Updated: Oct 30, 2018
When planning our wedding, Cameron and I discussed whether or not to hire a professional officiant, or if there was a friend or family member we could ask to officiate instead. We have attended weddings with both. And while we enjoyed the structure and tradition of weddings with a professional officiant, we were also drawn to the personalized touch of weddings where someone familiar with the couple officiated.
In the end, we chose to hire a professional officiant for our ceremony, and we are so glad that we did. If you are considering whether or not to hire a professional officiant or have someone you know officiate your ceremony instead, allow me to share why we decided to hire a professional to officiate our wedding ceremony, and why that was the best decision for us.
Professional Officiants Have Ceremonies Already Written
This gives you and your fiancé a starting point for your ceremony, instead of beginning from scratch. Our wonderful officiant Matthew, of Weddings with Spirit and Wit, had a preliminary outline of what he likes to include in each ceremony. From the “giving away” of the bride to the “I Do”s of the bride and groom, the outline he provided let us know what could be included, and in what order.
Once we knew what the ceremony could include, we were able to work with Matthew on personalizing the ceremony so that it reflected our love story. Writing our own ceremony would have been overwhelming to us, so it was helpful to have a professional officiant with countless weddings to draw from. We looked to him for suggestions, and were happy to have his input along the way.
They Have Suggestions for What to Include
Since a professional officiant is working from past experience and prepared ceremonies, they can guide you for what to include in your ceremony. We started from a basic outline and worked with our officiant to ensure the ceremony was personalized and meaningful.
Navigating the realm of wedding readings, unity ceremonies and vows is no easy task. Having a professional who has experience and a wealth of knowledge will point you in the right direction. Cameron and I did not want to write our own vows, but we did want a ceremony that felt personalized and heartfelt. So we worked with our officiant to include readings and personal anecdotes that would show our personalities and our relationship.
It Doesn’t Have to be a Huge Expense
One of the benefits that kept coming up with asking a friend or family member to officiate was that it would not be an added cost to our wedding budget. But of all of our vendors, hiring an officiant was the most reasonable expense. Professional officiants tend to have fair rates, and there is also some flexibility when it comes to what you are adding on to the ceremony, and whether or not they need to be present for the rehearsal.
They are Comfortable in Front of an Audience
Our officiant was at ease throughout the ceremony, and his confidence meant we were relaxed as well! We had what we considered to be a small wedding, but standing up in front of nearly 100 guests can still be overwhelming. Not to mention, there are already a bundle of nerves that can come with the wedding day! It was a definite plus that we had someone with a quiet confidence standing at the altar with us.
Friends and Family Members Can Focus on Being Guests
Asking a friend or family member to officiate your wedding comes with a lot of pressure, especially if they are getting ordained just for your wedding and have never officiated before. If you hire a professional officiant, it relieves your friend or family member of that obligation.
Weddings are a special, once in a lifetime event. Cameron and I wanted our friends and family members to be fully present at our wedding and enjoy being guests!
Your Ceremony Will Still Feel Personalized
Working closely with our officiant throughout the wedding planning process enabled us to have the best of both worlds. We had a ceremony with traditional elements that still felt heartfelt and personalized. We were happy to have found an officiant who valued our input and wrote a ceremony that included everything we were looking for.
There are definite benefits to hiring a professional officiant. With their expertise, you have a starting point for creating a ceremony that you can personalize. Your officiant will have suggestions for you, but you can (and should!) let them know what is important to you and your fiancé. Spend time working with them to create the ceremony you have envisioned. And when the magical day arrives, your friends and family can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ceremony!