Why is hiring the officiant early is important?

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Answered by: Candy, An Expert in the Wedding Ceremony Category
One of the most life-altering days in the life of anyone is the Wedding Day! It is impossible to accomplish without a licensed officiant. Often, couples leave the selection of their officiant as the last vendor to hire. The three most important things to accomplish one the couple has declared their love for each other and decided to get married are to select the date, select the venue, and select the officiant. The venue should be the first selected after the determination of the wedding date; second, the officiant. There are officiants who will not perform a ceremony in locations where there will be alcohol served, gambling, or dancing. One question that many officiants will ask first after knowing the couple’s date is the location of the venue. If the officiant is hired before selection of the venue, the officiant may cancel services or become unavailable. This has happened many times, leaving the couple feeling frustrated and discouraged.

Couples should consider the type of officiant prior to contacting someone for services. Today, there are those who are celebrants and weddings are their specialty; there are interfaith ministers; there are those from churches, synagogues, and mosques; there are Pagan ministers; and more and more female officiants performing these services. Some ministers will not perform ceremonies if the couple is interfaith, interracial, or same-sex. There are listings of officiants through many resources on the internet, so research before selecting the officiant, just like one would prior to hiring other vendors.Just like any other vendor, interview the officiant to ensure that this officiant will meet the couple’s needs, but also that the couple will be able to fulfill any requirements of the officiant. Some officiants require couples to complete pre-marital counseling prior to the ceremony. Pre-marital counseling can be just a meeting with the officiant to discuss spirituality, family planning, finances, children from previous relationships, etc. It may be a one-time meeting, or over several weeks. This is at the officiant’s discretion. It has it has its benefits in answering questions that the couple may not have thought about prior to their engagement.

Another requirement that some officiants require is proof of a Divorce Decree in the event there has been a previous marriage. If the couple does not have a copy of this decree, they will have to obtain a copy. Not all officiants will require this copy as the Marriage License is a legal document and the couple has already had to provide a copy of this decree to the Clerk of Courts when they obtained their Marriage License. Even if the ceremony will only be a non-legally binding ceremony, such as a Commitment Ceremony, the officiant may still require proof of a Divorce Decree.

If the couple desires a themed wedding, the couple will need to share this with the officiant early on so that the officiant can purchase the appropriate garments or props for the theme. It is also proper etiquette for the couple to furnish the items for the officiant if this is not a regular themed wedding the officiant would perform.

Selecting the officiant early, allows the officiant to prepare a ceremony that is unique to the couple, particularly if the officiant is writing the ceremony from scratch. This will allow the officiant to spend some time getting to know the needs and wants of the couple to include those readings, special quotes, and themes relevant to the couple.

The officiant is the most vital part of making the Wedding Day a success. The officiant can set the tone and mood for the entire ceremony. Once again, research prior to hiring the officiant!

Congratulations on your engagement!

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