10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Officiant

June 9, 2021


I'm a California wedding and engagement photographer. The blog has past weddings, planning advice, photo education and more!

Hi, I'm ashley.

No matter what type of wedding ceremony you have planned, whether religious or not, finding an officiant that feels right to both you and your fiancé is super important! Here are a few questions I recommend asking before booking to ensure you find the perfect person to marry you.

8 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Officiant

Are you legal in the state we’re getting married?

This one may seem like “DUH,” and maybe it is, but it’s never a bad idea to ask and make sure they’re legally able to perform your ceremony right from the start of your conversation together.

Do you offer pre-marital counseling?

Pre-marital counseling is always a great idea! If your officiant offers this personally, it’s normally a great chance to get to know them before the wedding day. If not, they may have some recommendations of a trusted counseling service to use.

Do you work off a script or write it custom for us?

It’s pretty common for officiants to write the ceremony based off a template, but this is a great time to ensure they customize it to your one-of-a-kind, special love story. Now is also a perfect time to ask if they do religious ceremonies and/or can perform the kind of ceremony you are wanting.

How much input do we have on the ceremony?

This question is a great follow up to the previous. The more information you’re able to share, the more personalized your ceremony will be! If this is important to you, make sure to ask up front.

Will you help us write our own vows?

If the two of you are opting out of reading the traditional vows and choosing to write your own, ask your officiant if they are willing to be your sounding board and provide you with direction when writing your vows so that you feel completely comfortable with and proud of them come your wedding day!

How long is a typical ceremony?

This is important information to have so that your photographer can build your day-of timeline, so don’t forget to ask! FYI: 15 min is short, 40 min is long. 20-30 minutes is “standard”

How many weddings have you performed?

Asking this question is a great way to ensure you’re hiring a professional and someone you feel 100% confident with! If you want to go even further, feel free to ask to read reviews and/or references from past couples so you can hear it from someone else as well.

Do you run the rehearsals?

You’ll want your officiant to attend the rehearsal, so ask this from the very beginning! Then, make sure you clarify if they’ll be running the rehearsal or if that should be the responsibility of your wedding planner? Either way – you will want your planner there!

Request that your officiant ask you to take a moment to look at all your guests!

The ceremony always goes so fast, and taking just a second to smile back at all the faces of your guests really helps you soak in the moment and breathe.

If you are having a friend do the ceremony, make sure they add “please be seated” to the beginning of their script.

This may seem super random or obvious, but I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve seen where this simple phrase at the right time is missing or forgotten to be said and the guests will be standing for 10+ minutes.

California wedding officiant

That’s it! Those are 10 questions to ask your officiant before booking! I encourage you to do a few more things as well… First, to help with writing the ceremony ask your officiant to interview you both with questions to help them learn more about you! Finally, I encourage you both to write personal vows to share and/or write letters to each other the morning of. Such special memories!!

I hope you found this blog post helpful! If so, chances are you’d love to check out my Wedding Planning Checklist! As a recent bride myself, I know how busy wedding planning can be and I wanted to help take some stress off of you while planning your big day! So I put together a checklist with monthly to-dos for you to follow to ensure you don’t miss anything!

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I'm Ashley, a California wedding and engagement photographer. The blog has past weddings, planning advice, photo education and more!




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