You’re planning undoubtedly what is one of the most important days of your life. The wedding ceremony sets the tone for the wedding and your celebration. You want it to be personal and memorable and to commemorate the love you’ve found. You probably also want it run smoothly and to make sure it is legal and without any hiccups before, during or after.
In many states it is relatively easy for anyone to legally officiate a wedding, but should they? Memorable can be amazing or pretty awful.
It might seem there isn’t much of a difference between using an amateur or hiring a professional, but there are some major advantages to hiring an experienced professional to perform your wedding ceremony.
5 Important Considerations
Someone who officiates weddings as a minister, notary public or justice of the peace has likely performed countless ceremonies. They bring the necessary knowledge, experience, and skill to help you create a top-quality ceremony, including assisting with your vows, and to deliver it with poise and grace. Ask any wedding planner, photographer, or videographer whether they prefer to work with an amateur or a professional officiant and they will tell you the same thing: definitely hire a professional. Here’s why:
The chief reason to hire a professional officiant is experience. The more experience someone has at performing wedding ceremonies, the better equipped they are to deliver a high-quality performance in the midst of an unpredictable, unscripted environment. Performing a wedding ceremony isn’t as simple as reading from a piece of paper, and many amateurs get thrown off by the near-constant distraction of mumbling guests, crying children, flying planes, birds, bugs, moving vendors, etc. A professional officiant has a level of comfort that comes only from experience, and can maintain a state of calm and focus despite changing or unforeseen circumstances.
Since a professional officiant has the benefit of experience, they can also offer knowledge and guidance that you simply can’t get from an inexperienced amateur. A professional can advise you on the proper length for your ceremony, any potential logistical challenges you might face at your venue, different options and formats for your vows and wedding traditions to incorporate into the ceremony based on your unique circumstances. You can also get answers to many questions an amateur wouldn’t even know to ask. Your wedding ceremony is a life-changing and memorable display of your love and commitment. It is also your guests’ first impression and sets the tone for the rest of the celebration.
Any professional officiant will tell you that one of the biggest benefits to hiring a professional, and one of the biggest drawbacks to using an amateur, is reliability. We get calls all the time and hear stories about couples who either hired a low-grade officiant on Craigslist who flaked on them at the last minute, or from couples who planned on having a friend officiate but who now has cold feet or doesn’t feel comfortable doing their ceremony. These all too common scenarios can be very stressful for a couple – especially when they happen weeks or even days before their wedding. A professional officiant understand the commitment they make to every couple that hires them, and he/she takes that commitment seriously as a matter of professional integrity. Even in the event of an emergency, a professional will have a back-up plan.
When couples decide to use a friend or family member or even church-based clergy to perform their ceremony, they give up a lot of control. Consider how awkward it would be to have a friend write a terrible ceremony and have to address this with them or to be surprised by it on your special day. Or, the overly preachy sermon that goes on infinitum you never asked for and really has nothing to do with you personally. When you hire a professional officiant you have the ability to create a custom ceremony that puts your love story to words with just what you want included and nothing you don’t.
Legal Process & Compliance
A professional officiant is familiar with city, county, or state laws and will ensure they are in compliance regarding the ceremony and filing the paperwork. Some professionals serve as Clerk of Court Coordinators and can apply for the marriage license remotely for destination couples in Florida. Additionally, a professional officiant can advise you on the process of changing your name following the wedding.