What Does an Officiant Do?

An officiant, or celebrant, is responsible for: 1. creating your ceremony 2. getting the marriage license signed and mailed and 3. performing your ceremony. Some questions to ask a prospective officiant include:

  1. who are you ordained by;
  2. is it legal for you to perform marriages in my State; and
  3. do you have back-up available in case something happens to you on our Wedding Day.

How do you find an officiant in your area? There are several ways: Craigslist, WeddingVibe.com, Thumbtack.com. You can also simply perform a Google search for “Officiant” and your location.

Some couples choose a friend or family member to get ordained to perform the ceremony. While this works out in a lot of cases, why leave anything to chance. By hiring a professional, you’re securing the most important part of the day—actually getting married. An officiant performs in front of the public all the time and they know how to make your ceremony shine. So leave the officiating to a professional and let your friends and family simply enjoy the day.

Your officiant will, hopefully, meet in person with you and your partner to get to know you and begin creating your wedding ceremony. They will likely have questions for you about you met your partner, how long you’ve been together and, perhaps, your favorite thing about your partner.

Once they have gathered all the information they need from you, the magic starts. Your officiant should email and/or text a copy of the ceremony to you for edits and additions. At this stage, your officiant should have helped you choose a Special Reading and a Unity Ceremony, if you desire. A Special Reading is simply a passage that reflects your relationship and feelings towards each other. A Unity Ceremony is a physical demonstration of your commitment to each other. Common Unity Ceremonies include candle lighting, pouring of sand, lantern release and tree plantings.

By now, all the parts of your ceremony should be in place and look something like this:

Welcome and Introductions

Short talk about marriage

Special Reading

Declaration of Intent (“I Do’s)

Vow Exchange

Exchange of Rings

Unity Ceremony


The Kiss

Another service that many officiants offer is orchestration of the rehearsal. It is vital to practice where everyone will stand and how the wedding party should walk down the aisle.

An officiant is a great resource to have during rehearsals as they can provide much-needed answers to questions about what goes on during the ceremony.

Another offering is premarital counseling. Not every officiant does this, so check when you are interviewing them. Your officiant can hold one or more sessions with you to talk about what marriage is like and what it takes to have a successful marriage.

On your Big Day, your officiant should arrive early to check in with you and to get settled. Most officiants are willing to lend a hand in whatever way is needed.

Finally, the adventure begins as you and your partner meet at the end of aisle and your officiant performs the ceremony.

Cost varies with location and experience. Many officiants offer several packages that allow you to have exactly the type of of wedding you want. Typical costs for an officiant run from $100 on up. Be sure to ask your officiant what is included in their basic fee. Most officiants charge extra for mileage and conducting/attending rehearsals.

Hiring a professional officiant will take you a long way toward having the wedding day you’re dreaming about.

article submitted by Lauren Whitlock

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