“By The Power Vested In Me”: Finding An Officiant

If you’re one of the many couples that choose a ceremony site outside of a place of worship, you’re going to need someone to actually perform your ceremony.  Since Tim and I spent a couple of months thinking this was going to be the path we took, we started looking for and talking to some officiants.  It seemed like it should have been really straight-forward (“Hey can you legally marry us?  Cool, see you in 10 months.”), but, as it turns out with anything wedding related, there was more to it that we expected.

There are plenty of people out there ordained and certified to perform marriages, choosing someone comes down to deciding what you want.  You’ll need to revisit your discussion of a ceremony space to decide what your religious preference is for the ceremony.  Most officiants who are strictly officiants (and not worship leaders, although some leaders also fall into this category) have a proverbial sliding scale of how secular or non-secular they can make the ceremony.  Some are even well versed in several different religions, leaving you to really be able to mix and match your ceremony details to fit you as a couple.  You don’t have to have the details worked out, but have an idea of the tone you’re going for before you start talking to candidates.  At the very least you need to know how religious (and what religion(s)) you want to be.

This is another area where a personality mesh is of major importance, which I think should go without saying in this particular case.  Most officiants have some kind of website that gives details of their background, what kind of ceremonies they typically perform, and their rates.  Look for someone who’s background and typical ceremony looks like a good match with what you expect out of the day.  When you find a possible mesh, contact them to set up a meeting.  While a phone call will work, if possible you should meet with them in person.  While this is your ceremony officiant, a person who will play a very intimate role in your wedding, they are still a vendor and require the same kind of question/answer session that all of your other vendors do, ESPECIALLY given the emotional attachment to this particular service.  Here is a list of questions you’ll want to consider, though some of them may be answered on their website.  Depending on your personal situation there may be other things that are relevant in addition to these.

You can work out the details of the ceremony later, but make sure the officiant is willing to participate in any part of it you even think you may want to do (unity candle, special readings, special hymns, etc).  This is especially important if they have a particular religious affiliation and you want elements that go against or are not usually recognized by said religion.  It’s better to know they can do it and you decide you don’t want it than to decide later you want it and they won’t do it.


On a completely unrelated note, I’m working on a Halloween costume.  Since my sewing experience has only ever included squares or circles, making an outfit is a new experience, especially given that I have no formal pattern and hobbled one together out of muslin.  While that works enough for me to feel okay getting started, if anyone has any tips on cutting armholes/sleeves and even collars, I’d appreciate it!


Posted on October 17, 2011, in Ceremony, Priorities, Wedding Planning Isn't For Sissies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. We are asking a good (and admitedly odd) family friend to be our officient…and actually asking him officially on wednesday! He is a poet and somewhat of a hermit…it will be a very non-traditional ceremony but however it turns out we are excited that he will be (hopefully!) the one to marry us.

    • Oh awesome! A friend of Tim’s actually does wedding ceremonies, so if we hadn’t done it in the church we were going to talk to him about doing it. That is really cool you guys will have that extra special connection to the ceremony like that.

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