personal memory of this special day. So choosing an officiant is more critical than most people realize. Many couples, especially those who do not have a regular place of worship, plan in advance for everything but the wedding officiant! Personal referrals can give you a sense of security but make sure the officiant meets your individual needs and requirements. There are many things to consider:
If at all possible, meet personally with the officiant to make sure you are comfortable in their presence. It helps to discuss in advance what you are looking for as a couple so you are prepared to ask questions about everything that is important to you. Are they available for your wedding date and can you imagine them presiding over your special day? Do you like their voice and will it carry? What will they wear? Do they appear to be sensitive and flexible in relating to you? Do you sense they can collaborate with other wedding professionals to make your day joyful and elegant? Remember that your officiant should be able to reflect your values, beliefs and the meaningful aspects that are unique and special about your relationship.
Does the officiant require your participation in pre-marital education or counseling? If not, are you interested in participating? Even when not required, pre-marital education is an excellent investment in your future. Learning more about each other’s strengths and weaknesses and gaining enhanced communication/conflict resolution skills ensures the best possible foundation for a happy marriage.
The Ceremony and Vows
Will the officiant work with you to develop a special ceremony which honors you as a couple? Can you use contemporary readings or are religious or scriptural readings required? Can you write your own vows or add special touches? Your ceremony should be an authentic expression of who you are as individuals and as a couple. For the most personal and unique wedding ceremony, your officiant should act as a guide and co-creator (not a director).
Do you want to be married in a church, on the beach, or at some other special
location? Is your officiant registered in the state or country where you plan to be
married? Do special location arrangements need to be made and who will make them?
Fees and Other Considerations
Fees vary depending on services and travel requirements. Do you want the officiant only at the wedding ceremony or will you require them to be present at a rehearsal? Do you want to invite them to the rehearsal dinner and/or the dinner/reception after your wedding? Don’t assume anything without asking about each of these possibilities and receiving clear answers from your officiant.
Finally, do you believe your wedding officiant will act as a trusted advisor capable of meeting your needs through listening and encouragement, linking you to other resources, or providing direction if desired? This is your day – choosing the right wedding officiant will create a special memory for years to come. 2007