How Do We Choose an Officiant?

Choosing the right Wedding Officiant is an important decision. Here are a few questions I recommend you have ready to ask anyone you are considering hiring as your wedding officiant.

Q: How long have you been doing this and what is your training?
In this day of internet ordinations, not everyone has the skills to do this work well: a combination of people skills, writing, performing, and a maniacal devotion to details. You should be working with someone who is dedicated to their work and your ceremony.

Q: How are you legal in my state? (you’d be amazed how few people ask me this, and it is becoming an issue in many areas…)

Q: Can we meet with you in person?
And by ‘in person’ I mean in the flesh, on Skype, or Facetime; you will get a vibe from the officiant’s personality and get to see whether they are ready on time, whether they are prepared for your meeting, etc. One of my trainers says that the way you do anything is the way you do everything, and the meeting or long initial phone call can tell you a LOT about the way your ceremony will be.

Q: Why do you love doing this work?
Your officiant should sound like they really, really want to be present at your celebration and make it a memorable occasion. If they don’t sound enthusiastic and fun during your phone conversation, (which is really the easiest part of the process), they are NOT going to be any more enjoyable at the ceremony, and it is really important to be surrounded by people you like that day.

Q: How is our ceremony created?
In my humble opinion, sending a couple 26 pages of readings and ceremony chunks for them to choose and then have strung together does not a personalized ceremony make. You should feel that your ceremony is going to be written with care, with your input, and with resources that match your philosophies and wishes.

Q: Can we include a sand ceremony, ring warming, broom jump, dunk tank?
If you are interested in including ritual elements, you want to work with someone who is happy to research and write them. The process is, after all, a collaboration. Rigidity is a bad sign.

Q: How much do you charge? Does that include travel time, parking, waiting time, extra consultations?
You want to know, ahead of time, what that number is going to be. There are so many ways for your budget to spin out of control that whatever pieces can be booked as a flat fee will be a real asset to your planning. In most cases, the only thing that may be up in the air is waiting time, and this is an important factor not only regard to your ceremony, but also to your reception planning. In some cases, your reception venue or your officiant may not be able to wait a half hour for Aunt Betty, who is always late, to show up. There are many ways and reasons to assure that your wedding happens on time, and a PRO celebrant should be able to work with you on containing this cost.

Q: What is your cancellation policy?
And also What is your policy if you, as an officiant have to cancel?

These are both important questions. If you have to cancel, timing may be all in the decision to refund your deposit or not. If they have to cancel, you should get every dime back and assistance with finding another officiants.