7 Commandments for Finding the Right Officiant

Finding the right officiant to preside over your wedding ceremony can ofter be harder than finding that perfect dress.
Garett Holden

Finding the right officiant, particularly if you’re planning an individualized and unorthodox affair, can often be harder than finding that perfect dress.

After all, this person has the official role of joining you and your betrothed. You'll probably want to have a rapport with this individual and find someone receptive to the style and tone of the ceremony you have in mind.

Here are some tips on how to find the officiant preordained for you.

1. Thou shall match an officiant to the type of ceremony you're having.

There are four basic kinds of vow exchanges. Start your search by locating officiants who can perform one of the following:

  • Religious: filled with the beliefs and rituals of faith, the ceremony is performed by a priest, minister, rabbi or other ordained official.
  • Interfaith: when individuals of different faiths are joined in marriage, two officiants may perform the ceremony, one from each faith, or by one officiant who is familiar with both religions.
  • Secular or civil: In a civil service, a judge officiates, using a non-sectarian text.
  • Spiritual: Increasingly popular, spiritual ceremonies emphasize humanistic values rather than a religious belief system.

2. Thou shall interview a few prospective officiants.

Ask the rabbi, priest, minister, or whoever else is a contender about his or her plans for your ceremony. Review his or her standard text to learn exactly what the officiant intends to say during the ceremony. Ask:

  • What kind of ceremony do you provide?
  • What do you want to know about us?
  • What will you be saying about us?
  • How are you going to present us?
  • How long will the ceremony last?

3. Thou shall explain your ideas to the officiant up front.

Most officiants do permit the bride and groom to add personal elements the ceremony, so be sure to have an open discussion with him or her ahead of your wedding ceremony. No matter what kind of ceremony you want to have, there is usually plenty of flexibility to incorporate elements that express your personalities and values.

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