Many couples are tying up plans for their 2011 weddings, before the 2010 holidays are over. Here are some tips and questions to help you find your perfect wedding officiant.
1. Celebrant’s Background. The qualifications one must meet to become an officiant vary from state-to-state. In many cases, those who meet a legal standard of being able to perform ceremonies don’t have specialized training in disciplines appropriate for creating a fabulous ceremony. Don’t be afraid to ask about the Celebrant’s education and training. And if you have concerns about his or her legal status to perform ceremonies, you may certainly ask to see a copy of your officiant’s credentials.
2. Consultation & Creative Process. What is the step-by-step process that the Celebrant uses in writing the ceremony? Will you see a full draft of the ceremony before your big day? If you are dissatisfied with the draft, will the candidate revise it?
3. Sample Work. It is not unreasonable to ask about seeing copies of ceremonies of that the Celebrant has prepared for other couples. You wouldn’t pick food for your reception without a tasting—you needn’t select someone to write your ceremony without looking at the product either.
4. References. While many Celebrants have “endorsements” on their websites and in brochures, if you would like to speak with couples that the candidate has worked with—don’t shy away from asking for a personal reference.
5. Individualized Attention. Some Celebrants are interested in quantity over quality. Will your ceremony be personalized to tell your story or will it be a “cookie cutter” ceremony recycled over and over again? Is the Celebrant willing to work with you in co-creating the ceremony?
6. Rehearsal. Will this person be available for a rehearsal the day of the wedding or even before? Is there an additional charge for that?
7. Back-up. Most of the time, there isn’t a problem with an officiant honoring a commitment on the day of a ceremony, but emergencies do come up from time-to-time. Does this person have appropriate back-up available at a moment’s notice?
8. Flexibility. Is the Celebrant willing to work with you in creating a ceremony, based on your time and availability? Is the candidate willing to meet you between the “interview” and the ceremony, if you wish? Will the Celebrant cooperate with your other vendors—wedding planners, reception managers, musicians, photographers?
9. Follow Up. What are the procedures the candidate follows in filing appropriate legal paper work, such as using a certified mail procedure or a delivery system with a tracking number? Will she/he forward copies of papers filed with various government offices? Will the Celebrant provide you with a copy of your ceremony after your big day?
10. Additional Fees. If travel is necessary for the Celebrant to reach your ceremony site, will she/he charge for transportation costs? Will this person require an overnight stay if the wedding is a considerable distance from home?
Most of all…… Do you feel a sense of personal connection when you speak to the Celebrant? Does she have passion about ceremony-making? Do you find that the Celebrant is excited about the prospect of working with you? Does the candidate appropriately “get” that it is an honor to participate in one of the most meaningful days in your life?