— Congratulations on your engagement! I would love to help you plan your wedding ceremony. —
I have been honored to officiate at a lot of weddings in the past 30 years. When choosing your wedding officiant, please keep the following in mind.
(1) Be cautious of those who have received their “ordination” online from a website. While the online organization may give an individual the authority to perform weddings, it usually doesn’t provide training or the good judgment to know what is appropriate for a wedding ceremony. I would suggest asking an officiant, who or what organization ordained them? Research the organization that is mentioned.
Pastors and ministers with education and training, have usually been ordained by a church denomination or organization to whom they are accountable. Self proclaimed ministers or officiants with ordination from a website, usually are not accountable to any official organization. This should raise a red flag and cause you to proceed with caution.
(2) You and your fiancé should decide in advance if you want a religious or nonreligious ceremony. However, sometimes couples are uncertain and need to discuss this issue with the wedding officiant. An officiant who has some training in counseling and religious beliefs will be more helpful than someone who has signed up for “ordination online.”
Ask the potential wedding officiant, how many hours or years of training they have, and what is their understanding of the meaning of marriage. Do their answers give you confidence?
(3) Discuss with the wedding officiant, specific ideas you have for the ceremony and the location. Some officiants are more or less flexible on requirements, ceremony specifics and unique locations.
(4) Ask the wedding officiant about the total cost to perform the ceremony, rehearsal and travel fees.