Choosing your wedding officiant can be a difficult job, one that many couples postpone as long as possible. Yet, if you are going to have a wedding that is personalized, customized, and reflects who you are as a couple, the choice of your officiant is key to making that happen. What follows is a list of questions to ask of your wedding officiant, suggested by the Celebrant Foundation and Institute, in order to make sure that the officiant you choose is a good fit.
How do you create the ceremony? Do we have final approval over the script? Ideally, the officiant should collaborate with you every step of the way so that the ceremony is tailor-made for you. Don’t let a boilerplate ceremony be imposed on you.
When will you arrive? The officiant should be available at least 45 minutes before the ceremony in order to run through any last minute changes, and to coordinate details with readers, musicians, photographers and videographers.
Does your fee include a full rehearsal at the wedding venue? Many officiants don’t rehearse, but a full rehearsal is important for a beautifully choreographed ceremony and for calming last-minute nerves.
Can we vary the traditional choreography of a wedding? You may wish to face your guests rather than the officiant, or have the officiant stand to the side instead of between you and your spouse. Make sure your officiant is open to these suggestions.
What training do you have in creating and officiating at ceremonies? Many officiants have no specific training. Look for those who have a sound background in the history of ritual and ceremony, knowledge of wedding traditions around the world, the ability to manage and choreograph a wedding party, and experience in public ceremonial speaking.
Will you work with our other wedding professionals? The officiant should coordinate as needed with musicians to provide music cues for the ceremony, with photographers and videographers to assist them in getting the best shots, and with the staff of your venue to ensure that the ceremony will not conflict in any way with their requirements.
Add your own questions to this list as you prepare to interview prospective officiants. When you find the answers you are looking for, you will have found someone you can trust to work with you to create a wedding ceremony that is just right for you!