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Choosing the Right Officiant for Your Wedding

Your wedding isn’t official without somebody who has been legally certified to perform a wedding. If you and your future husband are not members of the same church, choosing the right person to perform your ceremony can get a little tricky. This is especially difficult if you have different religious backgrounds and want to have a traditional religious ceremony. Suffice it to say, you are about to get a crash course in the art of compromise—something you will be doing for the next 50 years of marital bliss.

It doesn’t always have to be a priest, pastor or other clergyman who performs your ceremony. You have a few options.

Ordained nondenominational minister


Justice of the Peace


Once you have come to an agreement on who will perform the legal duty of marrying you, it is time discuss the ceremony. A judge, magistrate or mayor will typically perform a basic ceremony that does not involve religion. This is a very common choice for couples who are not overly religious or for those who do not want to offend guests or one another. You can still opt to have a few passages from the Bible included in your ceremony. It is your wedding and you can structure it as you please.

You will need to have a meeting with each potential officiant before you make any decisions. You will want to talk with the person and ask a few key questions before making a choice.

Will you be allowed to customize the ceremony? If so, how flexible is the person?

Will you and your groom have to attend counseling before the wedding?

Are there any objections to marrying you have different religions?

Will the person go to a venue that is not his/her church, office or chapel?

Is your wedding date available?

What is the fee for their services?

What will the officiant wear? Traditional garments or dress clothes?

During the meeting, which will typically last about an hour, evaluate how comfortable you feel with the person. If you are uneasy or feel as if the person is simply not right for the job, don’t feel as if you have to have that person perform your wedding. There are plenty of others who will do so.

If you are hiring a person who does weddings for a living, take the time to do some research. Look him or her up on Google to see what others have said. Was the person flexible and stick with what the bride and groom asked or was the official completely set in his own ways and refuse to budge? Did the person speak loud and clear during the ceremony or mumble the words making them inaudible for guests?

Take your time finding the right person for the job. This is the first day of the rest of your married life and you want it to go smoothly. You are already going to be a jumble of nerves and the last thing you want is a stern, unfriendly face demanding you repeat your vows.