Who Officiates Your Wedding Ceremony?

Who Officiates Your Wedding Ceremony? The ceremony is the most important part of your big day. Here are a few things to think about when choosing your officiant.
By: 
Rachel Griffiths

who officiates your wedding ceremony

Good Reads

Want friends and family to take part in the ceremony? Consider these special readings:

Corinthians 13:4-8, The Bible
“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful...”

Apache Marriage Blessing
“Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth for the other...”

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments. Love is not love/Which alters when it alteration finds...”

Goethe
“It is the true season of Love when we believe that we alone can love; that no one could ever have loved as much before, and that no one will ever Love in the same way after us.”

Booking your officiant and your ceremony site is generally done about 11 months before the wedding. If you want a religious service but don’t belong to a particular church, know that some churches will allow nonmembers to marry there.

Also, some clergypeople will agree to marry a couple at a nonreligious site. Since your officiant will be the “master of ceremonies,” it’s important that you both feel comfortable with him or her. Ask these key questions:

  • Is he or she licensed by the state to perform marriages? Can you see the license?
  • What are the fees for the officiant’s services and for the use of the site? (Expect a fee ranging anywhere from $100 to $600 for the ceremony.)
  • Is your officiant open to personalizing your ceremony? Will he or she spend time getting to know the two of you? Can he or she suggest music, readings and ways to incorporate family and friends into the service?
  • What documents must you present (e.g., marriage license, divorce decrees)?
  • For a religious ceremony: Does the officiant require you to take pre-marriage classes or counseling before the ceremony?
  • Is it permissible for the two of you to write your own vows?
  • Are there any music restrictions? (Some churches allow only religious pieces to be performed.)
  • Can the photographer and videographer work in the sanctuary?
  • Are there any décor restrictions at your ceremony site? Also, are decorations or props, like an aisle runner or pew ribbons, provided? How much time is available for setup and cleanup?
  • Is there another wedding planned right before or after your ceremony? (You don’t want to feel pressed for time.)
  • When will the wedding rehearsal be held? (Book the time and confirm at a later date.)

Related Articles:
Wedding Ceremony Q&As
Religious Wedding Ceremony Guide

Examples of Wedding Vows