Choosing the person who will perform your wedding ceremony may be as easy as asking your long-time pastor in the Church you’re to be married in, or it may involve interviewing officiants whom you’ve never had contact with before.
The most important thing is that you and your fiancé feel comfortable with this person — and with any luck you’ll know right away whether you both “click” with him or her. Recommendations from recently-married friends or colleagues in the area can be very helpful here.
Some key questions you’ll want to ask include:
- How long have you been performing wedding ceremonies professionally?
- Will you be open to accommodating our non-traditional or other requests during the ceremony?
- What is your overtime policy should things run longer or start later than planned?
- Do you book more that one wedding event per date? (If so, ensure that he or she plans to leave enough time in between events in case the first wedding runs long.)
- Do you have a contingency plan in the case of illness or family emergency?
As with all of your wedding vendors, be sure to have a signed contract in place with your wedding officiant, and set up a meeting with your officiant approximately two to four months before your wedding day to discuss your chosen wedding vows and wording. Also discuss any other ceremony elements you wish to incorporate, including any wedding music or wedding readings.
Before setting up any appointments to meet with potential wedding officiants, you should also familiarize yourself with a typical wedding ceremony format so that you can talk through your own vision for the day. Traditions will vary from faith to faith if the ceremony will be religious, but the format of most ceremonies including secular or non-denominational ceremonies generally follows a similar flow of events.
The more you can do on your own in terms of planning out the structure and feel of the ceremony and the tone you’d like to set for the day, the easier it will be for your wedding officiant to help tie everything together into a meaningful and memorable event. Experienced officiants will be able to add an extra special touch to the ceremony, sometimes even above and beyond what you and your fiancé had envisioned.