A recent wedding industry survey by WeddingWire found that most couples choose their wedding officiant, on average, about three months before their wedding.
Based on that same survey, the wedding officiant was among the last of the vendors chosen, with only transportation ranking lower.
Couples: Are you seriously choosing your florist before the person that will make or break your wedding ceremony?
This finding exposes one of the biggest oversights in wedding planning: the most important part of the wedding experience gets the least preparation. That’s like starting to study for a test the night before. Don’t make that mistake!
The ceremony is the most special, and dare we say it, important part of the wedding day. Sure, everyone wants to throw a great party, but the parents and grandparents aren’t coming for the boozing and schmoozing: they are coming to witness your exchange of vows, to be a memorable part of your wedding day. They are coming to see you get married.
The key to making the ceremony a success is to ensure that there is enough of time to carefully choose, and work with, a wedding officiant. (And as always, make sure that your officiant is ordained though American Marriage Ministries to ensure that the wedding is legally valid.)
We recommend starting the process of choosing the officiant as soon as the wedding date and location has been locked down. If you decide on hiring a professional wedding officiant, you should plan to meet with as many as it takes until you find one that suits your needs as a couple, and will create a ceremony that is personal, unique, and meaningful.
And of course, we cannot stress enough that it's even more important to get a head-start if it’s the officiant’s first time performing a wedding ceremony. In this case, you want to make sure that your first-time officiant has enough time to get comfortable with the process and develop the script. If you are asking a friend or family member to perform your ceremony early in your planning stages, you give that person plenty of time to do the research that is necessary to prepare the best ceremony possible. It provides time for stories to surface, for narratives to be tuned, and for the love you share to properly be communicated through spoken word.
Whether you ask a friend or hire a pro, the more time you give your officiant, the more comfortable they will be, and the better their performance will be on the big day.
Couples: do yourselves and loved ones a huge favor and be sure to put “ask your officiant” at the very top of your wedding planning checklist!