Wedding Officiant Duties
Duties and Responsibilities of a Wedding Officiant
Within the U.S. there exists a great amount of freedom for people wishing to perform weddings. Qualified wedding officiants vary from Priests, Rabbis and clergy to city officials, clerics or even celebration specialists. In addition, most states recognize anyone who is ordained online by the Universal Life Church and in good standing to be qualified to perform a wedding. Apart from making sure they have the necessary the qualifications, a wedding officiant should also understand everything that is involved in the process. Before they agree to perform a ceremony they should take into consideration their duties and responsibilities that come with it.
The duties of a wedding officiant vary depending on the couple and the ceremony and location. Each wedding ceremony is unique and should be treated as such by the person performing it. Usually, wedding officiants are chosen because they either know the bride and groom on a personal level, or they have been recommended to the couple by someone who thinks they are a good fit. Once a minister has been suggested, a written contracted should be drafted and a deposit should be made on the officiant’s services. During this exchange, the couple should express their expectations and clarify the role they want their minister to play. It is also a good time to discuss what the tone of the wedding should be, as the person performing the wedding will play a pivotal role in setting the stage for the entire ceremony.
The wedding officiant, upon agreeing to lead the ceremony, will need to check out the venue where the nuptials will be held. It is important for officiants to be familiar with the setting of the wedding so that there are no unexpected surprises on the big day. They will most likely want to conduct a run-through often known as a rehearsal. It is expected that once a minister is chosen to perform a wedding, he or she will follow through on this commitment and take great care in preparing all the necessary details for the wedding day.
There are several legal aspects that the wedding officiant is responsible for handling. The officiant will need to verify the legality of the marriage by examining state issued licenses and identification to be sure they he or she has all of the appropriate documentation to perform weddings. Many states require that ministers prove their ordination through a minister’s license in the form of an ordination credential, wallet card or letter of good standing. Once the ceremony is concluded, they will need to complete and file paperwork with the vital records division. Wedding officiants will need to make copies of the documents and make sure the bride and groom receive a keepsake copy.
The officiant performing the wedding can use information obtained from the bride and groom to write a personalized ceremony that makes the wedding unique and special for the couple. Knowledge of many different types of rituals is suggested for those wishing to perform weddings. If ministers have a broad understanding of many different ceremonies, they will be better able to plan one that matches the needs of the couple and their families. Some common wedding rituals include breaking the glass, lighting the unity candle, the marriage vessel and the rose, jumping of the broom, unity cup, family medallion, and Celtic and Pagan handfasting. Many couples may wish to incorporate their own wedding vows into the ceremony. Some couples may even ask the wedding officiant to write original vows for the ceremony All of these expectations should be discussed with the couple prior to the planning of the wedding to ensure that their wishes and desires are met.
Almost all wedding officiants will attend the wedding rehearsal. Their role at this time is to supervise the flow of the ceremony and offer suggestions if requested. This is a time for the officiant to practice delivery of their part of the ceremony. Most wedding officiants will find this time for ‘practice’ helpful for making adjustments to their own contribution to the ceremony. This is a time that the bride and groom can voice any concerns or suggestions they may have about the personalized touches the officiant has created for the couple.
Day Of the Ceremony
Wedding officiants should arrive ahead of schedule at the location of the ceremony to ensure that the couple are prepared and that the family doesn’t have any last minute questions. The theme and level of formality of the ceremony will guide the officiant in the attire they choose for the big event. Now is the time to double check the itinerary with the couple and put any finishing details on the ceremony.
Once the ceremony gets started, all eyes will be on the couple and the officiant. Ministers should speak clearly and be well prepared with what they will say. One way for officiants to make sure that they are fully prepared is to print out an itinerary and keep it with them for reference. The final, and possibly the most important job of the wedding officiant, is to announce to guests the legal joining of the couple and send them on the start of their new life together.
What to Charge
Officiants may want to check with other professionals in their area to determine an adequate fee schedule for their services. The Internet is also an appropriate resource for researching common fees in their geographical area. Mileage charges are a consideration that should be weighed when setting fees.