Finding and Selecting Your Wedding Officiant
A wedding officiant is a crucial component. They will direct the ceremony, including the vows you make, and also set the tone for your union. For your wedding to be legally binding, your officiant must ensure that all the necessary checks are made. Therefore, hiring a good one is crucial. But how can you choose the right person for you and your partner?
We asked wedding officiant Suanne Bonan, proprietor of Officiant NYC, for assistance. She explained the many officiants you can select (religious, civil, a friend, etc.), the costs involved, and how to locate the best match for your requirements. Learn more by reading on.
Officiants come in a variety of forms, says Bonan: “An officiant can be a judge, a private officiant, a friend, or a religious or spiritual leader.” The kind of ceremony you desire at your wedding will determine the type of officiant you need. There are numerous ways to get married, as she points out.
For instance, a priest, rabbi, or another spiritual figure will most likely officiate your wedding if it is a religious service. You might not even have a choice in who marries you if your wedding takes place in a church or synagogue. Religious rites align with the group’s beliefs and sacred texts and are likely the least flexible. “A couple submits to the traditions and cultural references of the connected group when they choose to get married in a church, synagogue, mosque, or another place.” You most likely won’t have a choice in your officiant if you decide to marry inside a courthouse; the sitting judge will preside over the ceremony.
Couples getting married in a secular or civil ceremony have a considerably wider selection of officiants. Anyone who has been ordained and registered with the state is eligible to officiate in civil and non-religious weddings, according to Bonan. Some couples seek out experienced wedding officiants who are professionals. Other couples ask their close friends or family to oversee the process. Friends or family familiar with the team can personalize the service even further. Having a family member lead you in your vows can be quite significant.
Average Officiant Fee
The fee for an officiant in Bonan’s firm varies from $400 to $800 depending on the length of the ceremony, the couple’s preferences, and the number of guests. The couple may also be responsible for travel expenses if the wedding is outside of town.
Religious leaders frequently offer to conduct a ceremony for free in exchange for a payment to the church or a charitable organization, especially if the couple is a part of the congregation. In general, friends and relatives don’t charge for their services either, although the couple could choose to buy them a gift as a sign of appreciation.
Consult with Your Officiant
Make sure to interview each professional you are considering for your wedding. It’s crucial to make sure you feel at ease in their company in addition to hearing their voice. Bonan advises the couple to unwind and be themselves. “We like learning about their love story and values individually and as a couple. The officiant will know the right questions to ask if they have enough expertise. Usually, without prompting, couples share their top priorities.”
Additionally, it’s crucial to confirm that you and your officiant agree on the details of the wedding ceremony. For instance, you might not want to engage a spiritual leader to officiate your wedding if you don’t want any religious references in the ceremony. Make sure you and your officiant share the same sense of humor if you like comedy to be incorporated into your ceremony.
Bonan advises reading an officiant’s biography and getting to know them. She believed that the more expertise, the better. “When I performed my first wedding, I made a mistake that bothered the photographer and the guests’ comfort by failing to remind them to take their seats following the bride’s processional. That was a quick lesson for me. “She fessed up. “Learning from the past has enabled us to improve as officials,”
A professional officiant’s website should allow you to read reviews. To observe how the officiant handles the obligations on a couple’s special day, you can ask to chat with couples whose weddings the officiant officiated in the past or even attend an upcoming wedding.
Make sure your officiant is qualified.
Bonan says, “officiating is a combination of public speaking and relatability.” The couple and their guests will be addressed at the appropriate time by a professional officiant, who won’t only project their words. An officiant must feel at ease speaking in front of you and all of your wedding guests because they will be supervising the ceremony and the exchange of vows. If you ask a family member or friend to do the honor, keep that in mind since they might know you well and have wonderful anecdotes to offer, but they might not know how to do so in a captivating and affecting way.
Make sure your officiant is organized as well. To make the marriage legitimate, they must register with the state before the wedding, and some must mail signed documents the next day.