Wedding 101

10 Questions to Ask a Potential Wedding Officiant

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By now, you know to go to vendor meetings prepared with a laundry list of must-ask questions — the same is true when you hire your wedding officiant. Print out this list of ten questions and take it with you to your officiant meeting.
1. Are you available on our wedding date? Seems obvious — but you’d be surprised how many people forget to ask! Ideally, you’ll ask this question before scheduling an in-person meeting. Pro tip: If the officiant isn’t available on your big day, ask if they have any recommendations — the wedding world is well connected. 
2. How many weddings have you officiated? Of course, if you’re asking a friend to run your wedding ceremony, the answer might not be too important. But if you’re hiring someone, experience is essential. You’ll want to make sure that they understand how ceremony flows. 
3. Are you willing to travel? If your venue is local for the officiant, it’s implied that they can make it to the location. If you’re having a destination wedding, you’ll have to discuss how travel affects their fee and who pays for what. 
4. Are we (the couple) responsible for providing you with a ceremony script, or will we create it together? Some vendors might just show up and say what you ask — which can be great, if that’s what you’re looking for. Others can be involved with writing the ceremony. Many even have a “collection” of readings, songs, and other elements that could be great additions to your vows. 
5. When or how often will we meet? You shouldn’t have to meet with your officiant too often, but it’s always nice to have an accessible, easy-to-reach professional. 
6. Do you work off a script? You want to know whether your officiant wants a word-for-word script or if they’re prone to ad-libbing. Both have their pros — it all depends on your style. 
7. Are you available for a rehearsal before the wedding? It’s so crucial to have the officiant at the rehearsal. Otherwise, they’ll be totally out of the loop on the big day. Pro tip: If you’re having a rehearsal dinner or another party directly after the ceremony run through, it’s polite to invite the officiant to join. You should extend an invitation to him or her for the reception, too! 
8. Are you comfortable including or excluding religion in the ceremony? Religious officiants — priests, rabbis, ministers, etc. — might require the ceremony to be rooted in religion, and might not be okay with a secular ceremony. On the other hand, independent officiants might not be comfortable with religious details. You want their attitude and beliefs to match yours. 
9. Can you provide references? If you’re unsure about hiring the officiant (or if you just want to do your due diligence!), it can’t hurt to call or email couples who worked with them before. 
10. What do you charge? Of course, you’ll want to know how the officiant will fit into your budget (you should expect a couple hundred bucks — up to $500). Some accept donations, some have a fixed hourly rate… it all varies, so make sure to ask! These are just the get-down-to-business questions. Don’t forget to get to know the officiant personally, too! You can ask what they enjoy about officiating weddings or about their favorite ceremony.
Kristin Doherty
About The Author
Writer and Content Strategist. 
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