What Should a Wedding Officiant Wear to the Ceremony?

Patterns are not your friend.

ceremony reading
Photo: KT Merry

When you're officiating a wedding, there's plenty to take into consideration. Will the microphone be correctly placed? Will the best man remember the rings? And, what's that music cue again? The last thing you want to be concerned about on the wedding day is whether your outfit is appropriate. In order to help you plan your attire ahead of the big day, here are a few tips about what an officiant should wear to a wedding.

Consider the Formality

While the ceremony itself may be scripted to be informal, the wedding attire could still be black-tie. As the officiant, your wedding attire should fit with the style and formality of the day. You should also take notes from the venue and scenery. For example, if the ceremony is on a beach and guests have been asked to wear "Beach Formal" attire, a flowy dress or a light linen suit would be appropriate.

Ask About the Color Palette

It's usually helpful to know what colors the wedding party will be wearing, and whether or not there's a specific color palette that will be highlighted throughout the ceremony and reception. You want to blend, but not match exactly. You wouldn't want to be confused with a bridesmaid, but you also don't want to wear a color that clashes with the overall décor. It may even be helpful to know what your backdrop is so you're not blending into it by, say, wearing a black suit in front of a dramatic black velvet curtain.

Steer Clear of Patterns

Patterned dresses are usually best avoided for the officiant, as they tend to stand out too much in photos. If you're wearing a solid suit and want to wear a pattern shirt underneath, that's probably okay, but check with the couple just in case.

Select Something You're Comfortable Wearing

While it's true that most suits, tuxedos, and formal dresses aren't the most comfortable things you'll ever wear, it's crucial that you select something that makes you feel confident. You don't want to be fidgeting and thinking about whether your outfit is unflattering while standing in front of a captive audience. Take your outfit to a tailor prior to the wedding to be sure it's just the right fit.

Ask the Couple for Their Opinion

Some couples have a strong preference about what the officiant wears and will want to weigh in on colors and formality, so be sure to ask about this early on in the planning process. The couple can also turn to their wedding planner, designer, or stylist for input about what would look best with the venue and overall design scheme. All black, all white, or a neutral color is often the safest bet if the couple are uncertain.

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