7 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Officiant
09 Oct 2018 •3 min read
One of the biggest decisions you'll make while planning your wedding is choosing your officiant. It's a big job, but somebody's gotta do it. Your officiant is the person who will be doing that whole marrying thing — you know, asking people if they object and asking you if you actually want to say "I do — so it's important that you not only LIKE the person, but that they are able to deliver the kind of ceremony you're looking for. So, here are 7 things you will definitely need to consider when choosing your wedding officiant. Photo by: Hartman Outdoor Photography 1. What are the legal requirements in the state where you're planning to get married? First things first, you need to make sure this whole marriage thing is legal. So know the requirements like the back of your hand before you ask anyone to preside over your ceremony. If you're going with someone who marries people for a living (think: rabbi, priest, justice of the peace), you're probably all set. But if you're leaning towards asking a lay person (aka your dad or closest friend) to take care of business, make sure you understand what the legal requirements are. Getting ordained online doesn't cut it everywhere. 2. What kind of ceremony are you having? Are you planning on having a religious ceremony or a secular one? If you're getting married in a church, a priest is really the only way to go. But if you're taking your "I dos" elsewhere, now you've suddenly got options galore. Friends! Cousins! Siblings! Your kindergarten teacher! So before you even start thinking about who you'd like to have run the show, consider what kind of show you want to have. 3. What vibe are you going for? Whether or not you're having a religious wedding, you need to consider the style of your ceremony. Do you want to keep things traditional or mix in a few twists and make it completely your own? Maybe you want to get married by a rabbi, but you don't want to do the full 7 Blessings in Hebrew. So once you have an idea of how you want your nuptials to feel, think about who would be willing to bend the rules and update traditions to fit your vision. Some officiants might be willing to let your VIPs quote "Sex and the City" or read that "How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog" poem...but others maaay not be so ready to get on board. 4. How long would you like your ceremony to be? If you're going for a marathon matrimony of an hour or more, your long-winded aunt might be the right person for the job. On the other hand, if you're keeping your ceremony short and sweet, you can totally ask your less chatty sister to step in. So figure out a general timeline and then make a list of who might be able to make the magic happen in that timeframe. 5. Do you want someone who's done this sort of thing before? There are times that a professional is the way to go, but sometimes having a newbie can work to your advantage. The tried and true officiant knows what he or she is doing, which generally makes your life easier. But that can also mean that they know what works and won't really be willing to change things up. Some fresh blood — your younger brother or your childhood BFF — might give your ceremony that exciting energy you're looking for. 6. Do you want to have a say in what happens during the ceremony? If you're really hoping to go off book and plan a ceremony that's completely you (and your partner, obvs), then you need to know that whoever steps in as your officiant is okay letting you take reigns. If you don't want to stress over that part of the event, find someone who is willing to do the research, put together the flow of the ceremony, and really own it. But try to make up your mind before you get too far along in planning the ceremony; there's no need to cause friction over your vows. 7. Who would you consider asking to lead your ceremony? After you've thought through all the logistics of the ceremony, KNOW you have our permission to think about who you would actually WANT to do it. Think through your top choices — the priest you grew up with, you dad's best friend who happens to be a judge, your little sister — and see who fits all of your requirements (legal and otherwise). Whoever serves as your officiant is kiiiind of a big deal and will forever be tied to your happily ever after. So don't make the decision lightly and be confident in your choice before you do any asking.