11 Questions to Ask an Officiant

Posted by Caitlin on Oct 25, 2013


Photo: Genesa Richards Photography

Like everything else on your wedding day, your ceremony should be a deeply personal experience that reflects both you and your significant other’s values and style. Whether your ceremony is religious or not, having the right person to guide you toward a ceremony that’s special and meaningful is crucial. Check out WeddingWire’s vendor reviews to find officiants near you, then use these questions to help guide your initial discussion.

1. Are you free on my wedding date? Obviously, you’ll need to make sure that the person can perform the wedding on your big day.

2. Do you only perform weddings at a specific venue (house of worship) or will you be able to come to my venue? Some officiants will only perform ceremonies in their house of worship, and won’t travel to other venues. If you want to have your wedding at a house of worship, this won’t be an issue, but if you’re planning on hosting a ceremony at a different location, this is an important question.

3. Are you licensed to perform a wedding in the state where we’ll be marrying? Your officiant should be ordained and licensed to perform marriages in your state.

4. How much do you charge? If you’re marrying in a church or house of worship, a couple will usually make a donation in lieu of actually paying the officiant directly. If the officiant works on more of a “freelance” basis, they’ll have a fee, plus any travel or other expenses.

5. How many times/how often should we meet before the wedding? This varies from officiant to officiant. Some require premarital counseling, others just want to meet once or twice before the wedding to discuss the ceremony.

6. How long have you been performing ceremonies? Find out about the officiant’s experience, and how many weddings he or she has performed. While this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, it’s good to know.

7. What do you love most about being an officiant? This is a good way to get a sense of the officiant’s personality.

8. How much can we personalize our ceremony? Would you allow us to write our own vows and incorporate readings? Some religious ceremonies are quite strict and may not allow much customization, but other ceremonies are a bit more flexible.

9. How long does a ceremony typically take? For planning purposes, it’s good to know how long your ceremony will be – it can vary greatly from officiant to officiant.

10. Can you provide a sample of a ceremony you did for another couple, either in writing or on video? Get a sense of what a typical ceremony looks and sounds like. How much input did the couple have? Did it feel personal and special?

11. What happens in case of an emergency? Make sure that there is a backup plan in case the officiant gets sick or there is some other unforeseen issue.

Pink Vintage-Inspired Summer Wedding in Washington

Posted by Caitlin on Oct 21, 2013

Rachel & Austin

July 7 

Snohomish, Washington   


Q & A with the Bride:

1. What was the one thing about your venue that made you know it was the one?

The natural beauty. We loved that the venue was in the valley. There was so much natural beauty with the cascade mountains in the background and beautiful fields all around. It was so gorgeous! The reception area’s doors slid open so our guests could wander from outside to inside and enjoy the scenery. It was perfect.

2. Which three details from your wedding were your favorites?

1. Our favors – vintage looking skeleton keys whose teeth were bottle openers.

2. Our vases – Austin and I spray painted an assortment of mismatched vases from the goodwill in dover white. We used them for all of our centerpieces and down the aisle. Every table was different but the same!

3. Our photo booth – We had a wooden photo booth set up outside where our guests could pose and take pictures. We created a hashtag so they could upload them to Instagram to share. Those were fun to look at!

3. Give us the one moment in your wedding day you can’t stop thinking about.

The whole ceremony was magical. From the moment we were greeted by two monarch butterflies just before walking down the aisle to the part where we said “I do” and sealed our love with a kiss. It was full of so much emotion. It will stick with us forever!


Samara & Jeremy 

July 11 

Lahaina, Hawaii 


Q & A with the Bride & Groom: 

1. What was the one thing about your venue that made you know that it was the one? 

The big, beautiful exotic trees and the ceremony area right next to palm trees and the ocean.  It was such a perfect setting to walk down the aisle.

2. Which three details from your wedding were your favorites?

1. Our musicians – Shea Derrick and Full Flavor worked with us on which kind of music we wanted and played an eclectic selection of our choices and theirs, live!  They let us pick songs that they would learn and sing, and our guests were amazed since the covers sounded so awesome.  It was a mix between Shea singing, a guitarist, and a DJ, and they were fabulous!  

2. The food – Aloha Events catered and bartended.  We made a custom around the world menu with dishes from different countries we’ve traveled to.  The food was superb, and the staff was great!  

3. The cake – Maui Wedding Cakes designed a custom cake that looked like a mountain.  We ordered rock climbing figurines from MyWeddingDolls.com that were designed to look like us, which were placed on the cake as rock climbers.  Figurines of our two dogs were on top of the cake.  The designer used string for the climbing rope.  We gave her an extremely unique cake request, and she nailed it.

3. Give us the one moment in your wedding day you can’t stop thinking about.

Bride – Walking down the aisle and seeing my soon-to-be husband waiting for me.  The look on his face filled my heart with so much joy and love, and I knew I was feeling the same thing he was – overwhelming happiness to spend the rest of our lives together.

Groom – We secretly took dance lessons once a week for like 5 months.  We wanted a dance with big lifts and choreography that would blow our guests away.  We couldn’t decide between her choice, Pearl Jam’s “Love Reign O’er Me” and my choice, O.A.R.’s “Hey Girl,” so we decided to do 2 dances.  Our first one was for our first dance “Love Reign O’er Me” was formal and dramatic.  Much later in the night, we surprised everyone with another dance.  “Hey Girl” was swing and playful, and I lifted Samara over my head a few times.  So much fun.  We undertook a huge challenge, but it was my favorite memory.  No one expected a dance like that, let alone two dances!