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Selecting a Wedding Officiant

So much planning goes into your dream wedding. So many details to attend to, and so many decisions to make. Finding a wedding officiant is often shuffled to the end of the wedding planning process.

The best advise is: don't wait to start researching and interviewing potential officiants as soon as you secure your wedding venue.

When: If possible, choose your officiant approximately eight or nine months before the big day. This gives you all enough time to work together on all the touching details that will make your ceremony uniquely yours. A wedding officiant doesn’t just show up on your wedding day. They will be working with you to create your one-of-a-kind ceremony and the process benefits greatly when the officiant has the opportunity to get to know you both individually and as a couple.

Who: An experienced officiant can provide:

  • a graceful, memorable and highly personalized ceremony

  • knowledgeable input about all aspects of the ceremony: length, reading and ritual options, standard and unique ceremony orders and general wedding etiquette

  • professionalism performing any number of different ceremonies types and will make the most of various locations, from a mansion to a park or backyard, from a beach, meadow or mountain to a formal ballroom.

Note: Some couples consider asking a relative or friend to perform their wedding ceremony. While it is a great honor to be asked, and most people will say yes (even if they prefer not to officiant and would rather relax and enjoy the wedding), a non-professional may lack experience and/or end up reading words from a script. Also, a friend might not be comfortable handling unexpected issues that may come up.

What: Before hiring a professional wedding officiant, consider the type of wedding ceremony you want. Will your wedding be traditional or non-traditional? Religious or secular? Do you want to have traditional wedding vows or your own vows or no vows at all? Once you have decided on a few fundamental details, you can discuss them with your officiant candidates before you decide who to hire.

How: Once you know the basic vibe you want for your wedding and the venue where it will be, you can start looking for a wedding officiant. Just like other wedding vendors, officiants can be found online through web sites, review sites like Yelp, or curated wedding vendor web sites, such as The Knot or the WeddingWire. Word of mouth and wedding planner referrals are also a good ways to locate potential officiants.

Where: Unless there are extenuating circumstances, your wedding officiant should live nearby so there are no issues with meeting in-person, if that is preferred over virtual planning meetings, or for them to arrive 45-60 minutes early on the wedding day to ensure everything is ready for your ceremony to go smoothly.

Takeaway: Hire a professional early in your wedding planning process. A professional wedding officiant, like all good wedding professionals, will take stress out of your wedding day. You want one you can trust.

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