Choosing Who Will Conduct Your Las Vegas Ceremony
Well, then, how can you make a good choice? First, be aware that there are a lot of “behind the scenes” things your officiant must do. These include the obvious (satisfying all legal requirements) and not so obvious (dealing with people’s emotions, handling unexpected circumstances, coordinating with vendors, etc.). Certainly you want someone who is pleasant, communicates well, and is easy to work with. You probably hope your family and guests will sincerely compliment you for who you’ve chosen. And, of course, you want someone who will look good in your pictures.
Once you know what you’re aiming for, collect names to check out. Most wedding websites can help you (but they are advertising, not endorsing). You might also ask friends and wedding professionals for recommendations. Review each officiant’s website. Contact them if you need more information. Remember, at this point, you’re making a candidate list rather than choosing the final person.
Discuss the qualities you’ll be shopping for. I’ll happily send you a list of essentials most brides insist upon. Give yourself plenty of time to think, adding or deleting names on your list as you go along. Look for someone who prices their services fairly – but don’t give up a lot to save a little.
- How much experience does the officiant have with what you are planning, and will he or she stick to what you intend? Note that some officiants are good in one setting but not in another.
- Is the officiant willing to give you the benefit of his or her experience of what has worked and not worked in the past, and then leave the final decision up to you?
- Will the officiant be reading from a script or speaking extemporaneously (from the heart)? Decide if you need to know in advance what he or she will say.
- Do you want a little humor in the ceremony? Will the officiant measure up to your style?
- What speeches or sermons does the officiant plan to give at your wedding (and why)?
- Is the officiant flexible? Are you confident that he or she will allow for changes as the wedding day approaches?
- Can you vary the traditional choreography of the wedding?
- What is the officiant’s attitude regarding your choice of songs, readings, traditions, and wedding attire?
Looking for Competence:
- What will the officiant wear for the ceremony? This may seem like a petty question, but it’s important for your pictures. The officiant should be putting your needs first! You may want to specify style or colors, or ask the officiant to wear ministerial robes. Clarify your expectations in order to prevent disappointments.
- How long will the ceremony take? This is critically important information for your venue, photographer, caterer, etc. Whatever you want, let the officiant know up front.
Looking for Comfort:
- How much information would the officiant like to have in order to speak personally at the ceremony? Is there a form for this purpose?
- Will the officiant be available to talk by phone as questions arise? Can you trust him or her if you just need someone to talk to about personal matters? If possible, find an officiant who is as helpful as you want him or her to be but not overbearing.
Looking at Cost:
- How much will the officiant charge for presiding over your ceremony?
- Does “booking” the officiant require a deposit and a signed contract? When is the balance due?
- Does the officiant offer or require a pre-wedding consultation? Is there a fee for their time?
- Are there any additional fees for travel, customizing the ceremony, filing the required legal paperwork, etc.?
- Does the officiant provide a back-up in the event of his or her emergency, and if so, whom?
Small, but Important Details:
- Do you like the officiant’s voice? His or her manner of speaking? Remember, the officiant will be communicating the special words and significance of your wedding ceremony.
- Is his or her speech free from pauses, “ums” and irritating phrases such as “you know,” “like,” and “OK.”
- Inform the officiant of any family conflicts that might affect the ceremony (divorce, remarriages, etc.) and ask if he or she can help make these situations easier to handle.
* Officiant (the person performing your wedding ceremony). Sometimes called the wedding: minister, pastor, celebrant, clergy, priest, rabbi, or Justice of the Peace.
The title “Rev.” refers to one’s ordination, while the term “Pastor” refers to a Rev. who is currently employed as the spiritual shepherd of a church.