Choosing a Wedding Officiant

Tips for Picking the Right Officiant

The wedding ceremony sets the entire tone of the wedding. A well-conducted ceremony gets the wedding off an optimistic start, just as a poorly performed wedding can mar your entire day. Of all the details involved in planning a wedding choosing your wedding officiant is the most important. Unfortunately, choosing a wedding officiant is nowhere near as exciting as shopping for wedding dresses or picking the wedding flowers! As such, most couples give it minimal thought.

The overall feel and style of your wedding will help determine the personality and style of the wedding officiant. A dignified, conservative wedding officiant would be better suited performing a formal, large-scale wedding, while a wedding officiant that is lighthearted and relaxed would be more at home at a casual wedding. That is not to say you can't have a serious wedding officiant at a smaller, intimate wedding or a jovial officiant at a traditional wedding. Your personality and that of the wedding officiant should complement one another. You'll be spending a lot of time planning the ceremony with your wedding officiant, so make sure it's someone you enjoy working with.

The single most important aspect when choosing your wedding officiant is trust. Is this someone you can trust to perform your wedding ceremony proficiently? For all intensive purposes you're entrusting your wedding ceremony to a stranger. If you regularly attend church or temple you may be lucky enough to know your officiant - in which case they make an obvious choice. Otherwise, ask a lot of questions; do your research and ask for references. And most important of all - trust you instincts. You'll know when it feels "right".

Given the amount of time that goes into planning the wedding ceremony the actual act only takes a half hour or so to complete. Despite the wedding ceremony's significance, the officant's fee can be surprisingly affordable. On average an officiant's fee ranges from $200 to $1000. The actual amount will vary depending on costs associated with the ceremony: pre-wedding counseling, ceremony/vows customization, officiant travel, ceremony site administrative fees and the rehearsal ceremony. Likewise, these fees vary by city and time of year. Some officiants will charge a flat rate, while others charge by the hour. As always, expect to pay more for experienced and well-regarded officiants. The more notable the officiant, the busier their schedule - either book your ceremony early or be willing to comply with their schedule. However, hiring the best officiant is well worth the extra cost and effort; an exceptional officiant is the key to a successful and memorable wedding ceremony.

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