9 Months Before The Wedding
So you’ve done your research and interviewed your potential officiants. Now’s the time to hire one and get the details for your ceremony finalized. You will breathe much better once you have this part of the festivities finalized. As the ceremony flow is such an important part of the big day, it can be stressful but you will feel so relieved when it’s all set. First things first—it’s time to finalize your wedding officiant and discuss the roles and flow of the ceremony itself.
If you are planning a religious ceremony, the flow of it may already be determined for you. There may be parts in which you have a little bit of flexibility and have the ability to insert some of your creative input, but the bulk of the ceremony will be decided upon for you. This makes planning much easier, but the only downfall is that you can’t really get too creative with the vows, prayers or music. This is when the personality of the officiant becomes especially important. You want to rely on their personality to keep the ceremony running smoothly and for them to keep things interesting and easy for guests to understand.
If you are planning your own unique ceremony, then you not only want to ensure you hire an officiant that you can work well with but determine the order of events and how it all flows. This is when you can get a bit more creative with the words and the music, but it will be on you to decide what the important elements will be. If you are selecting an officiant that is close to you but doesn’t perform weddings often, then you may very well have to walk them through the flow and discuss up front what is important to you as a couple. You are in the driver’s seat and you want to be sure that the ceremony is everything you envision it to be—after all this is what will make you officially a married couple!
The focal point of every wedding ceremony should certainly be the vows. This is the foundation of every ceremony and it is these words that bind you together as a couple forever. You can use some of the traditional vows or perhaps add in some words of your own. Just be sure that you are on the same page as the officiant for how these will play out and when they will be incorporated into the ceremony. Plotting out your ceremony well in advance can be helpful to you, the officiant, and everyone involved. Once this task is complete, you can relax a bit knowing that the ceremony is well handled.
One more thing, don’t forget to ask your wedding officiant, what will happen if they are sick or unable to make your ceremony. Do they have a backup, that can fill in for them on a moment’s notice. Do they recommend speaking with a second officiant that could serve as backup? Unexpected things happen and you don’t want to be in scramble mode the day before your wedding trying to find a replacement officiant due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.
10 Months Before the Wedding
The reception is the part of the wedding that most people think about as it’s the meal and party for all the guests to enjoy. However when you think about your wedding day, the exchange of vows and making your status as a married couple official is truly the most important part. The ceremony is truly what the day is all about and where you will become joined as a married couple for life. That being said, you want to choose all elements of your ceremony quite carefully. You want the music, any readings, prayers, and vows to be just perfect. This is what you will remember and will be what the whole wedding is based off of. You also want to be certain that the person marrying you is truly representative of how you want the ceremony to be.
If you are getting married at a familiar Church or synagogue then you are likely in luck. Perhaps you grew up in this parish and know the priest or rabbi well and have a rapport with him. This is the best case scenario, but should also require an initial meeting so that you understand the guidelines and flow of the wedding. This is also a good time for you to discuss expectations and any special requests with your wedding officiant. However if you are getting married at an alternative location or need to find your own wedding officiant, then you want to take the time to research and interview potential candidates. If you have no religious affiliation, this may make the task easier as you can have anybody marry you these days once they are registered in the state to legally wed you. If you are looking for a starting point to begin researching officiants, then you can visit a site such as Officiants.TV to watch videos of local officiants performing wedding ceremonies or to get matched to local officiants in your area that fit your criteria.
Whether it will be a religious ceremony or not, you want to take the time to properly research your options. This is a good time to ask around and see if you can find somebody recommended through word of mouth. If not, then asking the ceremony or even reception sites may be a good starting point. You want to consider personality first and foremost—is this potential officiant a match for your personalities as a couple as well as the ceremony you envision having? If you have any reservations then you may want to continue your search because the personality can be the most important factor in selecting the person that will officially make you man and wife.
As you are interviewing each candidate, be sure to discuss with them your options if for some reason they are unable to be there at the last minute. As much as you don’t want to think of somebody else marrying you, things come up and you want to know if they have a backup designated in a pinch. Though this is a worst case scenario you don’t want to show up at the ceremony site and find that there is nobody to marry you due to a family emergency or illness. Always have a contingency plan and if your selected officiant doesn’t have a backup, then you will want to locate one and keep them on hand just in case. This is important to discuss even with a Church or synagogue as emergencies can come up there too, so understanding the backup plan is just as important in this circumstance.
Once you’re at the interview phase and narrowing down your list of possible candidates, you want to walk through the flow of the ceremony, how they envision things working on the big day, and what your expectations are. It’s important to get all your expectations out on the table early on so that there are no surprises later on. Doing your research and having these important conversations early on can ensure you choose the right officiant for you as a couple, and that your ceremony will go off without any hitches.