I reached out to Sarah de la Fuente of Central Ceremonies to ask her about the “Five Best Things a Couple Should Look for When Hiring an Officiant”. I have have the distinct honor of knowing and working events with Sarah for over 25 years. She was the one who broke me of the northern “you guys” when I moved here in 1996 to say “all Y’all”. If you argue with me that you are the biggest Harry Potter fan, I will have to disagree with you because Sarah is.
Many of her points are applicable to how a bride should select all of her vendors. Embrace her words of wisdom and when she says Y’all, she means it:)
1.First of all, please hire a professional officiant. Y’all! Wedding (a verb!) is the core of what you are doing. The party is nice, the food is delicious, the flowers are beautiful, the photos will preserve this moment for perpetuity. But you do all of that as punctuation around the big event: your wedding.
So, would you really ask your uncle or friend to create, mark, speak into the gravity of getting married? (Did you ask your aunt, the gardener to be the florist? Or your friend with the new iPhone to snap the pictures? I am guessing not). Presumably this is a big deal. Hire a professional. We get that might be us, or not. It might be one of our colleagues. But please choose someone who can personalize your ceremony, cares about getting to know you, speak into your relationship, and understands the nuances and rhythms of a wedding ceremony.
When you interview them, ask about their training. Ask why and how they do what they do. Ask how they define marriage and their role in creating one. Ask about how they manage the logistics of a rehearsal and ceremony.
2. Hire someone who understands this isn’t about them. This seems obvious, but apparently isn’t. The officiant is not there for entertainment. They are not there to emcee. Your wedding is about you. Find someone who knows how to hold space, but keeps the focus on you and what you are doing. Pay attention to what they want from you. Do they ask about you? Your relationship? Do they want to hear about your life? They should care about you, and not about getting a job done or about spotlighting themselves in the process.
3. Hire someone creative. Most couples have no idea what to ask about or ask for in an officiant. That’s ok! Hire someone who can fill those blanks in for you. Do they ask about what kind of ceremony you want? Do they offer options not just in how you write a ceremony, but the unspoken elements of a ceremony such as how you move, what they will wear, or even how to interact with your wedding attendants and guests?
4. Hire an officiant with vision. Sure, you may only see them once in your life, but that moment is a big one. Do they offer (or even mention or think about) ways to live into your marriage vows? Do they help you dream and hope around your relationship? And what if you do want to revisit those wedding vows? What if you do need to talk? Have a naming ceremony for your children? Experience marital strife or trauma? How do they equip you to live not just into the wedding day, but into a lifelong commitment?
5. Do you click with them? This also seems obvious, but if you are not comfortable with them, you won’t be able to relax into the wedding. And hey – weddings are fun! You should enjoy and celebrate getting married! This is a celebration, not a dirge! And the officiant will be up in your space (we have the best seat in the house). So, find and hire someone who creates that comfortable, happy space for the two of you, and helps you enjoy this momentous occasion.
Rev. Sarah de la Fuente
512-844-9080 | www.centralceremonies.com