When it comes to a wedding officiant, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about “marriage officiant” and “ordained minister” for one lifetime.
If you’re looking for a wedding officiant and some practical tips that you can use at your wedding ceremony then you’ll love this article.
The best part?
It’s a simple post that has everything you need to know about a wedding officiant, including it’s definition, duties, cost, and even how to become a wedding officiant.
Let’s dive right in…
What is a wedding officiant?
The simpler wedding officiant definition is: Someone who can officiate a wedding in a personal, emotional, intimate and personalized way for each loving couple.
A wedding officiant, also called a marriage officiant, could be a justice of the peace or a civilian officer who performs acts of marriage or civil union.
Responsibilities vary from witnessing the consent of the intended couple for the wedding ceremony to officiating the marriage or civil union.
Wedding officiant’s duties and responsibilities, as well as who can become an officiant, vary due to different countries and states’ jurisdictions.
How to find the right wedding officiant?
Your wedding ceremony type will mostly determine what kind of wedding officiant you need to be looking for. It should be somebody you and your partner really feel comfortable with, considering this person will play an important role in your ceremony.
These are the four types of wedding officiants you can choose from, and bear in mind that this important person will guide you through this beautiful moment.
Religious wedding officiant:
A religious wedding officiant is the right choice for your wedding ceremony when you both belong to a similar church group or any other religious organization.
In a religious wedding ceremony, couples tend to be married by their religious leader, such as a priest, a pastor or a rabbi.
You may choose a religious leader you’ve known for a long time at your place of worship or you can select someone new at your venue of choice.
When planning a religious wedding ceremony go talk to your house of worship or potential wedding officiant to find out if there are any restrictions or particular rules to follow that you should know about, such as a pre-marital classes or inclusion of certain rituals
Funny wedding officiant video (must see)
Civil wedding officiant:
A civil wedding officiant or justice of the peace come into the picture when you want to make things legal and official.
Priorities and responsibilities go from legalizing your marriage to witnessing and validating the consent of marriage for the wedding license between you and your loved one.
Find a civil wedding officiant at your local city clerk’s office and explore any availability and options for your city since they may vary according to state and can include other public services as notaries or judges.
You can also hire a legally registered civil wedding officiant through a website and also check their listed prices and even pay online.
If you want to get married in another country or state by a civil wedding officiant who is not legally authorized, another modality is to transfer to the justice of the peace corresponding to the place where you want to celebrate the ceremony, be it a house, a garden, the beach, a wedding hall … This modality will have an extra cost, compared to marriage in the civil registry.
This should be the best option considering you can get married privately prior to your wedding ceremony.
The procedures that will have to be carried out to transfer the justice of the peace are the same as to perform the marriage in the register.
You will have to go there with your future spouse and two witnesses, fill out and present all the necessary papers, sign the minutes and coordinate with the judge to choose the date and place of the marriage.
Professional wedding officiant:
A professional wedding officiant is the indicated if you and your partner are not planning a religious wedding ceremony.
Despite not being a religious leader, a professional wedding officiant can include any kind of religious tradition among any element of you preference.
These type of wedding officiants interact a lot with couples, families, and guests; bringing tons of love and cheer as they go.
Professional wedding officiants are experienced and resourceful persons, so they will be able to guide you through your wedding planning process until your wedding ceremony providing you with past ceremony scripts, stories and thoughts to inspire you.
Friend or family member wedding officiant:
Image courtesy Blue Sky Elopements
Have you ever imagined being married by your best friend or your big brother?
The good news is that you can be married by your best friend or family member, and by bringing a familiar touch it will make your wedding amazingly meaningful and unforgettable by having a loved one perform your wedding ceremony ritual.
We remember a night when we saw an Eddy K Bride wedding being officiated by the bride’s mother and older brother together, and trust me, it was incredibly special.
When having a friend or family member lead your vows as a wedding officiant, you have to ensure that your state recognizes ministers who were ordained online for the sole purpose of performing a marriage.
Wedding officiant script
Whether you are the groom, the bride, the godfather or the godmother, or just a relative or friend of the bride and you’re going to officiate a wedding ceremony, you definitively need to know what a wedding officiant script is.
The wedding officiant script or speech (whatever you want to call it) is nothing but thoughts prepared for the wedding ceremony and it must include an opening, wherein you start your dialogue; the body, where you develop the wedding ceremony; and the end, when you pronounce the couple and propose a toast for the newlyweds.
A wedding officiant script can include readings, poems, book texts or even song lyrics.
With these three simple phases we will have prepared our wedding speech. Now that we know this, we just need to take action. Grab a pen and paper, because today is the day you start to write your special speech.
1) Opening the wedding officiant script
Say your name and what your role is in the wedding or what your relationship is with the bride and groom (godfather, godmother, friend, family member …)
Thank the guests for coming to the wedding. If you feel its necessary, thank the banqueting hall for its good work.
Parents of the bride or groom: Welcome the person who is marrying your daughter / son or make an affectionate comment about him / her.
After the aforementioned steps, you can start with a remark or anecdote (naming it simply, without developing it, because its development will come in the second part, the body of the speech), something short and concise, something where a touch of humor will cause a ripple of laughter among the audience, but always with a touch of elegance. Remember, this final part of the opening will be the true introduction to your wedding officiant speech.
2) Body of the wedding officiant script
In this part of the speech you develop the ideas that you have introduced in the opening. Its where you further explain those anecdotes or the reason behind that remark.
Talk about how you grew up together, school, or work or party stories (beware of these stories, don’t tell the one in which the boyfriend ended up passed out drunk on the floor).
You can also mention the good qualities of both the groom and the bride. You can help with some poetry or lyrics that evoke your connection with the couple or their relationship.
For example, you can read a beautiful poem about love to exemplify the good relationship they have. All this you should be done with a touch of humor and feeling that will make your audience laugh or even shed a tear. After the body of the wedding speech, we go to the final part: The toast.
3) Closing or Toast of the wedding officiant speech
To close your speech, briefly review the main points that have shaped it. This will let your audience know that the speech is coming to an end.
If you are already at the meal or dinner, if its during the ceremony, don’t end with a toast, invite people to raise their glasses to toast the happy couple. But if you make a toast, its always easiest to end with a “long life and love to the bride and groom!”
The toast can be any one of these:
“May you be very happy and may we see it!”
“Long live the bride and groom!”
“I propose a toast to love, laughter and friendship, cheers!”
How to become a wedding officiant:
The Wedding Officiant Directory is a top resource online for any couples searching for officiants, and for information and advice to help officiants start and grow their businesses.
Whether you’re looking to perform a wedding ceremony just for fun or a rewarding wedding officiant career, this is the first place you must visit.
Now if you want to do it yourself, this what you need:
Be sure its legal by calling the registrar office in the state you want to perform the wedding ceremony.
They will guide you step by step with all the paperwork, like your marriage license and anything else that you legally need in order to become a wedding officiant.
Don’t forget all the other paperwork, like your marriage license, among other things you’ll be asked to provide.
In the US, marriage laws are governed at the state level, not the federal level.Here’s a list of who can officiate wedding ceremonies by US state.
A Wedding officiant near me
Have you ever wondered: Where do I find a wedding officiant near me?
You can search for the best local wedding officiant in your area by pricing and availability to plan your dreamed wedding ceremony.
A Wedding officiant cost
Do you want to know how much it costs to hire a wedding officiant?
Wedding officiant prices and costs will always vary according to the person who acts as officiant. An intern minister or retired judge may charge $100 to $200; while an experienced church minister or a professional celebrant might charge $200 to $400 or more.
You can find all these wedding officiant fees by simply going online through all the marketplaces mentioned before, and speaking directly to the person you choose to officiate your marriage.
At the end of the day, choosing the perfect wedding officiant for your marriage will be another piece of the foundation on celebrating an unforgettable day with your partner and the people you care about the most. So whether it is a spiritual leader from your place of worship, a beloved family member, or a civil servant from city hall, go with what feels best for your and your future spouse.