Reader Question: A friend of mine just asked me to officiate at her wedding in June, and I thought this might be a good question for your blog and your readers. I want to be the best possible officiant. Of course I will ask my friends how I can do that, but for readers who've already gotten married, what advice do you and your readers have for the officiant? I'm glad I have until June to compile readings, suggestions, ideas, etc. And glad I still have connections in the wedding-blogging world to whom I can direct these questions! :)
Yes! Let's talk about officiants! I would love to contribute to the sparse dialogue about this meaningful aspect of wedding planning...
My Advice for How to Be a Good Officiant:
- Generate a List of Planning Questions: Planning a wedding can be a stressful undertaking (is that an understatement?), and it can help if the officiant takes a proactive role in guiding the planning and execution of the ceremony. If I were officiating a friend's wedding, I would generate a list of questions such as: What is your vision for your wedding ceremony? Do you want to revise a pre-existing script or write an original one? What kind of tone do you want me to set as an officiant? What is your ideal deadline for finalizing the ceremony? How often and when should we meet to work on it? What kind of clothes do you want me to wear? Do you want me to coordinate the rehearsal? How else can I help? If you anticipate that your friend may be unsure or indecisive about any of these questions, it might be extremely helpful to come up with a few options to present to the couple.
- Start Meeting with the Couple: Ceremony planning should be a priority. The earlier you can start meeting with the couple, the better. Bring your list of questions, but let the couple decide the ultimate direction of the meeting. Then, just listen and take notes!
- Remember Your Role Is to Serve: As an officiant, it is your role to help the couple execute whatever wedding they feel represents them. Even though the traditional wedding ceremony places the officiant in the center, ultimately, the officiant is more of a facilitator.
- Pick Someone Who Knows You: The most meaningful and sincere wedding ceremonies I've seen usually have an officiant who truly knows the couple (or at least one partner).
- Decide What Kind of Ceremony You Want: Start with a vision for what kind of wedding you want to have and then pick an officiant who can help you reach that vision. And don't be afraid to pick an officiant who truly embodies the kind of ceremony you want, regardless of what disapproving family members may say.
- Start Early: It's easy to put off the planning of the wedding ceremony because it's hard. It's a lot easier to dwell on flowers or shoes. But don't let yourself procrastinate too much! The ceremony is the heart of your wedding. It's the proclamation and cementation of your marriage.