Choosing Your Wedding Officiant

Choosing the right wedding officiant for you can make a big difference.

black and white photo of religious wedding officiant

Choose a professional wedding officiant.

While it may seem nice to include a friend or loved one in your wedding ceremony, having them act as you wedding officiant may not be the best way. Acting as your wedding officiant has legal and practical implications that go beyond the ceremonial role.

Learn their tones. 

“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.” We all remember the Impressive Clergyman from The Princess Bride. Ask potential officiants to read a passage to you during the interview process. There is often a large difference between someone’s reading and conversational tones.

wedding officiant speaking during ceremony

Ceremony style. 

Many professional officiants will offer traditional and non-traditional ceremony styles including different levels of formality, religious influence and reading choices. Most professional officiants do not perform a full sermon, but will read selected passages should you choose to do so.


Participation in your wedding rehearsal may or may not be included in the officiant’s fee so you should definitely discuss this in advance. If your wedding ceremony is fairly straight forward, you may not need anything beyond your final consultation. If you feel you need a full rehearsal, negotiate the officiant’s participation in your initial contract.

Wedding Officiant laughing at ceremony

Questions to ask:

  • Can we personalize the ceremony?
  • Can we do a religious or civil ceremony?
  • Do you have sample ceremony readings and styles we can review?
  • Do you have backup in case you are sick?
  • Are you authorized to perform marriage ceremonies?
  • Will you participate in the rehearsal?
  • Will you work with my MC?
  • How will you dress?
  • What are your ceremony fees?
  • How many ceremonies will you officiate on my wedding day?

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