Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Officiant

In many situations, one of the couples getting married has known a clergy person for many years and it's a given that clergy person will be the person to marry them. If the wedding couple does not have a clergy person in mind then they might have to revert to an interview to find the right officiant for their wedding.

Often couples belong to a specific religious faith and need to find a clergy person in the faith in which they belong. However with many wedding couples, they may each belong to a different faith and need to some investigative work on which clergy can marry them.

The choices a wedding couple has of what person can marry them include a priest, a minister, a rabbi, an imam, a cantor, ethical culture leader, a judge, a court clerk, a sheriff, a notary, a justice of the peace, and a mayor. Also in some states, there are laws that permit a layman to apply for permission to become a Deputy Commissioner of Marriage for a specific day, thus allowing the officiant of your marriage could be a family member or a friend, but for your wedding day only.

If a wedding couple does not have a specific person in mind to marry them, in order to make their wedding special, after identifying the type of religious affiliation of clergy that can marry them, they are best to interview some wedding officiants and choose one they are most comfortable with. Someone they would love to stay friends with even after the wedding. The clergy they choose, should be one that both the groom and bride would be comfortable with and doesn't mind sharing their feelings with. They should choose a clergy that shares their sense of style for the wedding ceremony and the sermon and who uses the couple's thoughts and ideas as input to the wedding ceremony. The officiant's wedding ceremony should inspire the wedding couple, incorporate how they want to state their vows and the officiant's service should also have impact so all the wedding guests feel they are at an important event.

Attached are some ideas of questions a wedding couple might ask their officiant, add. alter or subtract questions depending on your wedding situation.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Officiant

1-Ask if the officiant has a business card and/or ask for the name of House of Worship for which they belong plus address, phone number and other contact information such as the website address?
2-Ask for the officiants name, phone number and contact information?
3-Let the officiant know any specifics you have for your wedding such as the targeted wedding date and if he/she is available for that date, and about the amount of the wedding guests you plan to have at the wedding and if you have any wedding ceremony or wedding reception places you have in mind?
4-How long has the officiant been performing weddings?
5-About how many weddings has the officiant performed? how many over the past year?
6-Must the officiant perform weddings at a specific place or can he perform a wedding at any wedding ceremony location such as a church, chapel, or beautiful location.
7-Is the officiant licensed to perform weddings in our state and in our city?
8-What type of background does the officiant have, how did he/she become an officiant?
9-How does the officiant prepare the wedding ceremony? speeches? sermons?
10-Does the officiant provide/insist on marriage counseling, is it optional or mandatory?
11-Does the officiant allow us to choose our own readings? provide our own readers? allow us to write our own wedding vows? any restrictions?
12-Is the wedding ceremony restrictive, follow special rules or can we participate in designing part of the wedding ceremony?
13-What is the officiant's spiritual beliefs? the bride and groom should share their spiritual beliefs, can the officiant honor your spiritual beliefs at the wedding?
14-Will the ceremony be religious, non-denominational, or secular?
15-Will the ceremony be traditional or non-traditional?
16-Can and will the ceremony include light-hearted humor?
17-If the couple has been living together, does the officiant have any problems performing the wedding ceremony?
18-What wedding attire does the officiant wear, is there specific wedding attire expected at the wedding of the bridal party?
19-How does the officiant work with other wedding vendors? photography restrictions? flash restrictions? videography restrictions? musician restrictions? decoration restrictions?
20-How does the officiant handle the playing of songs or music at the wedding, are we allowed to choose the music with the officiant's acceptance?
21-Are there different levels of service offered by the officiant?
22-On our wedding day, does the officiant read from a script or has the service memorized? do they only use the script or may they go ad hoc and say something extra?
23-Does the officiant use any special microphones during the ceremony?
24-How does the officiant plan to communicate with phone? email? text messaging? other?
25-Will the officiant handle the wedding rehearsal the day before the wedding? are there extra fees to work the wedding rehearsal or are they part of the overall fee?
26-How are fees handled with the officiant? is there a set price or is there a donation expected to the house of worship? when are the fees expected? are or might there be other hidden fees? are there travel fees? is there a security deposit needed? when is the security deposit required?
27-When should we expect the officiant to arrive at the wedding? when must the bridal party arrive before the time of the wedding?
28-Where and when should the marriage certificate or other papers to be signed?
29-The wedding couple should decide or not to invite the officiant and a spouse if there is one to the wedding reception, then ask, if there is room at the wedding ceremony can the officiant attend? if so, can the wedding give a prayer before the wedding?
30-If there are children involved in the wedding ceremony, does the officiant have creative ways to involve them?
31-What would be a backup plan if the officiant is unable to make the wedding ceremony from illness, death in their family, or something other? is there a refund or cancellation procedure?
32-How many meetings with the wedding couple are needed and how often would we meet to review the wedding ceremony?
33-Can we see the officiant perform live at another wedding? can we see the officiant give a sermon? can we see videos of the officiant on video?
34-Does the officiant use a specific contract? can we take the contract with us to look it over?
35-Can we get some referrals from other wedding couples in which you presided over their wedding?
36-Are there any wedding vendors you might recommend to us?

Officiants tend not to be as pushy as many other wedding vendors trying to get you to book with them, that is not to say there are a few pushy officiants out there. You should interview a few different officiants before deciding who to go with and get back them quickly, preferable within 10 days of your interview with them so they don't leave your wedding date open and unable to book another wedding for the date of your wedding. If you are happy with their performance, either leave them positive feedback on somewhere they would like such as their website, comments on a blog, or volunteer verbal feedback on "Youtube"

If you can't decide on which officiant to choose, you might refer to two posts back on how to score them to help you make a decision.

See you on the other side!

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