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How To Choose a Wedding Officiant

The one person who makes it official shouldn’t be an afterthought in your planning process. But if you don’t have a religious figure or Internet-ordained friend already in mind, where do you start? We consulted with officiants Jacqueline Mandell, Johanna Respini and Lisa Kristen-Scott to find out how to find the one.

  • Ask Around Your friends, family, co-workers and other wedding vendors surely have suggestions. Also use your online social networks—we got a number of great new names when we asked for recommendations on our Facebook page.  
  • Meet Face to Face After you have a few ideas, meet with the officiant in person. Like your mate, hopefully you’ll just know.  “After conversing, you should feel a positive ‘Yes, this is the person I want to stand with me on my wedding day,’” says Mandell.
  • Consider Traditions Will you include religion? Combine two faiths? Stick to a more secular ceremony? Include elements of your cultural heritage? Or create new traditions on your own? “You should feel at ease letting a potential officiant know the kind of ceremony you are trying to achieve,” Mandell advises. “A good officiant will be able to talk to you about all the possible ways your goal can be met.”
  • Read The Fine Print Inquire about specific fees and pre-wedding requirements and/or restrictions. Some officiants require pre-ceremony counseling sessions to familiarize themselves better with the couple they are marrying.
  • Ponder the Prose Each officiant has a different style. Do you want a dynamic speaker that engages the audience or an intimate ceremony directed at you and your fiancé? Flexibility is key, according to Respini, so your officiant is able to help you create a ceremony that is perfectly personal and express their ideas in a heartfelt tone.
  • Rest Assured Ask to see referrals from other couples or, if possible, attend an officiant’s upcoming ceremony. “Trust is essential to this relationship,” says Kristen-Scott. “If a couple can relax and know that their wishes and words will be respectfully presented, then they can be more present to each other.”

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