How to Find a Wedding Officiant

The wedding ceremony should be the most important part of your entire day. After all this event is about two people making a lifelong commitment to each other. The ceremony is what the couple is getting so dressed up for. The reception is the party to celebrate the big commitment.
 
To make sure the ceremony runs smoothly, you'll need a thoughtful, expert officiant. You will want someone who will lead the ceremony, and keep it within the intended time frame.
Your officiant will have their own style for running things, but they should still be able to adapt to what you want and need. They will be able to offer suggestions and give ideas, but ultimately help you make decisions on what you want.  
 
A wedding officiant must be legally recognized by the state. If it is a religious ceremony held in a place of worship, your officiant needs to be a part of that religion. (Or get permission from the residing pastor or rabbi to perform a wedding ceremony in their space).
 
Remember that not all wedding officiants are suitable for all kinds of ceremonies. Finding the best one for you can be tricky! So how do you find a wedding officiant? Read on and find out.

How to Find A Wedding Officiant That Fits You

wedding ceremony | How to Find a Wedding Officiant

Finding the perfect wedding officiant is not a very easy task. A wedding is a personal occasion, and the officiant plays a big role in making it so. It can be a difficult, but once a couple is sure of what kind of ceremony they want it becomes much simpler.
 
We've done the research for you. Read on to find about the various kinds of officiants and the different types of ceremonies. This will help you decide who would make the best officiant for your wedding.

Types of Wedding Officiants

No two weddings are exactly the same. The same officiant may preside at two ceremonies, but the details of each will be different. Every wedding is a reflection of the best moments and the personals choices of the couple. Since the wedding officiant is the person who leads the ceremony, it is his or her job to hold up what that particular wedding represents. It is important to choose a wedding officiant who will cater to the needs of the couple.
 
Check out the different types of officiants. Let us know which will be your choice!

Religious

two couples standing in front of a church | How to Find a Wedding Officiant

Many weddings are religious in nature and often have several ceremonies involved. In such cases, the couple will want a religious leader, like a pastor or a rabbi to officiate their wedding.
 
You may want to choose a spiritual leader from the religious organization you belong to. You'll need to set up a meeting with the head pastor and discuss your options. Don't forget, you may choose a church, but might need to be flexible on the date. Churches book quickly, so you may need to have one or two extra dates that could work.
 
Still want a religious ceremony, but aren't a part of a church? There are plenty of religious organizations that will allow you to marry in their space. Meet with the pastor or head of the organization to discuss your options. Remember that some religious organizations require certain rituals to happen before exchanging vows. 

Civil

couple walking on the sand | How to Find a Wedding Officiant

Some couples only want a legal ceremony. This could be as simple as signing your paperwork with a judge or justice of peace. You can find either of those through your city's local clerk's office.
 
Different states might have different requirements for a civil wedding officiant. Are you planning an out-of-state ceremony? You may want to consider having a private ceremony in your home state first with an officiant licensed by your state. That will allow your officiant to legally marry you and your partner. You can then have your ceremony out-of-state with the officiant of your choice. This allows you to have zero worry about it being legally recognized.
 
Are you wanting a civil ceremony, but feel it might be too impersonal? Have no fear - many officiants will spend time with the couple prior to the big day. It will give them time to understand what you and your future spouse are looking for in a ceremony. They will be able to cater to your needs and provide a lovely ceremony for the two of you.

Celebrant

couple holding hand during wedding ceremony | How to Find a Wedding Officiant

A celebrant is a person who officiates religious as well as secular marriages and even performs other rituals. Some professional secular officiants, like judges, are ordained. They can perform both religious and secular marriages.
 
You can choose a celebrant if you are not able to find the right person for your religious ceremony. In case of a civil wedding, some couples may choose a celebrant to have a more personal ceremony.

 Secular

married couple on their wedding day touching foreheads | How to Find a Wedding Officiant

Some wedding officiants are licensed through organizations like Celebrant USA Foundation and Institute or the American Humanist Association. These officiants are perfect for the job if you decide to have a ceremony that is between civil and secular.
 
If you choose to have a wedding that is not strictly religious and but also does not involve just a civil procedure, then this is perfect for you. Choose a professional who has a lot of experience in officiating the style of wedding you want. We recommend using a secular officiant if you want both a spiritual and civil ceremony.
 
Secular wedding officiants often officiate same-sex and interfaith marriages. They will be able to create a ceremony that is exactly how you will want it. They will bring knowledge and expertise to the planning process.

Interfaith Ministers

couple standing in front of trees outside | How to Find a Wedding Officiant

Interfaith ministers can officiate weddings two people from different religions. They also officiate non-religious marriages and same-sex marriages. If this applies to you, choose an interfaith minister! You will want someone with experience to help you plan your ceremony.
 
These interfaith ministers do not work within certain religious organizations. They serve communities and inspire couples to create a spiritual wedding.

Friend or Family Member

four people standing together | How to Find a Wedding Officiant

A very simple way to make your wedding day extra special is by having a family member or friend officiate. Don't worry if you don't personally know an officiant. It is simple and easy to get a license online.
 
Keep in mind that not all states recognize online ordination. Some states have other procedures and requirements involved. If you decide to ask someone close to you to officiate your wedding, then make sure you know what they need to do to get a license.

Tips on How to Find a Wedding Officiant

The points mentioned above will have given you a clear idea of who the different wedding officiants are and you might have already chosen the right kind of officiant. However, there are other details that need to be taken care of and these include the fact that not all wedding officiants (no matter which type you choose) are going to be ideal for your wedding ceremony.

Different wedding officiants will bring different things to the ceremony and you will have to let your officiant know exactly what you are looking for in the ceremony.

Now given below are some of the best tips that you can have when it comes to choosing the right wedding officiant.

Sit down and talk with your partner about what you are looking for in your wedding officiant.

couple sitting my water | How to Find a Wedding Officiant

The wedding is about both of you which means that it is necessary the two of you are on the same page. There are details to think about: what's the vibe of the ceremony? Humorous? Loving? How long do you want it to be? Are you including others, such as readers or musicians? Discuss it with your future spouse and decide what you're looking for.
 
Once you've decided on the style of wedding you want, select an officiant that will fit that type of ceremony.

Use sites like WeddingWire and weddingofficiants.com.

girl sitting in front of laptop | How to Find a Wedding Officiant

There are plenty of tools available to help you. Use these sites to help you narrow down your search for an officiant. They offer valuable ways to narrow down your search, such as by location.

Ask wedding officiants you are considering what type of speaking style they have.

We all have that one silly uncle who is the life of the party. He's the loud, funny guy who is always making jokes and getting laughs. Now think about your kind, sweet grandma. She's got a soft spoken way about her. They have two different styles of speaking, and officiants are no different. It's important for you to decide if your officiant's speaking style fits the tone of the ceremony.
 
Are you unsure if your officiant can fit your criteria? You can always ask them to recite a few lines from a wedding they've previously officiated.

Ensure that you and your wedding officiant’s values align.

wedding officiant talking to couple | How to Find a Wedding Officiant

You don't want to be caught off guard if your officiant says something you don't agree with. For example, your officiant says something like you will make excellent parents. That might make for an awkward moment if you don't want children.
 
If it happens that his or her beliefs are clashing with yours, then you can choose someone else to officiate your wedding.

Watch a clip of your wedding officiant speaking before committing (if you can).

Consider it like an audition. This might not always be possible, but if it is, listen to it. This will help you decide if he or she will be able to deliver a speech (or read out a piece) in the way you want it.
 
Watching a clip will also allow you to determine if he or she will be confident enough while performing the ceremony.

Do not be afraid of having a small interview with your wedding officiant before committing.

You wouldn't hire a caterer without trying the food first, right? Same process for the officiant. Even if this person comes highly recommended, sit down with them and have a conversation. This will help you get to know your officiant better clarify any questions.

Ask for a sample of a ceremony that they have done in the past.

You likely don't want to write a script from scratch. There's no need to reinvent the wheel. Wedding scripts are available, so ask your officiant if you can view ones they have used. It will give you a better idea of the officiant's abilities (and might give you some inspiration for other details, too!)

Conclusion

A wedding officiant brings his or her own personality and grace to the wedding. Finding the ideal officiant is one of the most important parts of your big day. Make sure to discuss the idea and style of the wedding with your partner first, then decide who would be the best fit. The right officiant is the one who will lead your ceremony exactly how you want it.
 
What style of ceremony are you looking for? How does your officiant fit into that picture? Let us know in the comments below!

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Leave a comment

Mallory
June 18, 2020 12:14

I was wondering about this.. very helpful info!

Emilie
June 06, 2020 17:21

Such helpful information!

Angela Miller
June 02, 2020 12:33

This seems kinda difficult…

Brianna M
May 11, 2020 10:34

Great info! This is one of the hardest things to figure out for our wedding!

Emilie
April 03, 2020 13:59

This was extremely helpful as this has been giving me so much anxiety about finding the right person for our big day!

JESSICA ALLEN
March 31, 2020 22:48

This is the next on our to do list. This was so helpful!

Lisa
March 27, 2020 11:23

Very informative

Anastasia Anderson
March 06, 2020 10:36

My wedding officiant is someone I’ve know my whole life. And she actually renewed my parents vows years back. I feel so lucky to have this close relationship with someone who has a very important role in the wedding

Kelsey
March 04, 2020 22:27

I think that communication between the officiant and the pair getting married is key to a good match. It makes everyone so much more comfortable!

Alisha Dan
February 25, 2020 11:05

So I definitely thought it was a faux pas to ask to see a previous ceremony. Thank goodness I was wrong!

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