Before you choose the pro who will marry you, make sure they check all of your boxes.
Credit: Ryan Ray

From civil to religious to spiritual, every type of wedding requires an officiant to perform the ceremony. Finding the perfect person-one who understands and accommodates your desired ceremony style-can make or break your nuptials. Here are six questions you need to ask prospective officiants before booking.

Are you available on my wedding date?

If you've already picked a date and time for your wedding, be sure that the officiant is able to attend. Eliminate any prospective officiant with potential time conflicts, as well as those who can't travel to a faraway venue. Keep in mind that some officiants may charge extra for travel expenses, including lodging and meals.

What is your fee?

Each officiant will have a different policy regarding fees. While some charge a few hundred dollars for their services, others work on a donation basis. If they don't have a set rate, inquire about the average donation to avoid both overpaying and underpaying.

Will you officiate my specific wedding?

If your prospective officiant is a religious figure, he or she may not be able to officiate all types of weddings, especially those that do not take place in a house of worship. Always make sure that a prospective officiant is willing and able to adhere to your specific desires, and ask about any rules or traditions they are required to follow.

What is your past experience?

You wouldn't choose a florist with no experience arranging bouquets, so why choose an officiant who has never presided over a wedding ceremony? Ask your prospective officiant how many weddings they've done, and whether they've worked on any ceremonies similar to yours. For example, if you're having an interfaith ceremony, you probably want to hire someone who has performed a nuptials with mixed religions in the past. It's also smart to review the officiant's license and registration before booking.

Can we personalize the ceremony?

Not into the standard vows or processional songs? Ask your officiant if you can personalize any aspect of the ceremony to fit your desired tastes. Some may prefer to stick to a template, but others are willing to be flexible with readings, vows, music, clothing, and more. Certain officiants may even help write a completely customized ceremony for a bride and groom.

What will our pre-wedding communication look like?

Some officiants maintain very limited communication with the bride and groom. But if you want him to have hands-on involvement in planning the ceremony, ask if he's available for pre-wedding meetings, and whether they add on to your bill. Also, if you prefer the officiant to attend your rehearsal, make sure he's readily available. Keep in mind that some officiants, especially religious figures, require extensive counseling before the big day.


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