How to Find the Right Wedding Officiant

A few simple steps to casting this important role.

You may have selected your location, your photographer, and almost everything else you need to have the wedding of your dreams, but without an officiant the marriage is not going to happen. Selecting someone to perform your ceremony may not be the most exciting decision you make, but whether you're getting married in a house of worship, come from two different religious backgrounds, or want to keep your day non-denominational, finding the right officiant is key to having a beautiful ceremony. The following steps will help ensure that your wedding ceremony is an event to remember.

1. Identify how much you want to be involved in the process.
Deciding how unique you would like your service to be will help you decide the right person to perform your ceremony. Many people can legally perform your ceremony, but each one has a different approach. Becoming involved in the creation and development of your ceremony will prove to be a rewarding experience for you as a couple.

2. Collect referrals.
Your wedding venue may have an officiant on-site (in the case of a church or synagogue), or may be able to refer you to someone on their preferred vendor list. Friends and family members can offer suggestions as well, particularly if their wedding was particularly memorable.

3. Begin to interview.
Assuming that you want to be involved in the entire process, you should start to interview officiants, who besides their legal authority are philosophically compatible with you. They should be open, flexible, and knowledgeable in the various types of religious ceremonies available. Everyone will want to customize their ceremony based on what is relevant to their life. Whether this is your first marriage or you have been married before, whether you share different religions or cultures, or have a child either together or from a previous marriage, your officiant should be open to tailoring your ceremony appropriately.

4. Consider their personalities.
In addition to having adequate resources and experience, your officiant must make you feel comfortable and emotionally safe. You should be confident that they articulate clearly and distinctly. Someone who can make the words you have written come alive with emotion and feeling. A person with this level of experience and skill will need to be budgeted accordingly. 

Opening photograph by Elizabeth Solano

Authored by: Robert Ringler