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How To Choose A Wedding Officiant

Choose Someonewho Matches Your Wedding Style

How to Choose a Wedding Officiant (Minister) for your Wedding Ceremony

What kind of wedding are you planning? Will it be somber and serious or light-hearted and upbeat? Youll want to choose a wedding officiant who can match your wedding vibes. For example, if they make you feel relaxed and have you laughing right away, theyre a perfect fit for your easy-going nuptials. On the other hand, an officiant who gets right to business will fit in with your traditional wedding. If you fall in love with an officiant who doesnt seem to match your styleask them how comfortable they are adding jokes into the mix or dialing the goofiness back a touch. They may have no problem adjusting! And if they dont want to adjust, then they arent the right wedding officiant for you.

Make Sure Your Officiant Has The Right Skills

“Officiating is a mixture of public speaking and relatability,” says Bonan. “A good officiant will address the couple and their guests at the correct time and not just project their words.” Because an officiant oversees the ceremony and the saying of the vows, they have to be comfortable speaking in front of you and all your wedding guests. Make sure to take that into consideration if you are tapping a family member or friend to do the honor they may know you well and have great stories to share during the ceremony but not be able to deliver them in a compelling and moving manner.

You also want to make sure your officiant is organized. They will have to register with the state before the ceremony and some have to mail in signed paperwork after the big day to make the .

Can You Officiate Your Own Wedding

If you live in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin or the District of Columbia, couples can marry sans officiant in front of witnesses, if they turn in the necessary legal paperwork. However, all other states require an officiant for a legal and recognized marriage. An officiant only needs to meet your state’s legal qualifications for performing your marriage ceremony.

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How To Find A Wedding Officiant


Wondering how to find a wedding officiant? Here are a few effective ways to find the right person:

  • Scroll through The Knot Marketplace for professional wedding officiants and couples’ reviews in your wedding location.
  • Ask recently married friends for referrals.
  • Ask your other wedding vendors. Your photographer or wedding planner may know of reputable individuals whom they’ve heard of or worked with in the past.
  • Contact your house of worship.
  • If your ceremony site is not a house of worship, contact city, town or village halls and ask about judges or justices of the peace available for weddings.
  • Ask a loved one to get ordained and officiate your wedding.

Help Them Personalize Your Ceremony

Choosing Your Wedding Officiant

While you may want it to look like its out of a movie, youll want your ceremony to be unique to you.

Give your officiant the backstory of your relationship and share what makes the two of you a great pair.

This will help give your wedding more personality and not sound like a script from every other union.

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Who Gets Invited To The Wedding Ceremony

One of the biggest challenges in wedding planning is deciding on your guest list. This can get even more complicated if you have capacity or budget constraints, or if youve decided to invite different people to different events.

Typically, the same people who are invited to your wedding ceremony are also invited to your wedding reception. However, after the pandemic, there are really no rules when it comes to invite lists. Some couples prefer to have a smaller ceremony, with just themselves, their wedding party or close loved ones, and then a larger reception.

Know What They Are Going To Say

There shouldnt be any surprises when youre standing at the end of aisle. You should know exactly what your officiant is going to say on the day of your wedding. And you should be comfortable with every word and phrase theyre planning to say. Your officiant should share their script with you so you know exactly what is going to happen.

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What Does The Officiant Say At Your Wedding


That is entirely up to you, as the couple getting married, and your ceremony officiant. We’re all familiar with the traditional vows, but you can choose to incorporate anything you want into the ceremony. Get creative and use any text that speaks to you as a couple, or incorporate stories from your time together. Need tips on writing your own vows? Find some inspiration here.

If you want a personalized ceremony, it’s important to spend time getting to know your officiant. Most pros will ask you to fill out a questionnaire so they have a general idea about your relationship. However, if you want to go the extra mile, schedule a meeting or two so your officiant can fully understand the bond you two share.

To the VillaRamos sisters, getting to know the couples is their favorite part of the job. “Who they are individually and together, how they interact with each other, the details of their lives that seem inconsequential but are, in fact, incredibly meaningful,” they say. “Many times, we can relate to our couples and the challenges they’ve faced, the dreams they share, the future they’re working towards, the values they’ve built their lives around. It’s a profound experience and one we’re super grateful for.”

Here Are The Top 7 Reasons That I Can Think Of Not To Let Your Friend Perform The Wedding Ceremony:

How to choose a wedding officiant.
  • Your friend should be a guest and witness to your special occasion, not be a bureaucratically necessary part of it. You place your friend or family member under a lot of pressure when you ask them to officiate your wedding. And besides, thats what bridesmaids and groomsmen are all about.
  • Your friend will then share in the glory or, possibly the embarrassment, of your wedding day. In either case, it really should be just your day. Are you a couple or a trinity?
  • Even though you think your friend is witty and has a great presence, he or she probably will have immense stage fright. Or even worse, he or she may treat your wedding ceremony like their performance. They may steal the show.

    And I Bet You Didnt Know:

  • There are many details to the wedding ceremony. An experienced wedding officiant will be able to address quite simply with just a few questions. But your friend will almost certainly not know to ask about those details. Your wedding procession, your ceremony and your wedding recessional will be far clumsier than they need to be. I ask many questions beforehand, and I know what to ask. Most brides and grooms I talk to never thought of those questions. Judith Johnson of Huffington Post said it best, on this page, Why put someone you love in the position of being responsible for something they know nothing about?
  • An Example of Friends Who Officiate Who Dont Know What Theyre Doing:

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    Friend Or Family Member Wedding Officiant

    If youre comfortable with leaving religion out of your special day, go with a friend or family member as a potential celebrant.

    Knowing how to find a friend to officiate your wedding starts with realizing if they have enough time to pledge to the role. Skip out on any pals who have overbearing work, school, or family commitments that would prevent them from giving the effort that you deserve for your special day.

    Aside from friends, family members make great choices for celebrants. Both possibilities allow for the ceremony to have a distinct touch since the friend or family member wedding officiant can incorporate personal stories about the relationship before the couple exchanges their vows.

    If your friend or family member needs to become a celebrant before your special day, just know that the process is easy and starts online with a non-denominational group like Celebrant USA Foundation & Institute, American Humanist Association, and the American Ethical Union.

    How Do You Make Your Wedding Ceremony Unique

    If every couple is unique, why have we all been to the same boring ceremony one hundred times? Thats something Young Hip & Married wedding officiants are trying to change! We believe your ceremony should be done in your style. From the person marrying you to your wedding vows, every element should be unique and reflect whats most important to you two.

    Any decision you make to personalize your wedding will make it that much more unique and representative of your specific marriage. Check out 23 creative elements to add to your wedding and our guide on how to plan a unique wedding ceremony.

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    Average Cost Of Officiant

    Officiants in Bonan’s company charge anywhere from $400 to $800 depending on factors such as how long the ceremony is, what the couple wants, and how many people are at the wedding. If a wedding is out of town the couple might have to pay travel costs as well.

    Religious leaders will often perform a ceremony for free, especially if the couple is a member of the congregation, but suggest a donation to the religious institution or a charity. Friends and family members generally don’t charge for their services either, although the couple might want to get them a thank you present to show gratitude.

    Make Sure Theyre Recognized By The State

    What does a wedding officiant do?

    Before you make your choice, confirm that your officiant is officially recognized/certified in your state and county. You should also make sure you are both clear on the officiants official duties, which usually include submitting the marriage license back to your local clerks office to be filed.

    Once youve decided on an officiant, put everything in writing : how much you will be paying the officiant, when you have to pay them, what their duties entail , specifics of the ceremony , etc. Now you can rest assured that your ceremony and the person youve chosen to officiate it will reflect you, your future spouse and the life you want to build together.

    Once youre past the wedding ceremony and ready to start planning a secure, prosperous and happy future together, learn more about how you can protect you and your family throughout life.

    Disclaimer: All company names and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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    Avoid Awkwardness: How To Choose A Wedding Officiant

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    In this era of internet-certified officiants, its especially important to have an open and honest conversation with our wedding officiants about what we want from them, what their responsibilities are, and why we asked them to perform the ceremony in the first place.

    Last week I went to a dear friends wedding and her father performed the ceremony. Poor guy spent the first three minutes talking about how he didnt know what he was supposed to do or say, and in his rambling unintentionally insulted the couples planning skills.

    Yeah, just a tad awkward.

    To that end, I will discuss the roles of an officiant and how to have a productive conversation with them about your wishes for the ceremony.

    How To Ask Someone To Officiate Your Wedding


    Asking someone to officiate your wedding is a big deal. After all, they’re going to be leading your union. As such, you’ll want to ask them in a sweet and thoughtful way. Send them a note or a giftor take them out for a meal. Unable to meet in person? Schedule a FaceTime or phone call instead. If you’re booking a pro on The Knot, make sure you meet with them at least once or twice so they become familiar with who you are and your love story.

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    Experience In The Style Of Wedding You Want

    Relevant experience and a proven track record are always the best references to pick out your ideal officiant.

    You can always rely on your friends and family to recommend one, but at times these suggestions may not be adequate enough to find the person that fits your needs. So, dont be afraid to cast the net far and wide and not just limit your choice to the most convenient choice.

    I once attended a huge wedding where there were at least 500 guests invited. The grooms younger brother was a famous actor in Taiwan and something of a celebrity. There were also many guests from the entertainment industry with a few media types in attendance. Though the wedding was conducted in a relatively smooth way, the spotlight and attention were constantly given over to the younger brother and his entourage.

    I remember thinking that he wedding officiant was showing signs of stress at not being able to calm down the congregation at times. If fact, the wedding got a little behind schedule and the situation became more and more chaotic as increasing numbers of fans just showed up outside the venue and began chanting to have a selfie with this actor.

    Garry Francis Officiating Service

    How to Choose a Wedding Officiant

    Photo Courtesy of Samantha Ong Photography

    What makes your services unique?

    I loved getting married and I love being married! I got married more than three decades ago, yet I still remember that special day as one of the greatest milestone moments of my life! Ive come to cherish my wedding day as a watershed moment that was both meaningful and memorable! I keep the glorious memories of my wedding day in mind when I officiate for each and every couple so I transform myself into their shoes so each unique wedding experience will be a meaningful, memorable, & milestone moment! Im deeply honoured every time Im chosen to stand with a couple for such a significant event in their life so I make it my sacred responsibility to be fiercely committed to excellence, quality, and professionalism. Every ceremony, I add a personal touch when I go off script to speak from my heart directly to the couple as my wedding gift with reflective words about the great and awesome mystery of marriage they are embarking upon.

    What should couples look for when booking an officiant?

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    How To Choose Your Wedding Officiant

    Now that youve announced your engagement are in full wedding planning mode, its time to decide how to choose your wedding officiant. If you are already affiliated with a church or place of worship, chances are youll want to have your trusted religious leader lead your wedding ceremony. Or, perhaps youd prefer a secular ceremony and will need to set out to find a great marriage officer to officiate your special day. Regardless of which couple you are, there are some important factors to consider when choosing the right wedding officiant.

    How to choose your wedding officiant.

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