9 Tips for Finding The Perfect Wedding Officiant
Something we don’t often hear people talk about is planning your wedding ceremony. Obviously, it’s kind of a big deal (without it, it’s not a wedding!), but rarely does it get the same preparation as the rest of the wedding. Before you can even work through how you’d like your ceremony to go, you need to find an officiant! I asked Cathy Davis if she’d hop over here and share some things that couples need to be aware of when searching for the right officiant. Let’s dive in!
It seems that media and magazines spend a lot of time focusing on all aspects of the wedding but the person who will marry you! It’s all just a big party without the Officiant, and you should make sure that you are picking someone who matches your day and will bring your theme and vibe of your day into the ceremony. After all, the ceremony is the first thing your guests will experience, and it will set the tone for the whole day.
The ceremony should reflect you as a couple and be so meaningful and personalized that it will seem like you have an old friend doing the ceremony instead of someone you paid to be there! Here are some things that should be important to you when choosing that person:
Does your officiant offer a huge selection of choices in order to create a ceremony that is meaningful and flexible with your wishes in mind? If you have a specific vision in mind, will they work within that or is it their vision only? Will they work with your time restrictions and offer new and exciting ways to make your ceremony different and unique? You could ask them what their favourite ceremony was and why? Or, what was the most unique ceremony they ever did?
Check your officiant’s testimonials or ask the other professionals you already have on board for your day if they have worked with an officiant they would recommend or who you should stay away from. If you ask for no religion are they going to honour and respect that? Are you going to get a copy of the ceremony ahead of time so you can see word-for-word what they will say? Does your Officiant have a video that you can see of a past ceremony? You don’t want inappropriate jokes or long, drawn-out messages to you that are more about them than you.
Back Up Plan
What happens if your Officiant gets sick, has a family emergency or is in an accident on the way to your venue? To avoid these type of emergency absences on your big day, what is the plan? Does your Officiant have others on stand-by that they can call in at the last minute?
Is your Officiant known by the other professionals you have hired for your day? It may seem a strange question to ask, but when you have a whole team of Professionals from the area you are getting married in that work well together and have a great positive energy with each other, it only makes your day better! Some Officiants and Clergy have been known to have a low tolerance for photographers and videographers getting “in their way”, so make sure you know if yours will be okay with that! Others refuse to use a microphone because it is all about them; what about your vows being heard or your Great-Aunt getting up to do a reading or having the mic feed into your wedding video?
Is your Officiant going to look professional and be there well before ceremony time? Is your Officiant going to be so booked up on your day that you are just a number and they are running in and out without even stopping for a photo with you? Your Officiant is going to be in a large number of your photos—will they be in a robe or an orange polka-dot dress? How well are they going to get to know you? Are they going to write a personal message for you?
This may seem like a no-brainer but you may want to verify this by going to www.ontario.ca/page/getting-married.ca. In the Province of Ontario, your friend or relative cannot just get licensed for your wedding online like other States and Provinces, they must be licensed in Ontario. How much experience do they have? Have they worked at the venue you will be at? They should explain all of the legalities of the ceremony with you in your first consult—if not, run! If you are not doing a simple elopement-style wedding, there should always be at least two detailed consults with your officiant!
This isn’t totally necessary, but do they live close to your venue? Do they know the area well enough to get around traffic with short cuts? Getting in and around Niagara in the summer time is no easy task! You want to be sure they will not be rolling in at the last second! An out-of-towner may spend your wedding day sitting on the QEW!
Are they being up front with how much everything is going to cost? You always get what you pay for. If someone looks like they are very inexpensive, there may be a good reason behind that! Do they include filling out all of the documents and paperwork for the government for you? Are they going to mail everything in for you? Will they charge extra for travel? Will they charge for each separate meeting you have with them?
Trust your instincts
If you don’t feel a good connection with someone at a consult, trust your inner voice and do not book them. Your wedding planner or other vendors such as venue, photographer, DJ, etc will also be able to provide you with some feedback and direction. If you feel at ease with them, and feel confident that they will execute the ceremony of your dreams, then the hard work is already done—book them before it’s too late! It is never too early to book an officiant; some are booked up well up to eighteen months in advance.
The officiant has the power to make one of the most important parts of your big day something that truly memorable—either for the best or the worst. As a planner, I’ve seen both sides of that, and the only ceremonies I truly remember the details of are the ones that were amazing and the ones that were rough. So, with that choice in mind, why would you not take a little time to vet your officiant by asking the questions Cathy laid out? I always say it’s important that couples get the wedding vendors they want AND the ones they really click with. You spend a lot of time with your planner and your photographer, but your officiant is running the show for basically the main reason we’re all at your wedding. Make sure you click with them and feel like they really know you. Spend the time working through their process; it’s going to be so worth it.
If you are looking for someone who is going to tick every one of these boxes above, please reach out to Cathy Davis & Co to create an amazing, beautiful ceremony that will be beyond your expectations!