The Mindful Bride, Wedding Planner Tips from  The Wedding Officiant

 Throughout the wedding planning process most of the focus is on the dress, the menu, the flowers, the reception venue, the cake, and the honeymoon.  While these are exciting and important parts of getting married, there is less focus on who marries the couple, which is a very significant part of the ceremony and should be carefully considered.  A majority of couples know who will officiate their wedding before they even inquire, because the bride or groom has a family minister, pasture, or priest who they have known for many years.  In this case, it’s only a matter of availability, but not every couple fits this scenario.

Initially, the couple will decide if they desire a religious or secular ceremony.  This decision will determine largely who and where they can marry.  The location is typically not a limiting factor; however, some catholic priests will not marry couples outside the location of their church, so that needs to be considered if the couple desires an outdoor or destination wedding.  It is becoming more common that modern wedding officiants will perform both secular or religious ceremonies, and each to any varying degree of content.  While these services are becoming more popular, they are still not overly common and much more rare when outside large cities.

Depending upon who is performing the ceremony cost can vary, but the officiant service is not one of the more costly components of a wedding.  A simple civil ceremony typically ranges from $50 to $100.  The average cost of a minister or priest is around $250.  When a professional officiant is sought, they price increases and it usually depends upon the time investment of the officiant.  Most professional officiants offer a range of packages, from a simple economy package to a detailed, intimate, and more costly package.  The more expensive the package, the more time the officiant will spend on meeting with the couple, preparing the ceremony, and traveling to the wedding, which also involves the rehearsal and dinner.  Professional officiants typically range from $150 to $500.  They will offer the couple suggestions on wording, vows and readings, and, of course, they are responsible for mailing the marriage license to the county courthouse to be recorded, thus making the marriage legally binding.

While not part of the frills and glamour of a wedding day, the offciant is crucial for successful and special ceremony.  The ceremony that the officiant delivers is truly the heart of the event that the bride and groom will always remember.  So ensure that the wedding officiant is carefully selected to represent the couple’s relationship to their family and friends and, most importantly, to each other.