Your wedding day is an important occasion. You’ve probably spent a lot of time planning all the details to make sure everything goes well. A crucial part of the planning is finding someone to officiate the ceremony. Many couples already have a spiritual leader or friend in mind, but even if you don't, you can still find someone who is the right fit for your special day.
Research Officiants in Your Area
Start your search just like you would look for any other service. Look for ministers in your city through an online search, and check out their websites or bios. Select a few who stand out and contact them for more information.
It's also a good idea to ask other people who have gotten married in your area. Talk to recently wedded friends for recommendations and read online reviews of prospective candidates. If you are going through couples counseling, your therapist may be able to suggest trustworthy resources for finding the right officiant. You should always check the credentials of any potential officiant you are considering so that you know your marriage will be legal. It may seem like thoroughly researching candidates takes a lot of effort, but it is time well spent to find the right person for the job.
Meet With Candidates
Once you narrow your choices, you should meet with your top picks. Compile a list of questions that you want to ask:
- Are you available on the date of the wedding?
- How much do your services cost?
- Can you attend the rehearsal?
- Do you have videos of previous weddings you've officiated?
- What is your presentation style?
- How often can you meet to plan?
Of course, what constitutes good answers to these questions depends heavily on your own preferences. The best answers are the ones that match your values and comfort level.
Try To Match Values
Most ordained ministers have their own preferences for conducting services. Your wedding day should focus on what you want, though. Therefore, you need to find someone who is willing and able to uphold the values that you cherish rather than pursue his or her own agenda.
This, of course, is easier to do if your values are mostly the same to begin with. For example, you may want your ceremony to remain focused on your relationship and the love you share rather than any talk of God or other influences. While a church leader may certainly be capable of honoring your wishes, you may be more comfortable with someone who has more experience conducting secular weddings.
Get To Know Your Officiant
After choosing an officiant, you probably want to meet with him or her several times before the wedding. Unless your ceremony is very simple, it's smart to go over the script ahead of time to ensure that it reflects what you want it to say. Follow-up meetings are useful for solidifying plans so that there are no big surprises.
Even with a script, wedding officiants are professional speakers and thus have a tendency to extemporize. Getting to know the person who conducts your ceremony helps him or her add a personal touch to what is said. Your officiant is also likely to have good advice to share about how to make the day go smoothly, particularly if he or she has a lot of experience. By the time your wedding day arrives, your officiant should have a strong grasp of who you are, both as individuals and a couple.
Picking out flowers and the perfect cake is important, but finding the right officiant is vital for making sure your ceremony goes off without a hitch. Put in the time necessary to find the best person for the position. You'll be happy you did.