Published: Monday, Nov. 18th, 2019
Hey Couples: whether you are hiring a professional officiant, or asking a friend or family member to officiate your wedding, regular communication is critical. Your officiant’s job is to lead the ceremony, and the better you communicate with him or her, the more powerful and memorable your ceremony will be!
In practical terms, this means that a certain amount of communication between the couple and the officiant should be scheduled right from the beginning. Regardless of who you pick, make sure they are committed to regular communication. Make sure they understand their role -- which is helping to translate your vision into words.
We recommend that at the very least, have two meetings with your officiant.
Meeting #1: The first should be an initial meeting to discuss the basics of the ceremony – length, tone, timeline, etc. If you are working with a professional officiant, the initial meeting should occur right when/after you set your wedding date. (Ideally, at least nine months before the wedding date). If you have asked a friend or family member to officiate your wedding, then the meeting should happen shortly after that friend or family member says “yes” to performing the ceremony.
The reason the meeting should happen early is so that everyone is on the same page, and if not, changes can be discussed/made with time to spare.
We recommend meeting either in person or having a scheduled phone call, keeping the attendance list to just the officiant and the couple (no mothers, planners, friends, etc.). That way, you can freely discuss what you want, without worrying about what people will say. It’s your wedding, own it!
Both partners have to be on board with this. When we do a meeting with a couple, we require that both the bride and the groom (or both brides or grooms) attend. That’s because the ceremony being created should reflect both partners.
Have you ever been to a wedding where one partner was obviously not included in the process? It probably just felt like he or she was reciting a script, instead of speaking from their heart.
Meeting #2: The second meeting should take place three to four weeks out from the wedding and should include the officiant and either the bride or the groom, or both. Everyone can meet in person or plan together via a phone call, and doesn’t need to be anything formal or long. This is an opportunity to check in and make sure that the different parts of the ceremony are prepared and that everything is progressing as planned. If the couple are writing their own vows, they need to be ready by this point.
This pre-wedding meeting is also a time to make sure that the logistics involved in any of the main ceremony pieces are worked out. It’s a chance to ensure that the license has been picked up by the couple, etc.
In our opinion, this is the very minimal amount of communication that should happen - but we highly recommend more!
For most of you reading, this will be your first (or second) time tying the knot. We realize that many of you are learning as you go along, which is why there needs to be close communication.
And if you are a first-time officiant, there’s going to be a lot of questions. To learn more, pick up our ceremony creation workbook for our full recommendations and many other ceremony creation and delivery tips and best practices. Asked to Officiate - our popular guide to writing ceremony scripts and officiating weddings - takes all the guesswork out of the process and will ensure that you are a rockstar at the altar on the big day! Click here to learn more.
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