Planning Tips on Officiants

Your wedding ceremony is probably the most important part of your big day - after all getting married is what this whole shebang is all about. So, when deciding on an officiant you need to make sure that he/she is a good fit for you and your partner in regards to having a good rapport but also in the fact that he/she will be able to perform the type of ceremony you as a couple want.

The Fit

The wedding ceremony is one of the most intimate moments of your life together as a couple, and to make this moment perfect you will want an officiant who not only “gets” you, but who you “get”. You want to get married by someone who knows you; not just as a couple but as individuals and the best way to do this is to get to know him/her as well.

This way the officiant will get a good sense of what you want your ceremony to be like, plus you can establish a relationship based on mutual comfort, trust and respect. So, when sitting down with a potential officiant make sure that your officiant is curious about your story and that you’re equally as curious about his/her story.

See our Questions to Ask for questions you can use to get the conversation going as well as gain some insight into the person who may share one of the most intimate moments in your life as a couple.

The Ceremony

There are many different types of ceremonies from the traditional to interfaith or even same-sex; and some officiants have restrictions on the type of ceremony they are willing to perform. So it is important to make sure that - whichever ceremony you want - the officiant respects your decision and will be able to do it. This also extends to the marriage site, it is becoming very popular for couples to get married in non-religious venues and you need to find out if the officiant prefers to stick to tradition or if he/she is flexible on the venue.

Other than the type of ceremony you also need to consider how flexible the officiant is regarding the format. You may prefer a short-and-sweet 20-minute ceremony or perhaps a longer two hour one where you get involved to give the ceremony a personal touch by writing your own vows or even incorporating music, poems or readings from friends and family into the ceremony. Some officiants will gladly accommodate you (to the point of helping you write your vows), but others like to stick to the books - so find out whether he/she has any rules, restrictions or customs you should know about.

The best way to see their style, presentation, and poise when officiating is to see them in action. So ask to see a script or video sample of their work as well as for a couple of references so you can find out from other couples how it is to work with them.


First thing first, find out if the officiant is available on your chosen date - if not they may have some suggestions of other officiants who are. If they are, confirm how many pre-wedding meetings they usually have - if you are looking for a short-to-the-point ceremony, meeting the officiant once or twice should be more than enough; however if you would like a very personalized ceremony you may want to meet more often.

You can then enquire about the services they have; some offer extras from pre-marital counselling to being mediator with complicated family situations or even helping with the marriage certificate. Also find out what their backup plan is in case of an emergency; you don’t want your big day to be ruined if your desired officiant suddenly falls ill or can’t perform your ceremony - so having a backup plan is an absolute must. You may want to schedule a meeting with your potential sub so that you’ll feel comfortable with them leading your ceremony, as well.

Lastly you need to talk money, find out how their costs work and if there are any extras like travelling or counselling fees.