I cannot stress how important it is to choose the right officiant for your wedding. Although most non church weddings are usually about 20 minutes in length, you want someone who is professional, provides you with support, resources and a uniquely personalized ceremony. Here are some questions to ask any potential officiants, as well as my own answers.
How many face-to-face meetings and how many emails are included in your fees? There are usually two meetings. The first one is a getting to know you one, where you decide if I am the right Officiant for your day. We also go over your plans for the ceremony and what legally has to happen for a marriage to occur. The second meeting is about 4-6 weeks prior to the wedding, to go over the ceremony so that the couple is comfortable with and happy, with what will be occurring. Emails are always welcome.
What happens if the bride is 30 minutes late, or if there is a substantial delay. Is there more cost involved? My experience has been that most brides are on time. Unless I have to leave to Officiate at another wedding (you would know that ahead of time), I am okay with a short delay. (10-15, or a brief weather delay) While nothing is written, most Officiants should be receiving further compensation for their time, should they have to wait over 30 minutes.
Do you attend the rehearsal dinner or wedding dinner? Most often it is generous of you to invite me to the rehearsal and or wedding dinner, but I usually gratefully decline.
Can we write our own vows? I strongly urge couples to write their own vows. That being said, I offer resources to get them started. Also most couples read these vows to each other off of cue cards. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, I can give them to you line by line… No need to add undue stress on your wedding day.
Can we add a ritual to the ceremony? (ie winebox love letters, sand ceremony, hand fastening) Rituals personalize a ceremony. You may have seen one you liked at another wedding, found one online or you may use my suggestions. Rituals are a great way to include parents and children in the ceremony and are always welcome.
Can we include our children in the ceremony? Our parents? Our pets? This is your day. If including children, parent or pets is important to you… no problem.
Is photography/videography allowed during the ceremony? Those restrictions are mostly up to you. I have no restrictions on professional videographers or photographers. I just ask that your guests refrain from taking pictures during your vows.
Is there a contract/letter of agreement to sign that commits not only you but the officiant to your wedding date and time? I do have a letter of agreement for both of us to sign. It commits you to my services and me to your day and time.
How long have you been officiating and who are you licensed through? You can verify this information at the Government of Ontario website where they list all licensed Officiants. I have been officiating since January of 2011. This will be my 5th season of marrying couples. I am licensed to perform weddings as an ordained member of Abba Ministries of Canada, based out of Halifax.
What happens if you have a medical emergency on the day of the wedding? While this has never occurred… knock on wood.. I have a couple good friends who are also Officiants and they would be able to pitch in should I need.
Do you require counselling prior to or after the ceremony? There is no pre or post wedding counselling required.
Are there restrictions on the time of day, location of ceremony or theme of wedding ? Not really. Should you want a sunrise or sunset wedding, or any time in between, if I am available I would be happy to accommodate your time. I have no restrictions on location… still waiting for the invite to Hawaii…. there are mileage charges for out of the city of London, but I enjoy the varied locations both indoor and outdoor that I have officiated at. As far as theme.. as long as the seriousness of your vows is not trivialized by a theme, there is no problem. It is your day and you should celebrate in your own unique and personalized way.
What does the Officiant typically wear, and how early before the ceremony do they come? I usually wear dress clothes that compliment the colours of your wedding. I do not wear any albs/stoles etc. I arrive at the ceremony about 30 minutes prior to the start time, to set up the license and register and to prepare myself to present the ceremony in a professional manner.
What is their fee for the ceremony you would like? Is there a deposit? When is the balance due? I have a few wedding packages. Most couples choose the “Traditional” package that is $350 which includes 2 in person consultations, rehearsal, taxes, resources and email support. There are weekday specials, as well as elopement packages. The marriage license is NOT included in any fees. I usually ask couples for a $100 deposit, which confirms not only their intent to hire me, but my intent to officiate on their day. The balance is due prior to the wedding day. Some couples like to pay it upfront, others part way through and other the night of the rehearsal. All of these options are fine.
Is a rehearsal included in their fee or extra? Yes the rehearsal is included in the fee, but only for the “Traditional Package” There are no other fees regarding my services.
How long is a typical ceremony and what is the process to put together the ceremony? Do we have choices of readings, music etc.? Most ceremonies I have conducted are about 15-20 minutes. It depends upon how many are in the wedding party, if there are readings, rituals or songs included. As a couple you are able to have a special family member or friend do a reading (i.e. poetry or scripture) and you can choose music that you would like for the Entrance, Signing the License and Departure. Music can be live or dj or ipod, totally up to you.
Get to know your Officiant, they are an important part of your day.