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Planning the key details of your wedding, including the venue, décor, food, and attire are certainly top of mind when putting all the pieces together. But there’s one element that truly is a crucial piece of the puzzle: Your wedding officiant.
Finding the ideal wedding officiant for your ceremony definitely takes some time, and it’s important to know what to look for. Not to mention, how much you should be budgeting to be sure they’re prepped and ready for your big day. “The officiant really sets the tone for the entire ceremony and the celebration of marriage itself,” says Ashley Thompson, owner of Ashley Creative Events.
Meet the Expert
Ashley Thompson is the owner of Ashley Creative Events, an event and wedding planning firm based in Las Vegas.
Below, discover details on how much wedding officiants cost, along with tips on how to find the perfect fit for your ceremony.
What Do Wedding Officiants Do?
So, what exactly does a wedding officiant take care of? The officiant is responsible for performing the ceremony on the big day. Often, that involves meeting with the couple before their wedding day to get to know them, allowing more personalized information to be woven into the ceremony. “This ensures that your officiant isn't simply reading a script but rather customizing the entire ceremony around who you are as a couple,” says Thompson.
Officiants also often take care of the logistics of getting the marriage license signed and recorded so your nuptials are legal. However, it’s definitely important to double-check that they do. “Make sure to check your proposal or ask them in your communication, as this will help take that pressure or stress off you post-wedding,” adds Thompson.
Where to Start Looking for an Officiant
There are several paths to finding the best officiant to fit your needs. If you’re working with a wedding planner, they can serve as a great resource for references. Often, your planner will have recommendations on reputable officiants they have worked with in the past. “Depending on the preference that you set forth (religious background, personality traits, etc.) a planner will likely be able to set you up with a perfect match based on your criteria and will also provide you with someone who will show up on time, dress professionally, and provide a level of service that they know you would expect,” says Thompson.
Did you love the ceremony at a wedding you and your partner attended? Asking friends or family members who recently got married for recommendations is a great place to get started as well.
The Cost of Hiring a Wedding Officiant
The final cost of hiring a wedding officiant can range depending on all of the services requested of them. In general, the cost of an officiant ranges from $300 to $500. However, depending on your location, the cost variation may be seen closer to $500 to $800. These figures do not include tipping your officiant.
“Keep in mind an officiant may charge an additional fee for them to attend the ceremony rehearsal,” says Thompson. “If this is important to you, be sure to ask and secure the rehearsal date as soon as possible.”
If you’re planning your wedding ceremony in a religious setting, leaders may perform the ceremony for free. This is often the case if you’re a member of the congregation. In lieu of payment, a donation to the church may be requested instead.
Questions to Ask a Potential Wedding Officiant
To find the perfect fit, Thompson suggests having a conversation upfront to get a feel for the officiant’s personality. “Finding out how their process works and if their personality will coordinate well with how the couple envisions their wedding ceremony to be laid out is imperative,” she says.
Of course, checking your wedding date and asking if the officiant will travel to your venue is the first step. From that initial conversation and beyond, several other key questions are worth asking.
- Do you take care of getting the marriage license signed and recorded?
- Will we meet before the wedding?
- Can you customize our ceremony to make it about us as a couple?
- Are you available to perform the ceremony rehearsal?
- Are you comfortable performing a religious ceremony?
- Do you have any video examples or reviews from other ceremonies you’ve performed?
Once you've ironed out these initial questions, you can get into the details about making the ceremony exactly what you and your soon-to-be spouse have envisioned for your big day.