Picking an officiant and getting your game plan ready is one of the most stressful parts of your wedding. It is often one of the most important aspects of your entire day, you want to ensure the person you go with will give the ceremony you and your significant other envision. After you have picked the right person, see part one of this blog, you then need to ensure all the ground rules, schedule and content is agreed upon.
Clear expectations from the beginning are incredibly important. I cannot imagine many things worse than having the person running your ceremony by messing it up, while you are up there, in front of everyone, having to pretend it is fine. Make sure whoever is running the ceremony knows quotes, readings, bible verses and special ceremonial aspects you and your significant other want.
Also ensure you give the person enough time to get to know you and your partner. This is where having a family member or friend officiate can really shine. They already know a lot about one or both of you and it can be a great way for people to get to know each other even better. If you go with someone of faith or someone else official, schedule time to tell stories and talk with them so they can get a feel of the both of you and your relationship.
Feel free to change whatever language or ceremonial aspects to the traditional ceremony you want. Don’t like the phrase “man and wife”? Ask for “husband and wife” or “lifelong partners”. Don’t like “till death do us part”? Ask for “until the end of our days” or “forever”. Change this however fits your personal views about your relationship with your partner.
After you make these tough decisions, sign a little contract with the officiant. It does not have to be anything official, but make sure that the expectations are known on all sides, yours and the officiant’s. This is the easiest way to lessen the stress load of someone possibly going off the rail in a way you do not want to and helps keep the whole interaction respectful. This will also help if you have someone who has not officiated a wedding know what was expected of them and allow them to make a game plan. Nothing is worse than someone up there rambling because they do not know what to do or say.
Finally, make sure all the paper work is done. Before you book someone, ensure they have the appropriate certification and that they actually sign your marriage certificate. There are few things worse than getting married and forgetting to or not being at to have the certificate signed!