Couples too often treat finding a wedding officiant as an afterthought – choosing their celebrant only after buying the perfect wedding dress, designing a showstopper wedding cake, and finding the perfect wedding favors. And yet without a wedding officiant – religious or non-denominational, friend or pastor – the wedding can’t take place. That makes the wedding officiant one of the most important elements of any wedding!
If you’re a longtime member of particular faith, you may feel driven to ask your own minister, rabbi, marriage officer, or other religious leader to officiate at your wedding ceremony. But if choosing that person simply because it’s familiar doesn’t feel right or there are roadblocks because you are half of an interfaith couple, there are thousands of wonderful interfaith ministers, spiritual non denominational wedding officiants, and humanist celebrants with a passion for uniting people in the bonds of love.
On our first go around looking for an officiant, it never seemed easy and never felt right. We would see these packages and ceremonies and say, “This is SO not us!” Eventually we settled on an officiant but let me tell you, it’s never a good idea to settle on any wedding vendor! Our officiant cancelled on us six days before the wedding. But Judge Jeffrey spoke with us, asked questions, and most importantly, listened! Within minutes he was able to create a personalized ceremony just for us. I cried during that first conversation – I felt the love, the emotion, and saw the picture I would remember forever in my heart. ~ Michelle
But as the quote above shows, simply finding a wedding officiant isn’t the hard part. The task that is truly difficult – particularly if a couple has waited until the last minute or needs to find an officiant quickly – is choosing an officiant who actually understands the breadth of their commitment to one another. Your wedding will be one of the landmark days of your life… you’ve chosen your other wedding vendors with great care and you should devote as much, if not more time, to choosing the person who will guide you through your wedding vows.
And you should also be as diligent about protecting yourself from harm when partnering with a marriage celebrant as you are when working with a caterer or reception venue. The couple who will be married by the very pastor who baptized them both as babies can probably move forward without a contract, but those couples whose weddings will be officiated by independent wedding officiants should always insist upon there being a contract in place. In a perfect world, all people who feel called to become wedding officiants would be honest and dedicated, but this profession, like every other, attracts the bad as well as the good.