Why you should hire a Professional Officiant to perform your marriage ceremony

Photo courtesy of Andreas P Photography

A professional officiant is one that is ordained by a religious body, and is licenced by the Province of Ontario to represent the laws and the Marriage Act. They will have a strong online presence, will have reviews posted, photos, logos, flyers, and a solid following. Their information is out there in the open for anyone to read – along with pricing and official means of communication. They are running their business like a business and have a lot to lose. They are also often members of professional and service clubs in their community like the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. All of this information should be easy to find without having to call a stranger at home to ask them all of your questions.

Prices will also reflect their investment in making your wedding or other ceremonies memorable, creative, and polished. Professional officiants spend a lot of time working on ceremonies for all types of events, are constantly learning and taking workshops to improve and broaden their skills, and follow the trends in the industry to keep up with what couples are looking for.

We are seeing more and more hobby officiants who don’t have any real online presence, don’t have a website, facebook page, or other social media. There is no way to learn anything about them or leave reviews about any experiences with them. They have not invested very much into being an officiant and to be honest, don’t have much to lose either. They haven’t put time, energy, and money into their ‘business’. They are simply promoting themselves as officiants with no history or community backing, and this is an alarming trend in the wedding industry.

The $100.00 officiant might not think twice about cancelling on your with just weeks to go before your wedding and sadly this happens a lot! All my empty slots during wedding season get filled with couples in a last-minute panic because their officiant got a better offer that day or simply stopped replying. A professional officiant has a lot more to lose that day since weddings and other ceremonies are how professional officiants make a living.

Here’s what a professional officiant brings to the table:

EXPERIENCE: A professional wedding officiant brings experience to your celebration, and the ability able to deliver your service or ceremony with poise and grace no matter what is happening around them. Performing a wedding ceremony is more than just reading words off a page, a professional will have the needed experience to get through any distraction and to remain calm. My background is in funeral service and I have served hundreds of families during the worst times of their lives. Emotions run very high and we never know what is going to happen. Drunk uncles trip and drop the casket, sisters get into fist fights over rings and other personal items of the deceased, mourners throw up, sob uncontrollably, and behave in ways they wouldn’t under normal circumstances. Weddings are just as emotionally charged, and people often react to that stress in ways that shock everyone around them. My job as an officiant is to perform your ceremony in the most serene manner as though we don’t have a care in the world and there isn’t chaos all around us, while at the same time protecting your interests.

KNOWLEDGE: Along with the benefit of experience, the professional wedding officiant brings a level of knowledge to help you create a service that is personal and memorable and offers guidance that an amateur or hobby officiant cannot provide. Perhaps you wish to have a Unity Candle Ceremony, and your Ceremony is being held outside. A professional will know this is not a good idea due to the wind and the optics of the candle being blown out is not a nice one. A Professional Wedding Officiant can offer alternatives and add any elements you like in your ceremony and I have an extensive list of extra ceremonies we can add to your wedding. I often make recommendations, move items around, and speak with the photographer to make sure we get the best visuals possible while we perform your ceremony.

RELIABILITY: Reliability is one of the most significant benefits a professional will bring to your wedding ceremony and your wedding planning. I have been contacted by numerous couples who have asked their cousin to perform their wedding or have hired a low-priced officiant from Craigslist, only to have them back out at the last moment, or forget their script, or just stop responding. Not using a professional can add a level of stress that you do not need during the planning process. A professional understands the commitment they are making to you, and if they are truly a professional, they will have a contract with all the details protecting you and themselves. When you book me to perform your ceremony I start by sending you an intake form, so I can gather all the details I need, then I create a contract for us all to sign, then I create your ceremony for you based on what you have told me so far.

TEAMWORK: The day of your wedding requires an extraordinary amount of teamwork between the planner, DJ or band, photographer, and your officiant. A professional officiant is used to working as part of your wedding team to ensure that everything happens according to the plan. A professional officiant understands that they are part of the team and not a solo act and will be willing to take direction to make your day special. As an officiant I am also prepared to give directions when other vendors seem unsure about what they are meant to be doing. I also team up with whomever will be standing at the altar with me at the start of the ceremony to make sure their nerves aren’t getting the better of them, and to make sure they know where to stand and how the ceremony will unfold. I speak with your photographer to work together to get the best photos for you, and if there is a DJ I co-ordinate with them so we are all using the same cues. If I know ahead of time I will bring a copy of the script for the DJ so they can follow along and watch for their cues.

CEREMONY CONTENT: Working with a professional officiant will give you more control over the content of your ceremony. Part of my service is to tailor your ceremony to fit you as a couple, so it is personal and memorable. Sure, there are certain legal aspects of every ritual, but the majority of the content will be written with you in mind and with your total editorial control over the ceremony. It is your ceremony, not mine, and I value your input during the creative process. I want you to be able to remember the words you spoke not only the day after your wedding but on your 25th Anniversary.

LEGITIMACY: Imagine after your big day you discover that the person you hired to perform your marriage was not legally able to perform your wedding. Believe it or not, this does happen more than you’d think. A professional wedding officiant is certified and licenced by the Province of Ontario to perform your wedding and has the knowledge of the complicated marriage laws and filing procedures. I am ordained and licenced to represent the laws of the Province of Ontario and am legally allowed to perform marriage ceremonies and sign all of your marriage paperwork.

When you hire a professional wedding officiant, you will be very happy that you made that choice. Working with a professional will make your planning much less stressful and your special day one you will never forget, for all the right reasons.

I also offer other services which include Elopements, Civil Unions, Commitment Ceremonies, Vow Renewals, Handfastings, Memorials, Graveside services, Celebrations of life, Funerals (Religious and Non-religious).

Couples in Toronto, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Port Hope, Cobourg, Grafton, Brighton, Belleville, Trenton, Kingston, Uxbridge, Port Perry, Lindsay, Peterborough, Millbrook, Bailieboro, Durham Region, Northumberland County, and the Kawartha Region can count on their ceremony being beautiful and memorable with me as your professional officiant.