6 Tips to Hire a Wedding Officiant
Account Specialist + Contributor
One of the top items on the wedding "to do" list is to hire a wedding officiant, the person who will perform the ceremony for you on this special day. Even if you belong to a house of worship and have a rabbi or minister who will be performing your ceremony, there are a few things you may want to consider when it comes to finding and hiring the perfect officiant for your wedding.
These same tips also apply if a friend or family member or justice of the peace is set to officiate your wedding ceremony. At the end of the day, it’s about finding an officiant that you feel comfortable with performing these services on your big day.
Here some helpful tips to hire a wedding officiant:
Hiring or choosing an officiant is one of the first things you should do when planning your wedding. The person who will perform your ceremony has a huge impact on the day and shouldn't be a last minute decision. Your officiant may also have certain religious restrictions of which you'll need to be aware.
Potential officiants may also want to meet with you and your significant other in person, to get to know you as a couple so they can make your ceremony personalized to you! Make sure you give yourself and any officiants plenty of time to get to know each other!
For many people their wedding is one of the first times they've really thought about religion and what role it might play in their adult lives. If you and your fiancé are planning on having children, religion is one of the many things you'll want to discuss, and planning your wedding can be a good place to start this discussion.
Make sure you and your partner are on the same page about the role religion will play in your wedding, and make sure you're clear with potential officiants about those wishes. If this is an interfaith wedding you may wish to have officiants from both faiths. Make sure to discuss this with the officiants and communicate your wishes for your ceremony.
Whether you're hiring someone or working with your family's spiritual leader, don’t be afraid to ask questions. What does the officiant consider their role to be? How do they structure a ceremony? Can you request specific readings? Can you add elements such as music or prayers? Does the officiant allow photography during the ceremony? What will they wear to the wedding?
If a friend or relative is performing the ceremony you will want to discuss these topics in detail with them as well. It’s incredibly important to make sure to have an open and honest conversation. We recommend setting up a time to meet in person to discuss these topics.
Double Check Qualifications
States vary in their rules for who can and cannot perform a wedding. Make sure to ask any officiant if they are licensed in your state, and for evidence of that. If a friend or relative is performing the ceremony, double check that they are cleared to do so with plenty of time in advance to get what is needed to perform the ceremony.
Your town hall may have more information regarding qualifications and may be a good place to reach out to to make sure your ceremony is legal.
If you are hiring an officiant, the person should be upfront about their fees. If a friend or relative is performing the ceremony, you should give him or her a gift similar to what you will be giving to your bridal party.
If you belong to a church or synagogue, check with the office about wedding fees and whether tipping the officiant is customary. This is another incredibly important conversation to have before the day of your ceremony.
Plan for the Reception
You do not have to invite a hired officiant to your reception. But, it is a nice gesture and if you like the person you may wish to do so. Don't be offended however if they reject the invitation. For a family minister or rabbi, you should definitely invite him or her to the reception.
Please keep in mind though that if your minister performs several weddings a year, he may wish to skip the reception. Some rabbis will only attend receptions if the food served is Kosher. It’s ultimately up to you and your significant other, so it’s a great idea to talk it over together before offering an invitation.
We hope you found these tips helpful. Get started and hire a wedding officiant right here.
If you’re ready to hire a pianist, read these tips for finding and booking vendors on The Bash.