Post # 1
Looking for your input once again, bees!
We’re meeting with an officiant next week. He is my FI’s old rabbi. He is very liberal and performs inter-faith marriages (I’m not Jewish).
Any ideas on what we should ask potential officiants? I’m sort of clueless as to what we should ask, or be looking for in an officiant.
Post # 3
Hmmm.. I’m just trying to think of some things that we needed to speak with our officiant about. We got married in a church, so we had to do the pre-marriage counseling and some seminars and even a compatibility test. I don’t know if those requirements pertain to other places, but maybe ask if he has any recommendations on things like that that your FH and you could do prior to the ceremony? I actually thought I was going to hate doing that stuff, but it was actually a very nice experience so I’m glad they forced us to in the end lol
The other thing we had to worry about was my husband’s baptism records and such – he had to have proof of that (again not sure if this pertains to you).
If you are getting married in a church, I would make sure to ask him if the church has any forms or special requirements you need to be aware of. We had to have our photographer sign an agreement to only take photos during certain parts of the ceremony and stuff.
Maybe ask him if he has any type of information packs that could help you in planning your ceremony. Especially if you are going to have readings done – that could be helpful by giving you suggestions on what readings to use and when. It could also help you understand/become familiar with the timeline of the ceremony.
Oh and make sure you ask about the rehearsal! Would the officiant be running through it with you, or would there be a coordinator doing it if it were inside a church? This was a huge thing for us – I wish the officiant would have been there, because the rehearsal lady told us that we were going to be doing the ‘sign of peace’ that happens in Catholic ceremonies. Well turns out since we weren’t doing a full mass, we didn’t actually end up doing it the day of. So when it was time for my husband and I to kiss, the priest of course for whatever reason did not say “you may kiss your bride”, so we were confused and wondering if it was time to do the sign of peace. Nope, it was time to kiss – but the rehearsal coordinator totally threw us off.
Post # 4
Thanks for the tips 🙂 I’m not sure if we’ll be doing a rehearsal, and if so, how to handle it… b/c we have a lot of out of towners.
We’re getting married outdoors (or under a tent if it rains). Our venue doesn’t have a coordinator… I guess we’re going to have to figure out how to make sure everything runs smoothly or who is in charge.
Post # 5
Rabbis never rehearse, so that’s one worry out of the way! They just assume that people can figure out how to walk on their own. They are also highly unlikely to require premarital counseling. In Judaism, the function of the rabbi is more to make sure all the requirements of Jewish law are met, rather than trying to figure out whether the marriage is a good idea.
Some things to check on:
- Traditionally, the wedding is performed under the chuppah (wedding canopy). You might ask if he has access to a chuppah, or whether you need to rent one or make one.
- If he has access to a chuppah, is it a free-standing one or one that needs to be carried or held by four people? Unless you have a free-standing one, you’ll need to appoint four people to hold it.
- You would normally have a ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract. You might ask whether he has any special requirements on the language of the ketubah. Also, who can serve as witnesses? Traditionally, the witnesses must be Jewish males unrelated to either the bride or groom. However, a rabbi willing to perform an interfaith marriage is likely to be flexible on this.
- Does he have sample ceremony language, or are you expected to write your own?
- Are there any restrictions on what rings you can use? Traditionally, the bride’s ring must be a plain gold band with no stones or engraving, but again, Reform rabbis tend to be flexible on this.
- Will you be doing the bedeken (veiling) ceremony? If so, you would typically use a veil with a blusher.
- Are there restrictions on your wedding dress? Some rabbis, for example, require that a strapless gown must be accompanied by some covering for the shoulders for the ceremony.
- To the extent you want to incorporate nonJewish traditions, you might talk to him about that. For example, the traditional Jewish ceremony does not have vows at all.
Post # 6
Here are 20 questions you can ask an officiant:
- What is your fee to officiate our wedding?
- What does your fee include?
- How long have you been a marriage officiant?
- What are your time restrictions for the ceremony?
- Will there be any extra fees if the ceremony starts late?
- Can we see your credentials, proof that you are licensed in the state?
- How far in advance do we need to book our wedding? What would the deposit be?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- How many weddings have you performed in the recent past?
- Do you charge an extra fee for rehearsal?
- Are you available for the date of the rehearsal?
- Do you need any audio/visual equipment for the ceremony?
- Do you allow photography/videography during the ceremony?
- What attire will you wear to the ceremony? Can we have any input on the attire?
- Who will take care of submitting the marriage license to the clerk? Are there any fees for that?
- Do you require pre-marital counseling? If so, would you recommend us one?
- Can personalize our ceremony with “x”, “y”, “z”?
- Will you give a sermon during the ceremony?
- What questions do you have for us?