Serving the Triad and Beyond

Choosing an Officiate that is Right For You

January 26, 2018

Choosing the right wedding Officiant can sometimes get over looked during your wedding planning, but it is an important detail not to forget. The wedding officiant you choose will not only have a huge influence on the tone of the ceremony, but act as a communicator of your style and belief system. So how do you find a wedding officiant that  is right for you?




The officiant is not just a vendor, and selecting your officiant is not the same as selecting flowers or a signature cocktail. While it may include a business agreement, it is also a very sacred agreement. The officiant is the facilitator of the most important aspect of your wedding-the ceremony; and you will share an intimate moment in time. I see the relationship between the couple and the officiant as more of a partnership and believe both should treat the process and the relationship respectfully.


Find someone you feel truly comfortable with


Seek someone who makes you feel so at ease on so many levels that you can relax on your wedding day, knowing you will be taken care of. You want the person who facilitates and guides this important milestone in your life to be someone you both feel confident about; someone who makes no judgments about your union and whose only concern is providing you a ceremonial experience that is all you want it to be. It would be wonderful to work with a wedding officiant who is caring and willing to get to know you.



Understands Your Style

Envision for a moment how you want your ceremony to feel like. Serious? Humorous? Romantic? Your wedding officiant will set the tone for the ceremony, so it is very important to understand and convey the style you are looking for to them. Wedding officiants do more than help you exchange your vows with one another. They are there to elaborate on the love you share with each other, and the lasting commitment you are about to make. Lastly, they are there to share a sense of direction to the adventure the two of you are about to set out on.


Review their Work 

Nothing speaks louder than a person’s work. You can see a piece of their soul in each ceremony they have performed. Most wedding officiants should have samples and styles to choose from. Take time to look through them and see what would be the best fit for your style. This would be a great time to write down any questions regarding adding in music, quotes or any other personal touches such as providing your own written vows or a special ceremony such as tying a sailor’s knot to symbolize your love. Read the reviews online and don’t form your opinion based on the number available to read, but the quality.


Be sure to contact potential wedding officiants up to a year in advance to review their work and interview them in person. Once you find a wedding officiant that you like, book them! Booking early will not only put your mind at ease, but some may or may not require pre-marital counseling sessions before they will marry you.

Set Up a Meeting

Call and set up a one-on-one meeting with your potential wedding officiant so you can listen to their voice, how they speak, and get a sense of their personality. You want a wedding officiant that will make a connection and resonate with you. They are there to add valued meaning to your ceremony on the wedding, so be sure that you are comfortable with who they are as a person and as a performer.


Be clear about what is in the ceremony


I believe the couple should have input into the language, readings, and rituals in the ceremony, and should have final approval of the wedding script. Not every officiant works that way but at the very least you should be assured that there will be no surprises or unwanted preaching. One bride had a clergy person who unexpectedly launched into a tirade of religious political commentary in between her vows. "I found him offensive," she says, "and could barely focus on the ceremony. It was so distracting."



Ask for the kind of ceremony language you want



Unless you have opted for a very traditional religious ceremony with an officiant who must follow a certain religious protocol and language, you do not have to settle for a ceremony that is completely controlled by someone else. Even if you two decide to go the traditional route, you may be able to ask for adjustments to any language you cannot live with. One bride couldn't bear the idea of being pronounced "man and wife" and asked her clergy person to make sure he said "husband and wife"; another asked her minister to replace the phrase "till death do you part" because "it was too negative sounding." Even in traditional settings, look for the most open-minded clergy people and ask to see the ceremony before the big day.




Put things in writing



Weddings are stressful. Couples are new at asking these questions and conversations may not be remembered in full. This is why it is extremely important to have a clear agreement with the officiant, so you know exactly what to expect. By the same token, officiants should provide clear information on what they will and will not provide. Not every officiant works with a contract or officiating agreement, but you should ask for one. If not, send an e-mail recalling all the points discussed in the first meeting so that it is on paper for all to see.




Christina Mathews - 336-705-3239

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