While adecadent multi level wedding cake, a designer gown and gourmet cuisine may be on every couple’s wish list, the only service they really need is their officiant. But while every couple enjoys planning the reception and the honeymoon,often with budget breaking results, far fewer look forward to planning the ceremony.For many couples, it’s the necessary hurdle that makes the marriage possible.It seems boring, routine and….expensive.

home“I don’t know why it cost so much, it’s only 20 minutes!”is a common comment when couples find that their officiant ‘s fee is more than they thought, even if they had no idea WHAT that would cost when they started to plan.The truth of the matter is, that like an iceberg, that“twenty minutes” of ceremony is just the smallest part of what really goes into an inspiring and memorable ceremony.

If you have decided to have a ceremony with an independent officiant (as opposed to your family rabbi, minister or priest), you’ll find that the choices of what to say and how to say it are dizzying.You can literally do almost anything you want (as long as you take a vow to each other and someone legal pronounces you married). You can include your favorite music, your friends and family, even your dog! Taking your ideas, your history and hopes for the future and blending all of that into a meaningful ceremony is a challenging task.

The person who takes that on has to have a blend of experience, curiosity, and enthusiasm. They need to be able to write your gorgeous story, perform it with style, and deal with all the spontaneous things that may happen along the way.(That would be fainting groomsmen, tantrum throwing flower girls and ring bearer dogs who eat the rings…..)They need to have the personality to charm everyone in the room at the same time that they are performing something very, very important.And they have to be legal.

To do this well, they have to know you, to think about you, to write about you, to collaborate with you. They need to spend time with you on the day, follow up afterwards and make sure you have all the information you need before, during and after the ceremony.That is time consuming; the average, hand written wedding takes more than ten hours, from the time you first call your potential officiant, through the interview, to the writing and editing and up to the mailing of your license.

You should feel that your officiant is truly your partner, and is not only willing, but excited about researching traditions that are important to your family, writing new rituals (I DO love my sushi sharing!) And you should never feel rushed, like you are ‘Wedding Number 12 on Weekend Number 6”. You should feel special, because your wedding IS special. Not just to you, but to the guests that you have invited to share the day.

You’ve planned every detail of your wedding to be personal, unique and inspiring!Picking the right officiant is another way to make that happen, exactly as you imagined it(or maybe even better).