I’m reworking a blog from five years ago. I hear so many variations on the theme of how couples go about selecting a wedding officiant – that I thought it was a timely topic worth updating. There are a lot of great officiants available and a lot of variables to consider. The bottom line is you should be comfortable with whom you choose. Increasingly I find couples have perused my website and are ready to engage my services after a quick phone chat. I try to cover most topics throughout my site and yet I certainly understand the desire to have a conversation first.
I’ve been interviewed by hundreds of couples seeking a marriage celebrant. No two are interviews are alike. The most common question I hear is, “What should we ask you?” You’re hopefully going through this process once in your life so don’t feel bad if you’re not sure where to start.
A big difference is in what you’re planning. Are you considering a northern New Mexico elopement and just need a quick ceremony? Or are you planning an event for 100 or 200 guests and you want a wedding minister that will reflect your values and sensibilities to your guests and help the entire ceremony run smoothly?
The best question I’ve ever heard was, “Tell me why I should choose you as my wedding officiant over the next person on my list?” It was a great question and I’ve only been asked that twice in my 10 years of wedding officiating. My answer was easy, “I’m a professional, I’ll work creatively with you to write the exact ceremony you’re after and on your wedding day I’ll be a calming presence for you, your wedding party and your guests.”
Many questions revolve around the budget which is an important consideration for most people. Keep in mind your total budget and that your marriage officiant is probably about the smallest factor in that budget. Questions about religion are near the top of the list. Brides and grooms are relieved to learn that I have no requirements. We can make your ceremony as religious – or not – as you like. Other questions deal with how to manage sticky parental situations. I’ve not been stumped yet – there’s always a way to gracefully navigate family dynamics.
In the end here is what I think. Choosing your wedding officiant is a gut level decision. You’ll know it when it is right. The criteria I would keep in the back of your mind is the level of comfort you feel with the officiants you interview. Is this someone you’ll feel comfortable trusting to run a smooth ceremony? When you’re walking down the aisle will you want to make eye contact with this person and be greeted by them when you reach the end of the aisle? Will this person capture the attention of your guests? Will they say afterwards, “That was such an original and memorable wedding ceremony!”