Choosing Your Officiant

Choosing And Working With Your Oregon Wedding Officiant

Seven points to think about


Your big day is approaching. Congratulations in advance on your engagement! While you’re mulling over the dozens of choices and decisions you need to make well before your wedding day, you should take some time to research, choose, and meet with your wedding officiant.

Don’t wait until the last minute to choose your officiant. You want to have time to ask around for recommendations, and find the person who you will feel comfortable in handling your ceremony. Use an Internet search engine to locate an officiant in your area. Most officiants have a web site that you can check for specifics about their services, as well as things they can or can’t do–such as performing marriages in churches, or performing same-sex marriages.

Most Oregon wedding officiants offer a free, no-obligation meeting to discuss your ceremony. This gives him or her a chance to meet you and your partner well ahead of time, both in order to get to know you, and to get an idea of what kind of ceremony you want to have. Following is a list of seven things you’ll want to cover at that initial meeting:

One. Wedding Location. Wedding officiants tend to work in specific geographical settings. Make sure your prospective officiant is willing to travel to your planned wedding location.

Two. Legal issues. Is your prospective officiant legally qualified to perform a marriage in your chosen location? Ask to see a current license and/or ordination documents.

Three. Ceremonial elements. Are there any problems with things you’ve already decided you would like included in your ceremony, such as inter-faith elements or traditions? Do you want children or pets involved in the ceremony, and, if so, does the prospective person work well with children and animals?

Four. Personality. The wedding officiant is one person you and your partner should definitely “click with” from the outset. Does your prospective choice have the right mix of humor, delivery style, and creativity that ensures that you’ll get the ceremony you’re looking for?

Five. Background and experience. Is the officiant connected to a specific church or faith? How long has she or he been performing wedding ceremonies? Does he or she offer a list of past clients as references?

Six. Fee and payment policy. Don’t forget that you are employing this person to deliver a satisfactory experience for you, your partner, and your invited guests. Before you agree upon a fee, be sure that all parties know what elements are covered in the fee. For example, will you expect the officiant to coordinate the wedding rehearsal? Is a deposit required to hold the date?

Seven. Backup. Does your prospective officiant work with a backup, in case of an emergency? Weddings are difficult to quickly reschedule, no matter what you’ve seen in the movies.

Once you’ve agreed to work together, get a working agreement in writing. A written agreement will let you, your partner, and the wedding officiant have a shared understanding of the wedding date and time, specific terms, a payment schedule for the officiant, and any other items you worked out during your initial meeting. It acts as a safety net for all concerned.

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