Two sad words: Not Available

Not available – two sad words I’ve had to say too many times in recent days. I received inquiries from couples both at the Unveiled wedding show last month and via email in recent days for 2018 dates that are already booked on my calendar. I had to tell these couples that I am not available to work with them on their ceremonies.

We are definitely at the point where 2018 couples are actively looking for a wedding officiant, and calendars are beginning to fill for the high demand months of next year. If you are getting married next year and haven’t yet secured your wedding officiant, now is the time to take action. If you’re not connected to a faith community, it can be difficult to find an officiant. Here are a few ways to tackle the situation:

1. Ask your ceremony/reception venue manager for referrals. They know who has performed ceremonies at their venue before, and who does a good job.
2. Ask friends, family or co-workers who have recently married who officiated for them, and what their experience was with their officiant.
3. Google “wedding officiant Rochester” or the city where your ceremony will be held.

Now that you have a few names, you want to spend a little time thinking about and talking with your fiance(e) about what you want in your ceremony. Think about what you’ve seen at weddings you’ve attended. Are there things you definitely do or don’t want in your own ceremony? Think about your vows (the most important part of your ceremony). Do you want to write your own, or want the officiant to provide samples to choose from? Think about the role you want to play in the creation of your ceremony. Do you want to write some or most of it yourselves, or collaborate with your officiant on the outline and leave the writing to her/him?

Now it’s time to reach out to officiants. Use whatever contact information you have – phone or email are most common. This is often the most intimidating part of the process, as you may not know where to start the conversation. I suggest a simple, “Hi, my name is ___, we’re getting married on at , and are interested in considering your services as a wedding officiant.” You’ve provided key information to the officiant, and they can pick up the conversational (or email) ball from there.

While 2018 bookings are definitely picking up, there are still many open dates on my calendar, so don’t hesitate. Please reach out with your wedding date and venue and let’s start a conversation. Hopefully I won’t have to use those sad words: I’m not available.

The next step is finding not just an officiant, but the right officiant for your wedding. And that’s the focus of next week’s blog.