Choosing an Officiant

Jade + Matthew Take Pictures, Fernbank, Bold American Events, Choosing an Officiant
Mr. Corey Friedlander | Jade + Matthew Take Pictures

In this busy and spirited season of merriment and festivity, I find myself reflecting on the year gone by with such gratitude and fulfillment.   The weddings I’ve had the privilege to partake in have been magnificent, with countless touching moments and people of inspiration.   The one I honor today is the person who stands with the marrying couple at that place between before and after ~ the ceremony ~ and sees them safely over.  

Photo by Virginia Reese

Rev. Melanie Vaughn-West | Photo by Virginia Reese

In a year of planning, it’s easy to get swept up in flowers and dresses and tastings and glamour.  And rightfully so ~ you’re creating the wedding of your dreams, so take every opportunity to indulge and enjoy!  But there is also something quite special about being able to choose the person who will marry you.  It wasn’t long ago that most couples were wed in a house of worship with little to no choice of who would perform the ceremony.   Now, with so many weddings taking place at beautiful venues of all manner, the person at the heart of it is a thoughtful decision to be made.

Some of the most moving ceremonies I’ve seen have been delivered by a close friend or family member.  It’s a wonderful way to go, and gives couples the chance to honor someone important in their lives by inviting them to take this role.  The reason a couple selects who they do may also carry a deeper meaning that will add resonance to the memories of the day.

Lily McGregor Photography

Mr. Curt Cloninger | Lily McGregor Photography

If religious tradition is important, a meaningful choice may be a spiritual leader who is close to the family, whether near or far.  I’ve seen officiants flown in from the far reaches, perhaps the rabbi from the bride’s childhood temple, or a teacher of divinity who influenced the couple during college.  Possibly the minister at the food kitchen where the groom volunteers, or simply the priest from his home church.  Most are able to perform ceremonies offsite, so if your church is important to you, start there.

There are also fantastic people who officiate weddings as part of their living.  They can be spiritual or secular, and can help you craft a unique ceremony that speaks to who you are as a couple.  Most will ask to spend time with you prior to the wedding to develop a rapport, and to help with aspects like vows and traditions you may want to incorporate.  For those who want the benefit of premarital counseling, many officiants include this in their service.  In fact some require it, so be sure to ask.

Cathedral of Christ the King

Jaimie Dee Photography

No matter who you choose to speak the words that will sanctify your marriage, make sure you take the time to think about the words he or she will speak.  When intelligence and tenderness and significance are written into your celebration, the ceremony can be one of the most memorable parts of a wedding.  Hearts will swell, tears will flow, and the life you begin together will be touched with reverence.