Photo: Levi Stolove Photography
In between the food and the drinks, flowers, favors, table settings, invites, and seemingly never ending list of other things you have to do for your wedding, you may have forgotten one very important detail: your wedding officiant. This person can truly make or break your big day in a huge way. So how do you go about choosing one that suits you and your fiancé? We've got you covered.
1. Figure out what type of ceremony you want
Prior to your first meeting with your potential officiant, you and your fiancé should make sure you're on the same page about the mood and feel of your ceremony, notes Andrea Freeman of Andrea Freeman Events. Will it be traditional or modern? Religious or secular? How long would you like it to be? "Share these thoughts with each candidate," she says. And then you can start narrowing down your search.
2. Set up a meeting
Whether it's in person or via video chat, it's critical that you actually have a one-on-one conversation with your potential officiant before hiring them. Do you like the sound of their voice and the way they speak? Are they willing to take the time needed to get to know you so that they can deliver vows that are meaningful to you? According to Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner, these are just a couple of the questions you need to ask yourself. "If what they say upon first meeting resonates with you, it will likely also resonate with your wedding guests at the ceremony," she explains.
3. Understand your state's rules
Make sure your state and county recognize your officiant as someone who is authorized to perform the ceremony, advises special events producer Richard O'Malley. "For example, several states, including Connecticut, Virginia and Nevada, don't allow online ministers to perform weddings. New York and Pennsylvania have several counties that don't allow it as well."
4. Read reviews
Officiants who have professional listings on the major wedding directories, such as WeddingWire, post reviews. "Don't just look only at the number of reviews though, as someone new may be perfect for you," points out wedding officiant Zita Christian. Read what the couples wrote because, ultimately, that's what's most important.
5. Check out their work
Event planner Courtney Lutkus, owner of Simply Radiant Events, recommends requesting testimonials, as well as a written ceremony or video of a ceremony so you can really get a feel for the officiant's style. "You want to make sure they are a good fit and that your personalities work well together," she says. "A professional officiant should have a wide variety of ceremony samples and styles to choose from and also a resource for elements to add in to the ceremony," adds Alan Katz, presiding officiant at Great Officiants.
6. Ask around
When looking for an officiant, bride Rachel Sentes, who got hitched last July, suggests checking with your photographer if you've hired one already. "They go to all types of weddings and can connect you with other couples who can give you a good idea of who might be good in your area." You can also get recommendations from your other vendors, plus your wedding planner and friends and family.