10 Questions to Ask Your Officiant

Coordinate with your officiant to ensure a trouble-free wedding

By Tiesha Whatley

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Although the reception is where the most fun is had, the ceremony is the most important part of the wedding day. Meet well in advance with the officiant candidates to go over what is required from both parties. Any suggestions you may have for the ceremony should be discussed upfront so that you can have the wedding day you dreamed of, and not some nightmare version you'd rather forget. It will also give the officiant the opportunity to discuss any requirements he or she may have before presiding over your wedding.

Pre-wedding requirements

Ask the officiant if there are any pre-wedding requirements you need to take care of. Many religious leaders require that you undergo a certain amount of pre-marriage counseling before agreeing to preside over your wedding. This is usually for peace of mind, so that they know that you are indeed ready for the commitment that you are about to make. Look at it as a good thing, because it can help your relationship in the long run.


The officiant's schedule is critical to a well-run ceremony. It allows you to know how tightly you must plan the ceremony and events leading up to it. be sure to ask when the officiant will be available for rehearsal. Getting a sense of how much time you have will allow you to schedule your ceremony and the rest of the day's events. Also find out how tightly your wedding is planned with other events the officiant has scheduled for the day. You want to make sure you have a few minutes leeway to make room for any tardiness or delays.

Personal ideas

Ask the officiant about his or her program for the wedding ceremony. Ask if your personal ideas or preferenes can be incorporated into the ceremony, such as specific readings,religious verses or songs. If you want something that departs from the norm, such as a candle lighting or broom jumping, make sure this is permitted and okay with the officiant well in advance.

Officiant's ideas

Ask the officiant if he gives some type of speech or a sermon. Will he talk personally about the couple, or will the ceremony be generic? This will allow you to get some idea how your wedding ceremony will go. Ask if you are allowed to give any suggestions for the officiant's speech or sermon. If you are the type of bride that wants to plan your wedding down to the last detail, these are important things to know before choosing an officiant.

Officiant's outfit

Ask the officiant what he or she will wear to the wedding. This may not seem important, but it could be when taking photographs. If you have an unorthodox or new age officiant, she could be very lax with her wardrobe. This can conflict with a very formal wedding. In that case work with the officiant to find a compromise or suitable solution.


Ask about the ceremony site. Find out if the officiant will be able to conduct the wedding at the site you have arranged for, or if you must have it in a specific location designated by the officiant or religious protocol. If you are undecided on a ceremony venue, maybe the officiant can recommend places to you.


If you are having the ceremony at the officiant's site, ask of any restrictions. Some churches or religious buildings doesn't allow flash photography, candle lighting, decorations or videography. Ask if your chosen music is allowed in the building or if you have to have music played by site staff, such as a church's organ plaer. Also ask if there is a certain dress code for the wedding party and guests.


Ask what equipment is provided by the officiant. If having the wedding ceremony at the officiant's site, ask the him or her what you will be required to bring, such as microphones and aisle runners.

Marriage license

Find out when the marriage license will need to be provided. If you need to bring it before the ceremony, you'll need to make arrangments or add it to your list of things to do. In many cases the officiant will take care of the certificate or license and take it to the requisite authorities, leaving you and your spouse to sign it at some point shortly before or after the ceremony.


Ask if there are any fees for the ceremony. If there is one, ask if this fee is fixed or a donation. Also find out when the fee is due and if there is a deposit that you must provide by a certain date.

About the Author

Tiesha Whatley is a contributor to

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Select or write vows

Your officiant will probably offer you and your groom vows to choose from, or if you're feeling creative, personalize your vows and make them just about you and your spouse-to-be. Consult with your officiant beforehand to make sure everyone is on the same page.

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Wedding Glossary


Vows from the Book of Common Prayer that a bride and groom repeat out loud to each other to express their love and commitment during the wedding ceremony.

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