Choosing an Officiant

(Questions to Ask Before You Book Someone!)

Here are some things to consider and questions to ask a potential officiant to see if they will be compatible with your needs and wishes before you book them:

  1. Is the Officiant comfortable with being interviewed to allow you to ask questions?
  2. Can they provide references and credentials?
  3. How long have you been officiating and how many weddings to you officiate per year?
  4. What is their training, education and experience?  Where were they ordained? This is important to ask and know! (see below)
  5. What type of ceremonies do they perform (Christian, Interfaith, Civil, Spiritual, etc.).
  6. Do they require any type of counseling (premarital) before marriage?
  7. Will they travel to your location and are there travel fees?
  8. What are their fees and what do they include?
  9. Is the officiant part of a “referral agency” that charges them a fee for your wedding?  If so, you may pay more than what is customary in your area!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

  • Marriage laws are determined by individual states and do vary. Many Counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provide applicants with a “Disclaimer of Liability,” with their marriage license, as there may be restrictions on “internet” ordinations, as well as specific criteria regarding “self-uniting” marriages. Please see Disclaimer of Liability (PDF).   Check with a local County Clerk’s office (Clerk of the Orphans’ Court) for more information.  Be certain that there will be NO QUESTION regarding the validity of your marriage after your wedding ceremony!!
  • Book an officiant as soon as you have chosen your ceremony venue and time!  It would be very unfortunate to plan your entire wedding and be scrambling at the last minute to find an officiant who is available for your date and time (talk about stress!).  And please don’t print your invitations without have an officiant already booked for your date and time!!

In the end, it comes down to your sense of comfort, the officiant’s ability to gain your confidence, and the degree of interaction you want and need.  Trust your judgment!  Most people are able to get a “feel” for the person and if they are a good fit for you!