The wedding officiant you always wanted

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In this very detailed and precise "Ask the Expert" series, Victor J Alvarado, a wedding officiant from the metro Atlanta area, shares with us all the things you need to know before booking your wedding officiant or minister for your big day.
You can contact The Wedding Officiant directly at (678) 382-1394 or theweddingofficiant1@gmail.com.

How to find a wedding officiant?

The most convenient way to find a wedding officiant is going to different wedding websites (i.e.: Wedding Venture) or asking for referrals from a friend or family member. This will allow couples at their own free time to learn all the several services the officiant offer and also reading all the different reviews and ratings received from past customers by each different category, such as overall experience, responsiveness, value, professionalism, likelihood to recommend to friends and any extra optional services offered such as a bilingual ceremony.

  • Overall experience
  • Responsiveness
  • Value
  • Professionalism
  • Likelihood to recommend to friends
  • Bilingual ceremony?
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Officiating a wedding ceremony it’s for me one of the highest honors and privileges a person can ever have.

What is it like to officiate a wedding?

Officiating a wedding ceremony it’s for me one of the highest honors and privileges a person can ever have. Been able to pronounce a couple as Husband & Wife it is very gratifying. I love to make the couple feel always stress-free during the wedding process. The couple and their entire guest can remember who celebrated their ceremony! I was one of the first wedding officiant celebrating in Atlanta a bilingual ceremony (English & Spanish). I do appreciate when my clients send to me a message of gratitude. That is a great compensation! My goal is to ensure that every experience they have with me, as Their Wedding Officiant is pleasing and that they received from me a level of service that exceeds their expectations.

I was one of the first wedding officiant celebrating in Atlanta a bilingual ceremony (English & Spanish).

How does a wedding ceremony typically go?

Before the ceremony date, I do prefer meeting with the couple so we can discuss all the different elements that could be included during the ceremony other than the regular vows and exchange of rings. One of the most popular additional elements that are included these days is the unity candle or unity sand and the handfasting ceremony. If the couple prefers, they can also include a religious touch, a reading from Corinthians, couple blessing and a universal prayer at the end to conclude the ceremony.

Can a celebrant refuse to marry a couple?

By the laws of the state of Georgia and Federal government, a wedding officiant who celebrates civil ceremonies should not refuse to marry a couple even though they are from the same sex. Also, depending on some other states laws who have not recognized same-sex ceremonies. A celebrant who is a minister or a celebrant of a religious approved organization is not obliged to marry a couple if it contravenes their religious beliefs.

By the laws of the state of Georgia and Federal government, a wedding officiant who celebrates civil ceremonies should not refuse to marry a couple even though they are from the same sex.

Have you ever witnessed an objection at a wedding?

I have had cancellations a month and even a week before the wedding date but never witnessed any kind of objections during the wedding ceremony.

Do you think it is a good idea to renew your wedding vows?

There are some special occasions when it’s a good idea to renew the wedding vows. I had a very special couple that I celebrated there wedding renewal vows ceremony after 10 years of marriage. They had two main reasons! The photographer who was taking their wedding pictures when they first got married was drunk! They never received any wedding photos!! Now she is battling liver cancer and they wanted to renew their vows. Several wedding vendors here in Atlanta got together along with two TV stations, and we all prepared an awesome wedding reception, just like the first one. I had the honor to officiate the ceremony; they have now some great photos for them to remember this beautiful occasion and for him to have them to hold forever.

A formal wedding ceremony could be celebrated later if the couple eloped without any witnesses or took a trip to the courthouse to become legally bound. Often they regret not celebrating their union with the most important people in their lives, in that case, they might decide to renew their vows in order to bring together families, friends and have a proper ceremony and gathering.

Can a couple have a wedding without a marriage license?

It will not be an official civil ceremony certified by the state if the couple does not obtain a marriage license from their County Probate Court. In order to obtain one, the couple must go together to the County Probate Court, fill out an application, pay a fee and while they wait they will receive their marriage license that needs to be presented to the wedding officiant before the ceremony. After the wedding, it’s the responsibility of the wedding officiant to register in the same County clerk’s office the marriage license for the couple. About 10 days later they can apply for their official county/state Marriage Certificate.

It will not be an official civil ceremony certified by the state if the couple does not obtain a marriage license from their County Probate Court.

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Those who take its sacred vows have their lives blended together into one, as the waters of two rivers are joined when they come together to form an even a greater one.

Why are ceremonies important?

A wedding ceremony is one of the most important events in someone’s life. Is the beginning of starting a family. As I mentioned during the ceremony; Marriage is a supreme sharing; perhaps the greatest and most challenging adventure in the most intimate of human relationships. It is the joyful uniting of a man and woman whose care; affection and understanding have flowered into a deep and abiding love. Those who take its sacred vows have their lives blended together into one, as the waters of two rivers are joined when they come together to form an even a greater one.

Is the wedding officiant fee based on the number of guests?

The answer is NO. Many couples ask me this question every week. A Wedding Officiant does not charge the fees based on the number of guests like a catering company does. Our fee is only based on marrying the bride and groom. If the couple has 10, 20 or 150 guests or more, our fee is always the same. There could be an additional charge for travel distance, parking, park entrance, or waiting time

A Wedding Officiant does not charge the fees based on the number of guests like a catering company does. Our fee is only based on marrying the bride and groom.

Is the Wedding Officiant required at the Rehearsal Dinner?

Some couples require the officiant to be present at the rehearsal dinner. I do not recommend it. Keep in mind that this will inquire an additional cost for the extra travel time. That same day the officiant could have another wedding ceremony too. What I do, is sending to the couple the entire ceremony program a few weeks before, and for them to review it to know what it’s going to be said during each element of the ceremony.

"If you’re planning a ceremony somewhere other than a place of worship, it’s recommended to book your professional wedding officiant as soon as you booked your venue."

When should a wedding officiant be booked?

If you’re planning a ceremony somewhere other than a place of worship, it’s recommended to book your professional wedding officiant as soon as you booked your venue. In my case, I do celebrate bilingual ceremonies and I have had couples that have not been able to contract my professional services because they have waited too long. I have received calls up to one day before the wedding day! On the other hand, if they did reserve the venue, photographers, catering service, DJ or band, transportation, florist, etc., with plenty of time in advance, why they forgot that there is not a wedding, without the Wedding Officiant!!!

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