Choosing an officiant for your ceremony can be an extremely easy process.  It can be as simple as scrolling through your contacts of friends and family and finding the person that you think is “outgoing” enough.  Once you have found “that person” they can become ordained online, google a ceremony script and BOOM, you are done. If you consider your ceremony a technicality or just a “part” of your day, then your choice is clear.  On the other hand, if you believe that your ceremony needs to be special, unique, and a celebration of your relationship, you will need to choose the right professional officiant.  This process can be amazingly easy too.  Hopefully, you will find what I am about to say helpful.

What should you look for in an officiant?

First, you need to find a person with good public speaking skills.  A good public speaker can have a conversation with one person or a thousand people in the same way.  They have no fear of having all eyes on them and can speak in a way that is engaging and personal.  Your officiant needs to be able to use a microphone.  You may find this comical, but it is true.  Most people have no microphone skills.  They speak into a microphone from 6 feet away from their mouth or hold the microphone at their belly and wonder why nobody hears them.  No matter if you are having the most basic ceremony possible or having readings and exchanging personal vows, your message needs to be heard.  An officiant with good microphone skills can make that happen.

Your officiant needs a thorough knowledge of the legal paperwork and procedures, such as how to file for marriage licenses and perform ceremonies legally in your state or country. As an officiant who specializes in New Jersey weddings, I make sure that I know everything down to how the local clerk prefers the town or city to be referred to on the marriage license.  i.e., Wayne vs Wayne Township. This is just a small part of the knowledge base that a professional officiant has.

You need to have a connection with your officiant.  This is the person that you are choosing to bring your ceremony’s message to your life.  Therefore, they need to know you as individuals and as a couple.  They need to understand your relationship’s dynamic and bring that out during your ceremony.  There should be ZERO concerns that he/she gets you.  While your initial interview can consist of broader questions, make sure that you have a clear path to a personal relationship with your officiant.  The investment of time into this aspect of your wedding day will be priceless.

Make sure they are not in love with their own voice.  Have you ever been at a ceremony and the officiant droned on to a point that you tuned them out?  They were in love with their own voices!  They believe the more they can say, the better the ceremony is.  They make the ceremony about them and not their couples.  You will be able to see this during your interview process.  If they talk and do not give you the ability to get a word in… RUN FORREST, RUN!

Questions to Ask Potential Officiants

  • Are you familiar with the ceremony you will be performing?
  • How comfortable are you with public speaking?
  • Are you comfortable with using a microphone?
  • Are you familiar with the legal paperwork required?
  • What is your experience as an officiant, and what types of ceremonies have you performed in the past?
  • Do we need to meet in person before our wedding day, or can we just communicate via email or phone calls.
  • What do your ceremonies look or sound like?
  • Do you have any highlight reels or ceremonies online that I can look at?

Making the Hiring Decision

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential officiants, it is time to make a hiring decision. As with any other aspect of wedding planning, many factors go into making this decision:

  • Experience and qualifications: The right person will have experience of performing weddings and know what they are doing. They should also be able to answer questions about their process and make suggestions based on your needs. For example, if you are looking for someone who can help make the ceremony personal or comfortable for all parties involved in the wedding (such as parents), then that is something worth considering when choosing an officiant.
  • Availability: This is another crucial factor because it affects how much time they will have available before or after the ceremony itself–and whether they will be able to meet with other vendors during those times as well!
  • Warm and fuzzies:  Does choosing this person feel right? We all have a surprisingly good radar of what feels and seems like the right choice.  We allow things like other people’s thoughts and feelings or costs, to get in the way.  DO NOT MAKE THAT MISTAKE!  If it feels right, it is right.  It is that simple!
  • Reviews/Recommendations: This almost seems like a DUH party of any blog, but it is one of the most overlooked and obvious components of the selection process. The most popular areas to see reviews are WeddingWire, The Knot, Google, Facebook, and other local wedding sites.  When in doubt ask people that you know.  I am sure you have co-workers who celebrated their weddings within the past year or so.  Even though you may not have been close enough to be invited to their wedding, I am 100% sure they will be willing to share their experiences.
  • Videos: Today everyone has a fully functional video production studio in their pocket, their phones. Ask your officiant “finalists” for a video of some of their work. Most will have something in a highlight reel or something on their phone that they can share. Do not be afraid to ask.

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Officiant

I hope I have made the benefits of hiring a professional officiant clear.  At a minimum, my goal was to provide you with the tools to find the “right” officiant.  While some will have the perfect officiant in their inner circle of friends and family, most will not have that luxury.

If you are looking for a great officiant, Golden Note Entertainment has officiants on staff and would love to take care of you. Please feel free to CONTACT US HERE, or check out our YouTube Videos.  Good luck in your search.

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