Wedding Aces Bridal Buds

11 Questions to Ask an Officiant

Posted by Caitlin on Oct 25, 2013

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Photo: Genesa Richards Photography

Like everything else on your wedding day, your ceremony should be a deeply personal experience that reflects both you and your significant other’s values and style. Whether your ceremony is religious or not, having the right person to guide you toward a ceremony that’s special and meaningful is crucial. Check out WeddingWire’s vendor reviews to find officiants near you, then use these questions to help guide your initial discussion.

1. Are you free on my wedding date? Obviously, you’ll need to make sure that the person can perform the wedding on your big day.

2. Do you only perform weddings at a specific venue (house of worship) or will you be able to come to my venue? Some officiants will only perform ceremonies in their house of worship, and won’t travel to other venues. If you want to have your wedding at a house of worship, this won’t be an issue, but if you’re planning on hosting a ceremony at a different location, this is an important question.

3. Are you licensed to perform a wedding in the state where we’ll be marrying? Your officiant should be ordained and licensed to perform marriages in your state.

4. How much do you charge? If you’re marrying in a church or house of worship, a couple will usually make a donation in lieu of actually paying the officiant directly. If the officiant works on more of a “freelance” basis, they’ll have a fee, plus any travel or other expenses.

5. How many times/how often should we meet before the wedding? This varies from officiant to officiant. Some require premarital counseling, others just want to meet once or twice before the wedding to discuss the ceremony.

6. How long have you been performing ceremonies? Find out about the officiant’s experience, and how many weddings he or she has performed. While this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, it’s good to know.

7. What do you love most about being an officiant? This is a good way to get a sense of the officiant’s personality.

8. How much can we personalize our ceremony? Would you allow us to write our own vows and incorporate readings? Some religious ceremonies are quite strict and may not allow much customization, but other ceremonies are a bit more flexible.

9. How long does a ceremony typically take? For planning purposes, it’s good to know how long your ceremony will be – it can vary greatly from officiant to officiant.

10. Can you provide a sample of a ceremony you did for another couple, either in writing or on video? Get a sense of what a typical ceremony looks and sounds like. How much input did the couple have? Did it feel personal and special?

11. What happens in case of an emergency? Make sure that there is a backup plan in case the officiant gets sick or there is some other unforeseen issue.

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