Finding your ideal officiant is different than finding an officiant. Last week I wrote about how to begin your search for a wedding officiant – the person who will make your marriage legal, and who will preside at your wedding ceremony. But you don’t want just anyone serving in this important role. Your wedding ceremony is a personal, intimate experience that takes place in front of all the people you’ve invited to share your wedding day. That’s a tricky balance to strike. You want your ceremony to be memorable, special, unique and authentic for you as a couple. So how do you find your ideal officiant; the person that can deliver that?
When speaking with potential wedding officiants, I encourage you to evaluate them against these five criteria:
1. Does s/he share my vision for the ceremony? This encompasses things including the amount of humor you want, the ways you want to involve your guests, your approach/wishes regarding your vows, and the level of religiosity you want.
2. Is s/he open to my requests and priorities? This is similar to number 1, but more specific. If you indicate a preference for something, does the officiant listen to what you’re saying and incorporate your ideas in the outline and ceremony plans?
3. Do I feel comfortable sharing my thoughts with the officiant? You want to be able to say “no” to ideas that don’t fit you or that you don’t want to spend time on during your ceremony. At its best, your wedding ceremony reflects you as a couple, so you need to be able to share your experiences and personalities with the officiant. If you’re not comfortable doing that, s/he’s probably not the right person for you to work with.
4. Does s/he offer ideas or suggestions I didn’t know about? Can this person help take the ceremony beyond what you had considered? Even if you decline the suggestions they offer, knowing that you’ve considered many options will make you more confident that you will get the ceremony you want for your wedding day
5. Do I have reason to believe that this person can deliver on their promises in a quality way? Basically this gets to the officiant’s education, experience, referrals, references or testimonials. A new officiant my be highly motivated to do a good job for you, but having seen their work personally or getting a referral from a family member or friend whose opinion you value can really increase your confidence in an officiant.
Every reputable officiant will offer the the opportunity to talk with them before hiring them. This can take the form of an in person meeting, a phone call or a Skype or Face Time discussion, but you deserve to get to know them a bit, ask all the questions you have, and be able to assess them against the five criteria, above. When you find someone who meets all those criteria, you’ve found a person you can hire with confidence. You’ve found your ideal officiant!