ON THE PHONE
Ask detailed questions to determine if you, as a couple, and a potential officiant make a match.
Is officiant available for first-choice date and time? If not, the conversation stops there, unless a recommendation is sought or date can be varied.
Do all sides fit the vision of the prospective bride and groom as a married couple? If not, can planning continue comfortably together?
Is printed documentation required for a first meeting? Religions often need certification of baptism or other life events, particularly if there was a previous marriage.
Are personalized vows, readings or music allowed? A setting may restrict music or readings and require traditional vows.
Is pre-wedding counseling required? Will it be with the officiant? Vows with a religious theme or setting may require couples to attend a retreat or class before tying the knot and thus affect the wedding time line.
What are the fees? An officiant’s fee often ranges between $150 and $450 or a specified donation may be expected. Sometimes, a facility fee includes officiant and on-site planner, while others require a couple to provide an officiant. Musicians and other services charge separately.
FACE TO FACE
If trust grows between you and officiant by phone, schedule a meeting. Before sealing the deal, review details of both site and ceremony.
Tour the site. Envision size, capacity, accessibility, layout restrictions. Gauge if access is convenient for wheelchairs and walkers.
Suggest music, readings and vows for the ceremony. At the outset, be clear about what you want to plan, particularly if choices are more creative than traditional. An officiant may outline restrictions and suggest alternatives for future progress.
Understand any dress code. A religious site may ask that head or shoulders be covered or require other wardrobe essentials for women and/or men.
List what site provides versus what must be arranged. Extras may include runner, flowers beyond seasonal or weekend decoration, candles, dressing area, etc.
Note times and spaces allowed or available. Check if this coincides with time necessary to preserve memories of your event.
Discuss discourse that might be given. If apprehensive, ask if it may be read in advance.
Ask about documentation. Discuss delivery of marriage license and marriage certificate.