Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. If you feel like you know the steps to pick the dress, flowers, etc, but don't really know how to choose an officiant, you are not alone. This item stumps many couples. Here are steps to take to find the right officiant for your wedding.
First, ask friends who have recently been married. Did they like the officiant? It's even better if you had a chance to see him or her in action at the wedding. Get referral names from friends if they were satisfied.
Next, check the web. Use Google or another search engine and look for officiants in your area. I suggest keywords that incorporate your city and the word officiant. For example, in Phoenix where I live, you might check “Phoenix Arizona officiants”.
Make an appointment or ask the following on the phone:
Is the officiant available on your wedding date? Dates fill up fast with the best officiants. Try to book your date as soon as you know it.
Can the officiant travel to your chosen wedding site? Is your site local or out of town? Find out if the officiant is able to travel and what the charges for this travel would be. Travel cost for your officiant need to be part of your budget if you are having an out of town wedding.
What does the officiant charge? Are there different packages and prices available? Your officiant's time in creating the perfect customized ceremony is worth more than a standard generic ceremony.
Learn how long he officiant has been performing weddings.
Do they offer sample wording / ceremonies / readings to show you?
What other options do they offer? A unity candle ceremony, sand ceremony, etc.?
How much freedom will you have in the selection of readings and vows? Some officiants will give you incredible freedom, where others want specific vows.
Is the officiant available for a ceremony rehearsal? If you are using a wedding consultant check with them. Otherwise, having your officiant there may be very helpful in having a smooth running wedding.
Most important, do you feel comfortable with the officiant and do they seem interested in the two of you
Once you have interviewed and narrowed down your selection of an officiant, find out how payment arrangements are made. It is customary to be required to put a 50% deposit to reserve your date. Also, this is the time to find out about final payment arrangements. You want to fill comfortable paying for the officiant either on your wedding day or before. I have learned that many clients feel “funny” about how to handle this. Discuss it when you book your officiant.
The last step is following through. Make sure that you return your choices of vows, readings and special request to your officiant in a timely fashion. Follow up with your officiant before the wedding. Make sure to secure your wedding license well in advance of your ceremony. Some states require waiting periods and you don't want any delays for your special day.
Last, enjoy your day. This is one of the most important days of your life. Don't let it fly by without taking a moment to enjoy it in all of the business.
I wish you the very best in your upcoming marriage!