Weddings

Tips for choosing your Officiant

When most couples think of their wedding day they often focus on the reception.  We all tend to get caught up in that part of the day, but don’t forget about the actual ceremony, that’s the reason we are celebrating!  I have always believed that wedding ceremonies should not be something to endure before the party starts, but instead be enjoyable and meaningful for all involved.

I personally like to structure ceremonies in a way that will not just hold the attention of the guests, but also allow the couple to have fun.  You should never be bored at your own wedding!  I take the time to discover what matters most to my couples, guiding them through the process, to deliver a ceremony that represents their personalities, wants, and needs.  But regardless of the type of wedding ceremony you envision, you’re going to need to hire a wedding officiant. This can look different depending on what route you’re heading towards, but here are a few key things to know before you choose! 

Whether you are planning an elopement or a full-scale wedding experience, officiants play a vital role. Most couples having a church ceremony will have their officiant provided by the church, making the process a little bit easier. However, if you don’t have someone in mind, it’s important to do your research and find someone through a credible source.  Your venue will typically have a preferred vendor list they can provide you. But even if recommended, make sure to have a meeting to ensure they are the right fit for you.

Research and/or get recommendations from friends and family members who have gotten married to help find your match.  Ask your married friends where they found their officiant and what they thought of her/him. Friends often have tons of honest insight when it comes to the overall process of finding an officiant.  Aside from industry pros, your closest married friends are often your best resource when planning your big day.

Consider your ceremony style, and what you are looking for in an officiant.  You might not know where to begin, and that’s okay, a competent officiant will be able to give you suggestions and guidance.  Are you good with a simple 1 Corinthians “Love is patient, Love is kind” kind-of thing? Or do you want a completely personalized script tailored to your love story?

Read online reviews and talk to the officiant to get an idea of how much personalization they do, or do not, offer.  Ask to run through the process with how they’ve done ceremonies in the past. This will give you some good insight if they are a good match.  Whether you’re obsessed with the ceremony, or simply want to get it over with so you can move on to cocktail hour, it’s important you choose an officiant you click with above all else. Remember, this person will be a part of your love story forever, and it’s their responsibility to set the overall tone for your event.  Your officiant may only have one fairly quick job, but in so many ways it’s the most important job of the entire day.

Make sure to ask questions!  You may have questions that are important to you, or the type of ceremony you are looking to create.  Don’t be afraid to ask as many as you need!  A good officiant will gladly answer all your questions… even some you never knew you had!  Some of the questions I recommend asking are…

– How long have they been an officiant?

– What are their fees?

– Is there a travel charge to the chosen venue?

– How long is the typical ceremony?  Is it customizable?

– Do I have to include religion?

– Do they run a rehearsal?  Is it recommended to have one?

– Who takes their place in case of emergency?

– Are they licensed to solemnize weddings in the province of Ontario?  This is very important!  Make sure they are able to, and that they will file your marriage licence following the ceremony.

Choosing an officiant is just like working with any other wedding vendor. Having a good relationship and trusting them is key!  I can’t put enough emphasis on the importance of taking the time to find a wedding officiant who’s right for you.  You’ll be glad you did!

Rev. Maureen McLellan

Wedding Officiant at iMARRYu.ca

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