Now that virtually anyone can become an “online-ordained” minister, couples often wonder why they should pay a professional Wedding Officiant. For most, funds are limited and anyone who goes to the movies knows that weddings can get very expensive.
So why not just ask Uncle Bob to get “ordained” online, and have money to spend on a few more margaritas when you get to Cancun?
This is a fair question. There’s plenty of unbiased evidence around that, when it comes to finding the right person to perform your wedding ceremony, as in most other areas of business, you get what you pay for. Sadly, most wedding professionals have heard horror stories about weddings that were total disasters because the bride and groom made choices based on price, alone. This is almost never a good idea. Your wedding officiant is a crucial part of your special day. This Officiant is the protector of the wedding ceremony, the person connected to you forever by sealing your relationship in the eyes of both the law, your family, friends, and God (if that’s your belief).
It has been said that “while your wedding Officiant may not make the ceremony, he or she sure can break it!”
I’ve done some asking around, and based on what I’ve heard and seen, and our own experiences, here are some pretty good reasons I’ve found for hiring professional wedding Officiants (specifically, officiants from Colorado Association of Wedding Officiants), and letting Uncle Bob enjoy the wedding from the audience:
Flexibility. Let’s say, you decide to totally change the ceremony 15 minutes before the scheduled start time. You decide you want to write the entire ceremony yourselves. The bride decides she wants her dad to read a traditional blessing…in Romanian! The groom has a falling out with his Best Man at the last minute. A groomsman faints during the ceremony (you told him not to lock his knees). Your friend, that was supposed to officiate your ceremony, drinks too much the night before and tells you the day of that he’s out!
After performing 1000’s weddings, there’s not a whole lot that we haven’t seen. When things start to go sideways, a professional Wedding Officiant will know how to keep it all from falling apart. How would your Uncle Bob do?
Personality. Your wedding is, or at least should be, a celebration, a joyful and fun experience for everyone involved. Does the prospective Wedding Officiant have an easygoing nature, an upbeat personality, a good sense of humor? How about style, grace, and the ability to improvise? There is a unique difference between male and female officiants, most female officiants write beautifully romantic ceremonies with lots of attention to detail. Don’t be afraid to choose one of our incredible female officiants.
All of these attributes come in handy if something unexpected occurs during the wedding ceremony (and by the way, something almost always does).
Experience. Performing a wedding ceremony is more than just reading a script. It requires empathy, insight, inflection, and understanding of what you’re trying to say to your guests, and to each other. Anyone can read well with a bit of practice, but the professional Wedding Officiant can take the words you’ve chosen for your ceremony and give them life and resonance. A lackluster or inexperienced Wedding Officiant with a boring ceremony – like most of the weddings we’ve all been to – can leave everyone cold and uninspired. Here’s a little known fact…most clergy would rather not or cannot officiate weddings outside of their churches!
Patience. This should be a no-brainer. Things change, weddings start late, someone forgets the Unity Candle, couples get choked up and can’t get through their vows, kids won’t stop screaming. A professional Wedding Officiant will take this sort of distraction in stride, and become an island of tranquility in a sea of chaos.
Peace of Mind. This may be the best reason of all for hiring a professional Wedding Officiant: knowing all you have to do is make it to the altar (sometimes enough of a challenge by itself) and the person you’ve hired to perform your wedding ceremony will take care of the rest.
So, the bottom line: you should choose an officiant based on reputation, on service, on background, on experience, and always hire the best you can afford. The vendors you choose for your wedding ceremony and reception have a lot to do with just how successful (and stress-free) everything turns out.