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Dan Jones, Wedding Officiant

Embracing Ceremony Blog

20 Ways Your Wedding Officiant Earns Their Pay

Taos wedding celebrant smiles as the bride comes up the aisle.
Taos wedding celebrant, Dan Jones watching the bride approach.

You’re engaged and making plans for the various vendors, including a wedding minister you’ll be hiring. Each vendor will bring to your special day a set of skills which translate into less stress for you. A good set of vendors will also interface easily, without any prompting from you. Wedding vendors are accustomed to doing this on-the-fly the day-of because we are familiar with facilitating our areas of responsibility on your big day.

As a Taos wedding minister I’d like to share some of my experience from a decade of officiating. My goal here isn’t selling my services. (I you’re interested in learning more about them however, my home page is a good place to start.) My goal is to show you some of the ways your officiant will benefit you. Some of these may seem very common sense and some may surprise you. My goal is to help you in the decision-making process of hiring a wedding officiant. Once you’ve hired them I hope this will help you to know what skills you can tap from your officiant.

Here are some of the things you should be able to expect will be handled by your wedding officiant.

Planning with Your Wedding Minister

  • Vendors. Tap your officiant for ideas on other vendors. Officiants work with many other wedding vendors. They can note which florists provide the freshest flowers. Officiants see photographers in action and they see the results. They observe which planners most efficiently orchestrate a wedding day. Perhaps, most importantly, in their work with couples, officiants usually know which vendors have provided a couple with a good experience.
  • Venue. Ask your officiant for any tips on your venue. You might still need help deciding on a venue, or you might like insight on how the processional will flow given the options (and perhaps restraints) of a particular setup.
  • Possibilities. In planning your ceremony, your wedding officiant will offer you the gamut of ideas. Do you want to light a Unity Candle? Perform a Sand Ceremony? Have a Wine Box included? As a Taos wedding officiant I carefully review with my clients every possible part and piece that could be included in the ceremony – so they can decide what works for them.
    Taos wedding minister sealing the Wine Box at the ceremony conclusion.
    Dan Jones, Taos wedding minister, sealing the Wine Box.
  • Processional. Your officiant can review the many ways your processional will unfold. Do you include your parents? Do couples enter individually or as pairs? And right down to which side of the bride the father will stand for the escort. Your officiant should script your processional.
  • Rehearsal. A rehearsal will be part of your discussions with your officiant. They can offer insight on how to have a fun and efficient rehearsal that guarantees a smooth flow at the ceremony.
  • Challenges. There can be delicate matters to navigate in your planning. Perhaps your marriage will be combining different faiths. Perhaps parents are divorced and bring discomfort to the dynamics of having them all together on your day. Expect sound advice from officiants that have seen it all!
  • Legal. You want everything to be in order legally for your wedding. Your wedding minister will know all the ins and outs of acquiring your license, completing it and submitting it back to the issuing agency.
  • Vows. Perhaps you’d like to write your own vows, but need guidance. Your officiant can coach you so that you express exactly what it is you’d like to say.

Officiant Services on Your Wedding Day

  • Flexibility. Your officiant will arrive in plenty of time to check in with you and know if you have any last minute details that have shifted. Perhaps someone important isn’t able to make it. Or maybe you’ve added an announcement for your guests.
  • Reassurance. Also, in checking with you, your officiant can help calm your nerves. They can review and reassure you about the sequence and flow of the ceremony.
  • Dependability. Expect dependability. You want to lean on your officiant. You wouldn’t want them introducing something unexpected on your wedding day!
  • Coordination. When I officiate I carefully coordinate with the other professionals involved. If you have a planner I’ll review expectations with them. If there’s an on-site coordinator I do the same. I review the musical sequences and cues with musicians. And I go over any questions the photographer may have. It is often helpful for the photographer to know the ceremony sequence so they’re positioned to get good shots.
  • Tone. Expect your wedding minister to set the tone you’ve requested. If you want a lighthearted ceremony your officiant can establish a rapport and comfort with your guests at the start of your ceremony.
  • Emotions. Perhaps emotions will swell during the vows (they usually do!) and you’re choked up or teary when it is time to say your vows. Expect your officiant to be sensitive to this and adjust the pace of the ceremony to give you the time you need to regain composure.
  • Spontaneity. There’s always the chance of something unexpected during your ceremony. Hopefully, it is fun such as a dawdling flower girl. You’ll want your officiant to smile with you and interject something understanding if appropriate.
  • Respectfulness. On occasion something startling can happen such as someone fainting from hunger or heat. It’s good for your officiant to set a tone of calm and respect and carry on as appropriate to the situation.
  • Patience. Patience is a virtue. If you’re not ready to start down the aisle at the appropriate time, you’ll want an understanding officiant. If the delay is long your officiant can make an announcement to your guests. The last thing you want is your officiant breathing down your back and telling you it is time to get going.
  • Distraction. Family members (particularly your parents!) can be a bit jittery just before the ceremony. An officiant that can visit with them and keep them distracted, or talk them through their concerns will be invaluable.
  • License. Following your ceremony it is important to get your license completed before the festivities get in full swing. This necessitates coordination with your photographer. Your wedding minister can get this done quickly and efficiently.
  • Unexpected. Expect the unexpected. There’s always at least one little last-minute curve ball, hence, you can count on your officiant to know how to best navigate it.
Taos wedding officiant signing the marriage license.
Dan Jones, Taos wedding officiant signing the marriage license.

One last thought…

During your interviews with officiants you’ll be asking a number of questions pertinent to what you’re seeking. You may have personal concerns or wishes for how your beliefs will be expressed during your ceremony. We’ll assume you find the perfect fit; someone that you’re confident is going to officiate in the style you wish. Remember that you’re hiring a professional, someone you’ll trust to set the tone you wish. A good analogy might be that you’ll direct your deejay or musician to play the songs you wish (or consult them if you don’t have specifics). From there you’ll trust your musicians to carry out your wishes. On your wedding day you won’t be telling them what notes to play.

Now go forth and find your perfect wedding officiant! If you’d like to talk to me further about your plans then please do. I’d love to discuss it with you in a free consultation!

Contact Me About Your Wedding!

Want more information on this topic? Email Dan at Dan@EmbracingCeremony.com

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