04 Nov 2016
So What Does your Officiant do to Earn their Fee?
As a professional wedding Officiant, I truly love working with couples in designing and officiating their ceremonies. I take this responsibility as a sacred commitment, and want you to know I will work to make your day a special event you will remember.
Serving as your officiant is more than just performing the ceremony and pronouncing you married. It is the entire process of working with you so YOUR wishes and plans are carried out effectively, calmly and with joy. Most couples don’t even remember the day of their ceremony because they are so anxious. My job is to make sure your worries about this special day are at a minimum so you can relax and attend to the reason you are standing in front of me – making a commitment to each other.
For most people, I am sure very little thought or effort goes into this aspect of your wedding day. The wedding ceremony creation and execution is a niche, specialty job. How often does one get married? How much time do you spend thinking about the content of your wedding ceremony? I think about wedding ceremonies every day, because it is my job. I spend an average of 15-20 hours with each couple working on their ceremony often starting a year in advance, which can include the following:
– initial contact and phone calls
– consultations – initial meeting and any follow up meetings that are needed
– scheduling appointments – emails, phone calls
– preparing the contract and sending required materials
– preparing and managing the data sheet with all pertinent information
Co-creating the Ceremony
– working with you to design and finalize your ceremony, vows, readings, etc.
– meeting with you, your parents to review and discuss the ceremony
– providing resources to help you design and complete your ceremony
– research and preparation for particular non-traditional ceremonies;
– ceremony prep, drafts, proof-reads, approvals, updates, modifications, last
minute changes, re-approvals, formatting, and printing
– prep time to make sure that I am familiar with your final ceremony so that it
flows and I’m not just reading it during the ceremony
Rehearsal and Pre-ceremony
– logistical trips to check out the venue and their ceremony set up, so I can better serve you (especially if I am not familiar with the venue).
– contacting you to ensure time, location and other data is still correct
– travel time + mileage to and from rehearsal and the wedding; gas
– coordinating rehearsal and last-minute changes
– arrival at least one hour before ceremony to make sure all last-minute issues are
– providing solutions for wedding-day “situations”: safety pins, hygiene products,
spot cleaner, wire cutters (yes we have needed them!), matches, tissues for moms and
couple during the ceremony and many other items!
– checking with DJ and photographer before ceremony.
– taking care of any guest issues that may arise
– making any special announcements
– helping to make last-minute decisions in case of delays or other problems
– set-up sound system so I and you can be heard.
– performing ceremony (the easiest part!)
– signing and mailing out your legal documents
– any follow-up requests: photos, reception, blessing, etc.
A professional wedding officiant is equal parts emcee, etiquette advisor, coordinator, script-writer, organizer, frayed nerve-soother, shoulder to lean on and legal resource.