Authored by: Brian Manuel
The venue is booked, you now have a date, time and location for your wedding to take place. You possibly have your photographer and music taken care of as well.
Now that you have an idea of when, where and who is going to be involved in that special day, what about the person that’s actually going to officiate your ceremony?
The officiant plays a significant part in your day. The ceremony is more than a prelude to a great party, it is the beginning of the next chapter of life and should reflect your personalities, vision and of course your values.
So, what should you look for when searching for an officiant? I’m glad you asked …
The ceremony is a reflection of what you both want. It’s important to ensure that the Officiant you choose is someone who is flexible and willing to work with you, to help create the ceremony YOU want, where you get to choose every word that is spoken. This is your day, not the Officiants, so make sure they will help you carry out your vision.
This may sound like a simple thing, but it is so very important. When you select an Officiant make sure they are friendly. It’s important that you and your families get the sense that you are being married by a friend, without being married by a friend.
Your Officiant must be professional and able to work under just about any condition, for example what do they do if a microphone quits during the ceremony? At the same time, they must be warm and personable so as to set a mood that is relaxed, putting you both at ease, instead of on edge of what is coming next.
Ask yourself this question “when I see this person on my special day, how will I feel? Relaxed or stressed?
An Officiant isn’t a wedding planner, but they ought to have a sense of what is happening around them and an eye for detail.
They are there to make your day everything you hoped it would be and if they can look around and pick up on small things, you’re in great hands. For example, at a wedding an Officiant was seen asking a relative who had parked their walker in the aisle if it could be moved for the ceremony (it wasn’t infringing on the actual aisle, but it looked terrible in photos). The wedding could have gone ahead without doing this and technically the Officiant wasn’t required to deal with this situation, but they were thinking ahead, knowing how it would look on the photos that would be cherished for years to come.
You may not be able to assess what your potential Officiant would do in this situation during your first meeting with them. You can however listen to them talk about your ceremony in detail. If they are not aware of what makes for great photos, then maybe they aren’t the Officiant for you.
Again, this is a simple request. but vitally important. When you first met them, were they on time (or early) for your meeting? If you have not yet met them, please pay attention to that. It will tell you lots about who they are as a person and if you can depend on them to be on time for your special day.
Ask how far in advance they plan to arrive. Venues are becoming more focused on timing, and you do not want to be waiting for your Officiant to show up for your ceremony to start.
Do they have positive reviews? Specifically, do the reviews speak well of their personality and the way they conducted themselves? Yes, you want someone who as a great voice and can project well but more importantly you want someone who is engaging and a review that reflects that is GOLD!
The greatest reviews are the ones that refer to the fact that the couple felt as if they were being married by a friend.
Are they registered to Officiate marriages in your Province? There should be a list provided by a governing body to verify they are.
Finally, make sure that you have a good combination of someone who is personable and professional. This may be a lot to determine in one meeting, but the real question is, do you feel a connection with the person you are meeting with or met with? Trust your instincts!!!
Are they familiar with the important aspects of a ceremony and how to manage it?
For example, have they done a wedding at your venue, or at the very least, have they researched the venue to see what the ceremony space looks like?
Do they have experience in performing ceremonies, are they familiar with all the different elements of a ceremony, such as mother’s/family rose presentation, ring warming, love letter ceremony, etc.?
From a legal standpoint, do they have a good understanding of what needs to be done with the license after the ceremony is completed?
About the Author
Brian has worked with hundreds of couples to identify their vision and help them create a ceremony that reflects them and their vision. He is a husband, father, friend, cyclist, scuba diver, golfer, teacher and passionate about his family and work. Brian would love to help you imagine, create and celebrate your dream wedding ceremony.