The wedding planning process is full of many details but choosing who marries you to your soulmate is one of the biggest.
First things first. What do you need to know or find out in the state where you will be married. Is it required in the state that the officiant be ordained, that they be registered with the state, or nothing at all? Different states and countries have different requirements.
Whomever you choose, they should know what is required of them and you in their state.
Next, do you want to be married in a church or other religious venue? A religious venue often require that you use their religious clergy and ask for a donation to the church.
Most weddings these days, when not in a church, are held at the venues of the reception or a special place the couple share such as the woods, beach, lake or ANY place you like.
Even if you choose to be married in the great outdoors or your reception venue you need to decide if you want a spiritual leader as your officiant, a civil officiant, or a professional officiant. What’s the difference?
Most spiritual leaders represent a certain religion, have religious training or have been ordained in a church.
Civil officiants are generally a judge, mayor or notary and perform the bare minimums required in their state. These are usually straightforward, simple ceremonies that last about 5 minutes.
Professional officiants have a broader range of experience in a variety of religions and especially in cultural rituals. They often create a script specific to a couple’s personality.
Forty percent of today’s weddings are elopements or micro-weddings. These days the term elopement doesn’t mean you snuck away and didn’t tell anyone. Usually, it just means that the two of you wish to have an intimate personal ceremony with just the two of you and maybe a few friends or family.
Of course, there are the other sixty percent of weddings that take a lot more planning.
Remember, always enjoy the journey! If you aren’t looking forward to the journey, then you may need to readjust so that your journey is joyful.
Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the planning of the event, the party, flowers, food, clothes, the list of invitees, all of which, of course, take a lot of planning. Sometimes the ceremony is left to later in the process. And no matter how fun the celebration will be, the ceremony is the reason it’s all happening.
Officiants sometimes book a year in advance too. Mostly booking season starts at the end of the year around holidays such as Christmas and Valentines Day. Saturdays are the most popular so if this is the day of the week for you, remember they book quickly! If you have 4 seasons where you live, outdoor venues may be used in winter but there is likely more ceremonies taking place in the spring, summer and fall in which case officiants may be booked further in advance.
How to find an officiant
There are many avenues to finding an officiant. You found my blog so you either found me on Facebook or a google search.
There is The Knot and Wedding Wire which is a great resource to every vendor you need, and many professional and highly experienced wedding officiants can be found there as well. Vendors on The Knot and Wedding Wire pay a monthly fee to have a storefront on their site.
You can do a local yelp search, other bridal sites, and check out specific city/state Facebook bride/wedding groups. You will also find other brides there who can make recommendations.
Another great source is your wedding venue coordinator. Often local officiants will perform ceremonies at their venue and the coordinator can make a firsthand recommendation.
Finally, ask your vendors. A lot of us officiants work and collaborate with them as well. They also have that firsthand experience with us.
Your initial consultation
Let your officiant get to know you! Are you fun and light-hearted, do you want a more traditional wedding, do you practice any faith whether formal or not. How do you feel about the mention of God? Do you want a short ceremony? Have you seen rituals at other weddings you would like to include? Do you have family or friends you would like to be part of the ceremony or someone that has passed away that you would like to acknowledge?
If your officiant doesn’t cover some of these, be sure to ask if they apply to you.
If your officiant asks you questions like “How did you meet” or “Tell me a funny story about the two of you.” Go ahead and answer the question so they can get to know you, but if you don’t want it mentioned in the ceremony be sure to let them know.
What if I don’t know what kind of ceremony I want yet?
No worries! The sky’s the limit! During your initial consultation, and as you and your officiant get to know a little about each other, they will ask you the right questions to spark your imagination. You will have more time for inspiration once you have chosen your officiant and the process has officially started.
You can create any kind of ceremony you wish, you can include children, fur babies, members of the family or friends, and many cultural rituals. Some rituals are really gaining popularity again, especially ancient traditions such as handfasting’s. Ask your officiant about these and see if anything feels authentic to you and your relationship. They should have some ideas for you before you make the decision to work with that officiant.
There are also ways to include parents/family members who might be religious and give them a role in your ceremony that doesn’t feel religious to you and your partner but will make them feel honored in their beliefs.
It’s only natural to be nervous and the process can be nerve-wracking! Once you know the ceremony reflects the two of you, let your officiant run the show. That’s why you hired a professional. Hopefully you have chosen them because you know they are confident in what they do, they have experience, and they are there to ground you in the moment. It’s one of the most special and important moments of your life and will remember forever!
If you would like more information about Love is Love Wedding Officiants, please visit my website at www.LLWO.me I would love to get to know you and share more about the services I provide to make your ceremony authentically you!