Choosing the right officiant is important because, although a small percentage of your budget, he or she will have a huge impact upon your wedding. 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.).
Nevada will not easily accept the credentials of visiting ministers (see requirements, click here and here). Friends or relatives will not be able to solemnize (conduct legal) marriage ceremonies without Nevada’s prior approval. Please click here to see if the officiant you are considering is authorized to conduct marriage ceremonies in Nevada. Contact the Clark County Clerk if you don’t see an officiant in the Secretary of State’s list, need to verify an officiant, or wish to obtain officiant authorization.
Know what you’re looking for; and once you are confident that you’ve got a good grasp of the qualities you’ll be relying on, collect names to check out your potential officiants. Most wedding websites can help you (but remember that they are advertising, not endorsing). You might also ask friends and wedding professionals for recommendations. Review each officiant’s website. Remember, at this point, you’re making a candidate list rather than choosing the final person.
Phone your candidates to conduct short interviews. You probably already have a tentative favorite. Contact this person first. Don’t feel you must interview every candidate before booking. Calendars fill up and you don’t want to lose your first choice to someone else.
To set the tone of your big day, explain your expectations. Let your beliefs and values be known. Look for an officiant you’re comfortable with. Be certain the officiant is licensed to perform weddings in Las Vegas (Clark County), Nevada, and then consider asking these questions in the interview:
Looking for a Good Fit:
- How much experience does the officiant have with what you are planning, and will he or she stick to what you intend?
- 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)?
- 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? Think of your pictures. You may want to specify style or colors, or ask the officiant to wear or not wear ministerial robes.
- How long will the ceremony take? This is critically important information for your venue, photographer, caterer, etc.
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?
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? Is the deposit refundable? 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 backup 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?
- Are you confident that the officiant will not draw attention towards himself or herself, away from you?
- 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.