Post # 1
Sorry this is kind of long; I’m still sorting out my thoughts…
Hi everyone! My fiance and I are having a non-religious ceremony, and we are currently in the process of finding our officiant. We have two people in mind: 1) The pastor from the church Fiance attended while growing up (this pastor has since left the church and now works at a hospital, but he is still ordained; Fiance was close to him in high school and they still keep in touch), and 2) FI’s favorite college professor; she, too, is ordained and can perform marriage ceremonies.
I like both of these options because neither of them would be just a randomly hired officiant who knows nothing about us. Both of them obviously know Fiance and have played important roles in his life – and they can get to know me. Both the pastor and professor live several hours away, so Fiance is planning on emailing them to get their thoughts on performing our ceremony, and asking if we could set up a Skype date to discuss their wedding “style,” etc.
So, my question is: What sorts of questions should we ask when “interviewing” them? Should we just ask open-endedly, “What do you think about marrying us?” Ask them their views on marriage? What they’d say about these views while officiating a wedding?
We want the ceremony to be very personal to us, so I’m just a little nervous about choosing an officiant. I really want to make sure their style gels with ours. I don’t even know exactly what we’re looking for in an officiant, besides of course liking them! We do know we want the officiant to be happy, joyful, fun but professional, have profound/meaningful/encouraging things to say about marriage…
Help! How do we know if the officiant is right for us?
Post # 3
well there are the logistics…
-what time do you arrive/ leave?
-how many weddings do you book a day?
-do you customize ceremonies?
-what if you get ill/ sick?
-do you provide speakers/ microphone
-what will you wear? etc…
then there is the person…
-what do you normally say?
-will you personalize?
for this she mostly asked us questions like why are you getting married, what do you think about marriage, and we just kinda “talked” they’ll tell you about their marriages, some experiences they’ve had etc. And if you both see eye to eye and agree, then it’s probably a good match 🙂
Post # 4
@vmec: Thank you! I honestly didn’t even think of the logistical stuff… Durrr. That’s super helpful.
Post # 5
Are there any important things to include (or not include) in your ceremony? I would add…
— Are there any restrictions about what you will/won’t read?
— Will you provide us with a copy of our ceremony as a keepsake?
— Do you need amplification? If yes, who will provide it?
— How many meetings will we have between now and the day of?
— Will you accommodate a rehearsal?
For us, we wanted a good public speaker, experienced in wedding officiating, someone fully accepting of our secular ceremony (some try to push a prayer on you), and one who supports marriage equality (we are having him read a Statement of the Right of Marriage, written by me, that loosely addresses our support of our same-sex friends and their right to wed).
Also, be sure your personalities are compatible. I’d suggest meeting in person if it’s at all possible, even if it’s just once.
Post # 6
@BostonBaby: Thank you!! Again, very helpful.
Would you mind sharing your Statement of the Right of Marriage? (It’s okay if you say no, of course.) The professor we are considering is actually a lesbian, and marriage equality is something about which Fiance and I are very passionate. I’d love to read what you wrote!
Post # 7
I don’t mind sharing at all! Our officiant will just read it as part of the ceremony, and I tried to write it so that the people who need to understand would, and the few people who disagree wouldn’t even know what was said unless they were *really* listening. 😀
“Statement of the Right of Marriage
Groomname and Bridename believe that it is a privilege and a right to make a commitment that binds both their hearts and their lives, and that this honor should be universally upheld by any who choose to enter into it, and should not be denied by any who attempt to oppose it. In love there is hope, and in marriage the foundation for hope in the future.”
Post # 8
@BostonBaby: That’s beautiful! I love that it’s not preachy, but still very powerful and speaks to your beliefs. I love it!
Post # 9
@Ms Bookworm: Thank you! Non-preachy was definitely the goal, since we aren’t trying to shove our beliefs down our guests’ throats at all, just acknowledge them.
Post # 10
Here are some of the questions I recommend my couples to ask:
- 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?
Post # 11
Funny that this thread got bumped because we are meeting with an officiant this morning! Asking my FI’s professor/old pastor didn’t work out for various reasons, so we’re looking into hiring a local, non-denominational professional. I’m excited to meet with this one, but a little bummed because officiants seem to be quite expensive! Argh.
Post # 12
@Ms Bookworm: I was very shocked at the cost of officiants. I honestly thought $250 max for our 15 minutes ceremony and rehearsal but, boy was I wrong. I did find a price close to what I had in mind but, it took a lot of time and research,
Post # 13
@aheavel: I know, seriously! The guy we met with seems great & he has done tons of weddings, so Fiance & I feel confident in his ability to perform the type of ceremony we’re hoping for. His price is $395 for a completely customized ceremony – but $495 if he comes to the rehearsal. That seems like so much for less than a half hour of work (even though I know some extra time will go into the preparation, of course).