How To Select the Perfect Wedding Officiant (Updated for 2020)
How To Find the Perfect Officiant For Your Wedding
A lot of planning goes into your dream wedding. It’s such a busy time, finding the right wedding officiant is frequently delayed during the planning process until the last minute. That would be a mistake you might later regret.
Your wedding officiant should never be an afterthought or last-minute decision. He or she will be working with you to create your unique dream wedding and should have an opportunity to get to know you individually and as a couple. If possible, choose your officiant approximately eight months before the big day. This will provide you with enough time to work together and decide on all the details for the best wedding ceremony. Your wedding officiant doesn’t simply show up on your wedding day. He or she should be a part of the process and know you before the ceremony.
Many couples consider asking a friend to act as a wedding officiant. While it is a great honor to be asked, a non-professional may lack the experience in public speaking and will simply end up reading words from a written script. Also, a friend might have difficulty handling unexpected issues as they arise.
And think about all the pressure you are putting on your friend! Your friend will probably say yes to being officiant for weddings even if he or she doesn’t really want to be one (because they are your friend!) If this is the way you are thinking of saving money on your wedding budget, think again! Wedding officiants are probably the least expensive item on your wedding planning checklist. If you need more proof, take a look at the average wedding officiant cost as well as other wedding vendor costs listed here:
The more experience your officiant has, the more graceful and memorable the ceremony is likely to be. For that reason, a professional wedding officiant will be your best option. In addition, a professional wedding officiant will be knowledgeable about the length of the ceremony and the different options available. He or she should have a few suggestions and ideas about how to best incorporate your own ideas into the wedding ceremony and the wedding ceremony script.
A professional officiant for weddings will also be reliable and have a backup plan in the event the unexpected occurs. In other words, a professional wedding officiant takes a lot of the stress out of your wedding day. It is always possible to give that special friend another function to perform during the ceremony or reception.
Before you hire a professional wedding officiant, here are a few things to consider:
- The type of wedding ceremony you want will go far in helping you select the best wedding officiant. Will your wedding be traditional or non-traditional? Will it be religious? Do you want to have traditional wedding vows vs. your own vows vs. something else? Once you have decided on the details, these will be important factors to discuss with your candidates before you make a hiring decision.
- An experienced wedding officiant will feel comfortable performing a number of different types of ceremonies and can adapt to different types of circumstances – from a beach to a back yard to a formal ballroom.
Once you and your fiancé have agreed on the basics, start looking for a wedding officiant online. Just like all the other wedding vendors, wedding officiants can be found in various online catalogs, from unmanaged ones like Yelp (where you get a large number of vendors, but many of these profiles are outdated and unclaimed) to a highly curated wedding vendor catalog like this one: Wedding Officiants Near Me
In the end, you want a wedding officiant you can trust to create the wedding day of your dreams
Take a look at some of the top-rated wedding officiants in your area:
As you scroll through the list, you can click on dozens of officiants and learn more about them in the process. This will help you narrow down your list until you find exactly what you want. As you are looking at the information about each wedding officiant, specifically seek out past experience, personal philosophy, and examples of weddings performed in the past. Read through the details to determine what each potential wedding officiant has to offer you specifically.
In the end, you want a wedding officiant you can trust to create the wedding day of your dreams.
How to Use Information Available Online to Choose Your Wedding Officiant
There are several important pieces of information you need to look for online when narrowing down your list of wedding officiant candidates to contact:
- How experienced is this wedding officiant? You can tell a lot by reviewing the photos from past weddings that the officiant has uploaded. Click through the wedding photographs to see the variety of couples, places, and settings that each given officiant has had experience with. Take note of how the wedding officiant handles indoor vs. outdoor weddings. You can learn a lot about the officiant’s style just by looking at the photos. For example, take a look at this catalog of top wedding officiants in Los Angeles. Compare the wedding ceremony photos you see in different wedding officiant profiles. Notice how each officiant creates his or her own style, mood, and background setting. See which matches your ideal wedding style.
- What is the officiant’s philosophy and style? You can get a sense of that even before you contact him or her. Many wedding officiants have an “About me” or an FAQ section that can be filled with useful information. For, example, check out this wedding officiant in Dallas or this wedding officiant in Las Vegas and note their similarities and differences. Which one seems more attuned to your wedding needs?
- What do reviews and testimonials tell you about the wedding officiant? This can get tricky because couples look for different things in their wedding officiant. Still, reviews of the officiant’s prior clients can provide you with more information about what he or she offers and his or her basic style.
- Most wedding officiants offer a number of convenient wedding packages at different price ranges. This helps you determine what services you need and get the most cost-effective wedding officiant package. Take a look at this wedding officiant profile for a sample package offered.
- A lot of online platforms use special badges to quickly highlight wedding vendors that have earned their reputation by being responsive to their clients’ needs, providing savings through special packages, etc. For example, when comparing different wedding officiant profiles, see if you can spot something like these (hover over for more info) in each wedding officiant’s profile:
Collect Quotes From Local Wedding Officiants
For comparison purposes, you should get a large number of quotes. This helps to both compare price quotes for your specific wedding AND helps you negotiate the price down during the next step in the process. Those vendors who are within your price range can then reply with more information.
We would encourage you to get a large number of quotes for comparison purposes.
To request multiple quotes from local wedding officiants, you can copy/paste the same brief message or email to every single one from your list. Or, you actually make use of this nifty negotiation tool we call “ Get the Best Deal ”.
Click the link above, fill in the information, including your wedding date and budget in the form presented – the automated quote request will go out to all the local wedding officiants in your area. Those who are interested and available will then bid against others and send you a quote request. The best part is that your email or phone will not be shared with those providing the quote, so you don’t get signed up for a bunch of junk mail or newsletters, or get phone calls from the wedding officiants you do not choose. Once you select a couple of good options, the next step is to set up a face-to-face meeting.
Meet With Top Few Local Wedding Officiants
You should not hire a wedding officiant without meeting him or her in person. This provides you with the opportunity to get to know the wedding officiant better, ask more questions, and negotiate the price. When you next meet with a few of your top choices of local wedding officiants, be sure to ask about the following issues:
- Discuss specific language that is important to you. Some couples find “until death do us part” (your traditional wedding vows) too negative. Make clear whether you want the phrases such as “husband and wife” or “man and wife” to be used. Some officiants are more flexible than others. It’s best to agree on the “small stuff” before you actually hire someone.
- Find out if the wedding officiant has any rules of his or her own, as may be the case when specific faiths are involved. You want to make certain that the officiant’s rules can be adapted to your wedding.
- Confirm with your officiant that he or she can sign your wedding license.
- Before you hire a wedding officiant, clarify all issues and costs in writing. You want to avoid unpleasant surprises on your wedding day.
- Ask him or her for references. Ideally, you will be able to review videos of weddings that he or she has performed in the past.
Most officiants will be willing to negotiate. To create the best deal, bring quotes from other officiants that you have. If some of them are lower, this may persuade the officiant to consider lowering his or her price. Don’t be shy. Remember, it never hurts to ask.
When you have found your ideal wedding officiant, you should book him or her as soon as possible. Some wedding officiants can be booked up to a year in advance.