“Oh, I thought you were a wedding PLANNER!”
As a Wedding Officiant of ten years, I hear this line - A LOT.
Many engaged couples have no idea what a wedding officiant does, how they do it, and what to expect from them.
Once upon a time, the officiant role was only performed by clergy or sometimes a judge. Many modern couples, however, are planning their weddings at venues instead of churches, and as a result, must hire for a professional service that is offered by many different types of officiants. This shift from clergy to professional service allows for customized ceremony offerings in a way that wasn’t possible before.
What is a wedding officiant and what do they do?
A wedding officiant is someone who has been granted authority to authorize a marriage by signing the Marriage License. Some officiants are ordained by religious institutions and others consider themselves secular or civil officiants. Every state has different rules and regulations about who is allowed to perform these duties. Make sure your officiant is legal or your marriage won’t be!
The primary responsibilities of the wedding officiant are basic but very important.
What your wedding officiant does beyond this will vary depending on their service model. Some will offer very basic license signing services and others offer comprehensive packages that may include any of the following, plus additional unique services that reflect their background or brand.
As you reflect on the optional services, consider what it is you would like to have your officiant do for you and what you are happy with forgoing or doing yourself.