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Friend or Family Member, or Professional Officiant for Your Wedding?

May 7th, 2020

It’s becoming more common for couples to have their wedding ceremony and reception at the same location or outside the formal structures – meaning we see less and less ceremonies inside a religious building. That means the couple has to hire or find someone to officiate their wedding, and it can be an overwhelming decision – should you hire a professional or personal officiant for your wedding? We’ve put together some guidelines to help you make that decision – either can be the right choice, and whatever you choose, it will be perfect for you!

Personal Friend or Family Member

The first step is finding the right person to officiate your wedding. It’s not a particular easy job, and it’s a very important role as far as weddings go (some would say, the most important role!).

Confidence. This person should be fairly confident in public speaking – someone who speaks at a good pace, doesn’t mutter or speak too softly. It’s really important that an officiant not take away from the union that is happening – guests should be focused on the couple, not the officiant.

Trust. This person should be someone you really trust – it’s a big job and requires some research, professionalism and punctuality during the process and on the big day.

Ask and Confirm. Remember to always ask – this is a really special (actually, the most special) part of your day. You want to make sure the person you have in mind is comfortable taking on such an important role. Don’t be offended if they aren’t up for it, it’s not for everyone and maybe they can play another important role in your wedding day.

If you found the perfect friend or family member to carry out your dream ceremony, be sure to check out our tips for non-professional officiants here.

Professional Officiant

Professional officiants are not only versed in the role in holding a ceremony in public, but they also help create the perfect ceremony script and flow to your nuptials. Hiring a professional officiant doesn’t mean your wedding ceremony won’t be personal. There are quality professionals that will fit your personalities and vibe, and will make your ceremony unique to you! So, what should you ask, or base your decision on? Here’s our advice:

Personality. Set up a time to talk to a couple officiants to find the best connection. You want to find someone whose personality you like, and someone you connect with on some small level, someone you trust.

Process. Ask about their process in creating the ceremony script. How much input does the couple have? Are there scripts to choose from, or are they all custom? How much time do they spend with the couple before the big day? This gives you a dialogue to help get to know them and see whose process you like best.

References. Ask if they have any videos of ceremonies they can share with you. Check their recent reviews on the Knot, Wedding Wire, Google and Facebook, and ask for recent references. Of course, if you have a planner, they will know the best officiants and will have experience with a lot of them.

At the end of the day, choose the person who feels right to you both. In our experience, both professional and non-professional can be perfect!

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