What Is a Wedding Officiant?

Home, Home & Family
on February 11, 2013
what is a wedding officiant

A wedding officiant is the person who conducts the ceremony or service for a marriage. Officiants are not chaplains because the latter typically is connected to an organization such as the military or health care facility.

Other terms for officiant. When planning a wedding, you may hear other terms used for an officiant. The officiant also may be referred to as the minister or celebrant. If you marry at the courthouse, the justice of the peace, notary public or other select elected official is considered the officiant. Laws limit who may officate a marriage ceremony.

Are officiants ordained by a church? Ministers, pastors, priests and rabbis are examples of officiants ordained by a house of worship. All 50 states require a wedding officiant to complete a legal certification process whether or not the officiant is affiliated with a specific denomination, church, temple or other house of worship.

Finding a wedding officiant. If you are not a member of a church or congregation and do not have a minister or officiant selected to perform your wedding ceremony, consider asking a family member or close friend for a recommendation. Another option is to use an online officiant search. This allows you to search via location such as state or metro area.

Officiant considerations. When selecting your wedding officiant be sure to meet him or her in person before the wedding. If possible, schedule more than one meeting and get to know each other. If your first instinct warns you this person is not the person you want performing your ceremony, it’s okay to say no and select another. Consider asking for testimonials from other couples and even video samples if those are available. Ask for all fees upfront and be sure your officiant knows exactly what you want and do not want for your ceremony.

Tipping the officiant on the wedding day. It’s appropriate to tip your wedding officiant after the ceremony. According to the wedding experts at The Knot, “The officiant’s fee is generally a donation to the house of worship or congregation.”

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