Unless you grew up in the church you’re getting married in, or you already have a friend picked out, then you might wonder how to find ceremony officiants. Fortunately there are plenty of places to look, so you won’t have to worry about finding wedding officiants that fit perfectly into your big day.
The best place to find a secular officiant is Justice of the Peace. If you visit the county clerk’s office you will find a list of Justices of the Peace who are certified for wedding ceremonies.
Give your City Hall a call and make an appointment if you’d like to get married asap, and without any bells or whistles.
Relative or Friend
The choice to have a friend or relative marry you is a trend that’s growing in popularity because it’s the most personal out of all your choices. A lot of couples feel more comfortable having someone near and dear marry them. If you want a friend to marry you who has not been ordained, then have them get a one-day designation of Deputy Commissioner of Marriages for only $35. For friends who are ordained, their certification may not be recognized by your state, so double check before your wedding day.
It’s also common for couples to get married by a priest that one or both of them have known for a long time through their church. For example, the same Priest that gave the bride or groom First Communion or Confirmation. Regardless of which house of worship you belong to, it’s important to make sure you are comfortable with the officiant you choose to marry you, since each person has a varying style, pace, and personality.
Along with your groom and your wedding party, your wedding ceremony officiant plays an integral part of the biggest day of your life. It's important to do your homework and feel comfortable with the person marrying you, and that he or she knows you as a couple. This way, your wedding ceremony has a more personal feel. But how do you decide on an officiant?
- You first need to determine if you are having a religious or secular wedding. If you are getting married in a church, you do not necessarily need to be married by a clergyman, priest, or pastor, but a church or local Justices of the Peace should be able to recommend a good wedding ceremony officiant. (Personal recommendations are always preferred).
- Meet with him or her in person and remember to ask important questions. Some questions that may be applicable: Can we write our own wedding vows? Can others participate in the wedding ceremony (such as friends or family who are not religious?) What is the nature of the address you typically prepare (it is highly scriptural, formal, or casual?) Do you focus on wedding ceremony traditions such as communion or the lighting of candles? Or do you allow some flexibility as far as readings and/or music?
- Get an idea of his or her personal speaking style. Ideally, it would be best to attend a gathering that this particular wedding ceremony officiant does to get an idea of his speaking skills. If this isn’t possible, make sure to ask for references and other recommendations. Remember to go with your gut instinct about a person.
- Also, try to speak with at least three potential officiants before making your final decision.
While most couples have a traditional clergy person or justice of the peace marry them, some couples prefer having a close friend or relative take care of the honors. While you probably can’t go this route if you’re having a religious, formal ceremony in a house of worship, it’s a perfectly acceptable idea for a more casual affair, like a backyard or beach wedding. The most common reason couples decide to have a loved one make it legal is the feeling of closeness you get from someone you know personally, especially someone who’s been a wonderful friend for years.
Click here to learn more about this lovely tradition, including the legal requirements.
We just posted a new article about finding your wedding officiant in L.A.! It's the latest update to our Los Angeles Wedding Guide!
Check it out!
And check out our other regularly-updated local wedding guides as well: New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. We're adding new articles to them all this week!
We just posted a new article about finding your wedding officiant in Chicago! It's the latest update to our Chicago Wedding Guide!
Check it out!
And check out our other regularly-updated local wedding guides as well: New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. We're adding new articles to them all this week!