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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting Married? Know Your Officiants!

First things first, - ask the question; - religious or secular? (or "church or state?"). If you're going secular, choose a judge, justice of the peace or civil celebrant. Religious couples should start with their current houses of worship.

The church won't sanction marriage unless a Catholic priest gets permission to marry you outside of the church or chapel.

Consider interfaith weddings if your two religions have similar elements such as a Christian and a Jewish. In this case, you may want one ceremony with two officiants. If they're wildly different, - like Hindu marrying a Greek orthodox for instance, it makes more sense to plan two shorter, back-to-back services.

A ship's captain can't legally marry you except for Princess Cruise captains, who can perform weddings at sea in international waters.

In the US, in some states, you can have a friend obtain - usually from a county clerk, - the-one-time right to officiate. In others, he can be ordained through a ministry like the Universal Life Church or Universal Ministries.

For destination weddings, phone calls is the best option for searching for someone to officiate. Before planning on to have a face-to-face meeting, make a phone chat to check if your personalities and expectations mesh.

If you're highly considering a certain officiant, make sure to ask for references. Ask him to put you in touch with other couples he's married. This way, you can be alerted to any potential pitfalls.

Their fees vary. Some asks for donation to their house of worship; other have their rates and charge extra if they travel far.

You may consider inviting your officiant to your reception depending on how well you know him/her. It's always polite to give her invitation for the rehearsal dinner as well.

If you want a custom ceremony, some officiants will work with couples to write the entire service from scratch. They usually draft a basic outline, then ask the two of you to tweak it until everyone's satisfied with the result.