How to Choose a Wedding Officiant


The wedding officiant plays a huge role in your big day, so it is important to choose the right person. If you’re figuring out who to select as your wedding officiant, here is some useful information that will lead you towards your perfect match.


Religious Ceremonies: Religious Leaders

Before starting the process of choosing an officiant, you need to know if you are having a religious ceremony with a religious officiant. Of course, if you’re getting married in a place of worship, there is a good chance you’ll be required to use a religious leader associated with that organization. This means you might have a select few potential officiants to choose from.

However, if you aren’t getting married in a place of worship but would like to have a religious component in your ceremony, you’ll have a few more options – which can be daunting for some. You can start by seeing if there is someone available from your local place of worship, or the one you went to when you were younger. If you’re getting married out of town, a leader from the area’s place of worship may be able to serve as your officiant. Couples from different religious backgrounds may consider using an interfaith minister, or even having two religious leaders serve as officiants.

Regardless of where you’re getting married, as you are meeting with potential officiants, you’ll need to ask them a few key questions to get to know their work style and personalities. This person will be a big part of your day, so you’ll want to make sure you choose someone who meshes well with you and your partner, as well as the type of ceremony you’re going for.


Secular Ceremonies: Civil, Celebrant, and Secular Officiants

If you aren’t having a religious leader serve as your officiant, you’ll need to decide whether you want someone you know to officiate your wedding, or if you’ll want a civil or professional wedding officiant that you don’t know. A professional officiant typically caters to secular or spiritual weddings, whereas civil officiants are people in government roles who are legally able to perform marriage ceremonies. Depending on the state, this may include justices of the peace, mayors, notaries, and judges.

These types of officiants typically have been through this process before (particularly if they are professional officiants). They know the processes behind making the marriage legal in the ceremony and completing the marriage license. This officiant will also have experience talking in front of a crowd, and will have an idea of how to work the story of your relationship and your personalities into the ceremony.

The one obvious downside is that this person won’t know you as much as family members and friends. Keep in mind, however, that wedding officiants will typically spend time with you before the wedding, so you won’t be complete strangers. As you are meeting with potential officiants, ask them these key questions to get to know them better and see if their style and personality is a match for your wedding.


Secular Ceremonies: Someone You Know

Of course, the benefit of having someone you know serve as your wedding officiant is that they have a clearer understanding of who the two of you are. For many couples, it is also more meaningful to have a close friend or family member up at the altar with them. If you have a person or a few people in mind who have the right personality for the job (and are comfortable public speaking), this can be a great choice.

However, there are some potential drawbacks you need to keep in mind when deciding if you want someone you know to serve as your officiant. A friend or family member will have to get ordained if they aren’t already, and will also have to complete and mail the marriage license after the ceremony. They also will need to put in some time and effort into creating the ceremony and rehearsing it.

When it comes down to it, officiating isn’t an easy job, even if you’re having a fairly simple and straightforward wedding. If you’re choosing a family member or friend, you need to ensure they are up to the task. When talking to someone about the possibility of officiating, be very clear about what will be needed from them, and the expectations you have for your wedding day. You want to choose someone who is not only willing to take on the role, but also able to commit to the time and effort it takes.


If you are in the process of planning your wedding, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You will have the chance to meet with professional wedding vendors of all talents who can help bring your vision to life!


Georgia wedding vendors, as well as other wedding professionals across the Southeast, can contact us about opportunities for exhibition and online marketing with Georgia Bridal Show.