Get referrals. Call. Meet face to face.
So here we go . . . get the best officiant in 3 steps.
1.) Do not just rely on Google to find your officiant. Get referrals.
Looking up officiants online seems expedient but referrals let you know that a particular officiant is already proven in how they deliver and will save you time in the long run. Besides many of the best officiants don't have websites and do not advertise.
So here's how to begin.
For a local wedding email as many local friends & ask if they have experienced a good local wedding ceremony in the recent past. Odds are there will be a few ceremonies that were wonderful.
Ask for the emails of the couples who were married and then email those couples asking for the contact information of the officiant . . . after you've confirmed with them that their officiant was easy to work with and can deliver.
Of course, If you are working with a wedding planner your planner will be able to provide referrals. If you're not working with a wedding planner you can try to email other local wedding planners and ask them for referrals. However, planners tend to be exceptionally busy and may not be able to get back to you right away.
For a non-local wedding call the best hotels and wedding venues in town and ask for the person in charge of events planning. Ask them for the contact information of the best officiants they have personally witnessed. Please note that many officiants leave their business cards or brochures with hotels. So don't just ask for names of officiants but ask for those officiants who were exceptional in their tasks.
2.) Call. At this point you may have a few officiants that were recommended. Call all of them right away.
Some officiants are booked months and even a years in advance especially for the summer months. Talk to them on the phone if you can. This will immediately give you a better sense of who they are more than email ever will.
Sometimes people are intimidated by officiants who are also clergy. There is no need to be. Most clergy are warm-hearted people and will let you know right away if they are free to officiate your wedding according to your hopes.
If you are satisfied with the conversation ask them what services they will provide for what fee. Most officiants have different prices based upon the time of year and based upon the duties called for. My fee is higher because I officiate at some of the most stunning wedding venues in the world and I limit myself to 25 weddings every year. More on the fee later in another post. If they are unable to officiate your wedding ask them for referrals of other officiants who deliver exceptional wedding ceremonies.
Meet face to face.
3.) Sit down with the officiant or set up a Skype of Facetime call. Please know that there are some officiants who sound wonderful over the phone but in person won't resonate with you face to face. Better to eliminate them after your face to face conversation than to regret your mistake at the rehearsal.
Is this officiant flexible to your hopes and desires? Is he/she kind & easy to relate to? Do they feel right?
If not, time to move on. But if so, congratulations you've leveled past the most intensive part of the process.
Get referrals, call, and then meet face to face. Doing this early on will save you a lot of headache & certain frustration.
And now with a good officiant in your court you can move on with confidence that your ceremony will be an engaging and meaningful one for you and your guests.