Once you have a date in mind, it’s time to find an official to perform the ceremony. Most civic and religious officials have busy schedules, so check the availability as soon as possible. Learn what questions to ask before you hire your officiant.
A clergy is one who is ordained to perform pastoral functions. Marriages can be performed by any member of the clergy including a priest, pastor, minister, bishop, and rabbi. Marriages may also be performed by a judge, magistrate, justice of the peace or other licensed public officials such as clerk treasurer or clerk of the circuit court.
Each state governs the rules and regulations of marriage. Individual states will dictate who can be licensed to perform marriages as well as other marital and licensing requirements. See state marriage laws and requirements for more info.
An officiant serves as a leader of a ceremony. As you can see above, they come in many forms. An officiant may council the couple before and after the ceremony. He or she will also fill out the necessary paper work to make the marriage legal.
Inquire about any requirements or restrictions that the officiant may have regarding his services. If you intend on getting married elsewhere, see if he can perform an off-site ceremony. Ask whether pre-marital counseling is a requirement or optional. Either way, it may be a good idea to have a few sessions.
Before finalizing your decision, check out the church policies. See if there are any ceremony and reception guidelines or restrictions. Here’s a list to get you started.
- Fees & donations
- Readings & vows
- Pre-marital counseling
- Church policies & fees
- Decorations & aisle runners
- Flowers & rice/bird seed
- Music restrictions