Your wedding ceremony is all about you, your fiancé, your story, your love, your beginning, and your future. You, of course, have to say your vows and the "I do's," but the majority of the ceremony is the officiant's responsibility. They are the ring-leader, the captain of the wedding. By speaking and connecting to the crowd, they'll move the ceremony right along, hitting those key points and making it officially official. Selecting the right wedding officiant for your ceremony can either be a no-brainer, or it could lead to one of the most stressful decisions you'll have to make. It's essential to choose the right person to marry you and your partner on your wedding day. Whether that officiant will be a religious one, a civil one, or a loved one, here are some helpful tips to assist you in finding and choosing the perfect wedding officiant - no pressure!
QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL WEDDING OFFICIANTS
FOR THE RELIGIOUS OFFICIANT Whether you're getting married in a religious building, or you want your wedding to reflect your religion at a modern venue, you need an officiant who is on the same page as you and your fiancé and will share the beliefs that are important to you & your relationship with your guests. You can ask these questions to help make sure you're picking the right officiant for you:
How many weddings have you officiated?
Will you give a sermon/homily?
Can you officiate an interfaith ceremony? (if applicable)
Do we have to get married in the church/synagogue/mosque?
Can we write our own vows?
Is there a donation we should make to the house of worship?
How often will we meet?
Do you require premarital counseling?
FOR THE CIVIL OFFICIANT If you aren't intending on having a religious ceremony/wedding, and you want to find a professional officiant to help your ceremony run smoothly and beautifully, you can ask these questions to help make sure you're picking the right officiant for you:
How long have you been an officiant?
Do you have sample ceremonies, wordings, readings that we can look through to get a feel for the ceremony?
If so, can we review it ahead of the ceremony?
Do you personalize each ceremony you officiate?
What does your typical ceremony outline involve?
What is your fee?
Can you help us with our vows?
What will you wear?
FOR THE FRIEND OR FAMILY OFFICIANT
Lately, we've seen a lot of couples choosing a friend or family member that is important to their relationship to be the officiant. This can definitely be a risk taken, as your friend or family member may have never done this before and might not know what to do or say and when to do or say it. However, it can be a really special moment to be married by someone you love, and you'll have them in your pictures instead of someone you don't know as well. You can ask these questions to help make sure your friend or family member can fill the important role:
Do you understand the responsibilities of the role?
Do you anticipate any scheduling conflicts?
Are you comfortable speaking in front of our friends & families?
Do you have an idea of what you'll say or ideas you may want to incorporate into our ceremony?
Can we cover any costs to make you an officiant?
CHEMISTRY, CHEMISTRY, CHEMISTRY Meet with a variety of wedding officiants before making a decision. Like in the dating world, there are many fish in the sea, which can take a lot of time to find "the one." Now that you and your fiance are taking the leap to start your life together, it's time to find the perfect wedding officiant, but don't just choose the first one - you must share chemistry. You'll want to meet with several officiants at several locations (especially if you are looking for a religious officiant) to find a perfect match. Choose 3-5 potential officiants and schedule meetings with them. Our advice is to look for someone who has experience officiating weddings and one that makes you and your partner feel comfortable. Your wedding day will be full of excitement and possibly some nervous jitters, so you'll want to choose someone who makes you feel at ease.
FIND SOMEONE WHO ALIGNS WITH YOUR CEREMONY STYLE. If you've decided on a religious wedding ceremony, you'll most likely need to find an officiant that aligns with your faith and religion. If you're the serious type, you may want to find an officiant that's traditional and conservative. If you're the light-hearted and silly type, you may want to find an officiant that's easy-going with a sense of humor. It's your wedding day, your ceremony, your beginning, your style - find someone that matches your vision, brings that vision to life, and paves the path for your happily ever after.
MAKE SURE THEY'RE COMFORTABLE WITH PUBLIC SPEAKING. It shouldn't matter if you're expecting ten people or 200 people at your wedding; the officiant needs to be more than comfortable with public speaking. They need to connect with the crowd, speak in a way and a volume that all guests can hear and understand, and be confident and professional. After all, it is a wedding ceremony, and your officiant should be honored and proud to be in the position they are in for your big day.
DECIDE IF YOU WANT SOMEONE YOU KNOW OR DON'T KNOW.
Whether you are moving forward with a religious ceremony or a non-traditional ceremony, one big question to ask yourself is whether you want your officiant to be someone you know or someone you don't know. If you've always been around religion and tradition, you may have an officiant in mind, one that you've heard speak, one that knows you and your fiancé. Or, you can choose an officiant you don't know and one that defines the religious ceremony of your dreams. Do keep in mind that some religious officiants require or recommend premarital counseling, so keep an open mind to the request if it comes up. If you are having a secular ceremony, you can either search for a civil officiant or turn your ceremony over to a close friend or family to officiate - both come with pros and cons. A civil wedding officiant has one job and one job they've done hundreds of times, and that is to legalize the marriage and be responsible for witnessing and validating the consent between you two. But because they have done this a time or two, they know what to do, what to say, what not to say - it will be a smooth ride. But the downside of hiring an officiant is the fact that they don't know you or your partner on a personal level. So they might not be able to connect personally or express the love you two share like a friend or family member would be able to.
On the other hand, a friend or family member knows you and can make your ceremony feel intimate and personal. They can share personal stories about you as individuals, you as a couple, and can lead your ceremony and vows in a way to personalize your nuptials. Even though you may trust this person with your life, it is always a wise decision to read over what they prepare for your wedding. Go over what they have planned just in case there's anything you want them to add or remove; you may not want them to share too many personal stories (remember, grandma is probably going to be there). Also, having a loved one as your officiant is more cost-effective, and honestly, it's easier to be ordained than one might think. But having a friend or family member officiate your wedding may also come with a few challenges, including the fact that they've probably never officiated a wedding before. They most likely won't have the experience or confidence right off the bat, and it can come with some added pressure for all parties.
MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND THE JOB COMPLETELY. Officiating a wedding is a big job. It's a job that anyone should be honored to take on. It's a planning process and should take several meetings, several conversations, several rough drafts, so make sure whomever you choose is up for the challenge and hours of commitment. You'll also want to make sure your officiant is aware of your wedding date and is committed to not missing it.
HOW TO FIND A WEDDING OFFICIANT
Before you jump down a rabbit hole online, ask recently married friends or family members for referrals. They might know the perfect officiant, or hey, maybe they are the perfect officiant for you Check out some places of worship - maybe your officiant is just a door away Ask your vendors for their recommendations, such as your wedding planner or photographer - as they are getting to know you and your wedding vision, they might be able to point you in the right direction Ask a friend or family member if they'll get ordained and officiant your wedding Here are a few websites with local officiants and honest reviews to help narrow down your search.
Wedding Wire TX Officiants
The Knot TX Officiants