I often get asked what things I need for when I arrive at weddings. I love that my couples think of my comfort when I am visiting to perform their marriage ceremony. I’m pretty self sufficient, carry my own water and snacks, and make my own way to weddings, but if I could send my couples a wish list it would include…
1. A parking spot. Somewhere near the ceremony site or venue entrance so I can get in and out quickly. Officiants often have several weddings in one day and run on a schedule so being able to leave on time is huge! If I have to park a 15 minute walk from the ceremony site that can affect the rest of the day. Let your Officiant park as close as possible.
2. An “office”. A quiet space to prepare, change, get your paperwork started, speak to the groom and anyone who is doing a reading during your ceremony, and chat with your photographer about how we will get you the best photos possible. As an Officiant it helps me a lot when I have a few minutes to myself to do some deep breathing, meditate, and check my hair and lip gloss before we kick things off so I am relaxed and do my beast speaking for you.
3. A glass of water or tea. Ask your caterer to have a warm drink available for your Officiant. We sound better when we have warm throats, and a nice cup of tea goes a long way!
4. A helper. Assign one of your friends to be your Officiant’s helper – give this person your marriage licence as well so your Officiant can get it easily, and have someone to get tea, show them the washroom, help move décor for the best photos, and point out your friends and family members who are doing readings. This person can also introduce your Officiant around and make sure they know who’s who.
5. Photos. I love social media and use my business accounts to post LOTS of photos I have taken at weddings to show my followers all the amazing ideas my couples come up with. Sadly, I rarely ever get photos of myself working that I can share online unless I know the photographer personally. Add me to your photo list and either ask your photographer to make sure I get a photo (I tag them too!) or send me some nice photos when you get them. Another option is to ask one of your friends (or be cool with me asking) to take my phone and snap a few pics during your ceremony so I can share them right away! For many of your vendors, having photos of us working is a massive thing – it’s how we get more business and likely how and why you chose us for your big day.
6. Tips. This is one of those divisive issues. I say no to tips for business owners, yes to tips for the people who work for the business owners. I am a business owner so there is no need to tip me on top of your ceremony and travel fees as I set my own wages. Having said that (many times) I do often get tipped and always appreciate it because I know how hard you all work for your money, just know you do not need to include me (or any Officiant) in your list of tips. Want to do something nice for me? Hand me a wedding favour, tell your friends to hire me, and write me a nice review. I also welcome all of my couples to follow me on social media and support my business with likes and comments should they feel so inspired.
7. Dinner invitations. I get so many invitations to stay for cocktails, dinner, and dancing, and sadly I usually have to decline as I need to move on to more weddings. Believe me, I am always so touched and honoured when I am invited to stay and wish I could accept every invitation! When I do get to stay I love meeting everyone, and chatting with your guests over dinner, and I always offer to do the blessing before the meal as my gift to you.
I asked my friend Ron, who is also an Officiant, about his experiences:
“One couple had their meal catered from a Jamaican chef (groom from Jamaica). I had explained that I ‘disappear’ right after the ceremony so not necessary to have me for the dinner. They had the chef prepare me a take-away plate for me to enjoy at home. Delicious!”
8. Accommodations. I normally perform marriage ceremonies at weddings within 2 hours of my house so I rarely ever need to worry about getting home. I make sure I have some snacks, some great music or podcasts to listen to, and enjoy seeing so many parts of Ontario that I might never see otherwise. Occasionally, I have a couple asking me to travel quite far, like 4 or 5 hours away. I am happy to do it, and always appreciate being put up for the night when their ceremony is in the evening so I don’t have to drive 5 hours home at midnight. In fact, while writing this post someone messaged me for a wedding 6 hours away! If I can’t find him someone closer to the wedding site I may need to make the trek.
Another Officiant friend, Heather, told me this story:
“One wedding I did was out of town and not only did they invite my husband to go with me they also got us a hotel room so we could spend the night rather than driving back home after the night time ceremony. It sure made me feel special. (they changed venues from my home area but still wanted me to perform the ceremony which I would have done anyways as they were such a nice couple).”
And there you have it! All the ways you can care for your Officiant to help make their job easier and help them be their very best for your ceremony!
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