Choosing Your Perfect Officiant
You have found the person you are going to marry... Now, you need to find the person who will marry you! Your Officiant! The person who will legally perform your wedding ceremony, because without the ceremony, there is no marriage!
What should you be looking for when choosing an Officiant?
Like any wedding professional, you should be looking for an Officiant who fits your style and budget, and has EXPERIENCE! Experience can mean the difference between a dream wedding, and a disastrous nightmare.
What type of ceremony disasters can be avoided with an experienced Officiant?
Well... An experienced Officiant will know to confirm that the person who is supposed to have the rings actually has the rings before starting your ceremony. An experienced Officiant won't show up late to your ceremony because they will actually take the time to note which “Holiday Inn” your wedding is being held at (yes, it happened). An experienced Officiant will be prepared to work with (and probably already has worked with) all the other wedding pros involved in your day. And finally, an experienced Officiant is used to public speaking. Nothing will take you or your guests, out of the moment faster than someone fumbling over words, missing pieces of your planned service, or getting ceremony elements in the wrong order because they are so nervous.
An experienced Officiant will be able to rely on numerous past weddings to not only prevent ceremony disasters, but to also adapt to any obstacles that may pop up on your day.
What type of officiant will work best for you?
Honestly, there are so many different types of Officiant that there is no 'best' one. You will need to ask yourselves what is the most important factor to you. Do you have a smaller budget without much leeway for the cost of a custom written ceremony? One lower cost option for you could be to hire a local judge. They probably will not offer much variety in the ceremony that they perform, but they do have the experience needed to be able to give you a great day. Judges generally charge about $125, which is the maximum fee allowed by law.
If you are looking for more than the standard ceremony, but still have a budget to consider, you can opt for an Officiant with 2-3 years experience. These Officiants are still considered 'beginners' because they have not encountered everything a seasoned pro has, so their rates may be slightly lower (in the $200-$300 range) in order to attract more clients, and add more weddings to their portfolio.
Seasoned Officiants have been executing ceremonies for many years, and have honed their craft into an art. Seasoned Officiants can perform different types of ceremonies, and offer a more customized service. They have seen enough to know exactly what to prepare for, and probably already have working knowledge of your venue! Fees for Seasoned Officiants are typically in the $500-$700 range.
Finally, if you are looking for a completely custom ceremony that will deliver personalized elements, or a unique event, there are Officiants available who will write your entire ceremony from scratch, to include personal stories, family traditions, and more. The fees for this custom service are usually in the $800-$1,000 range, but can be more depending on the Officiant's level of expertise.
Hopefully, this helps you in your decision making process, so you can have a GREAT wedding ceremony experience when your big day arrives!