thank you” for making your ceremony unique and memorable.
To pan out…
Thanks for reading! I hope this blog is helpful. Your wedding officiant is an important part of your wedding, make sure you choose wisely.