Questions You Should Be Asking When You Interview Officiants
By far, the most common interview questions I get asked are:
- How much does it cost for a simple ceremony
- Can you get our marriage license for us
- Do I have to sign my new name or can I keep my maiden name
- Do you require premarital counseling
All great questions! And all important when you’re interviewing an officiant to hire for your once-in-a-lifetime wedding ceremony.
But you know that whole concept of “you don’t know what you don’t know”? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. And here’s the thing…there’s a LOT of information about how to find the best officiant for you, questions to ask that are beneficial in helping you hire her or him.
How do you make the ceremony special for us?
I have a set of questions to find out more than how you met and how the proposal took place. Most friends and family already know those answers.
For example, no matter which package you select, a universal question I ask is about the qualities you love most in your partner. Or what did you used to do that you no longer do that you wish you did?
These are great information gathering questions and hint, hint give great ideas for next year’s Christmas present!
These aren’t questions many couples think about asking when they interview officiants. Why? Because many couples still think a ceremony is cut and dried and says little or nothing specific to their relationship. This means you and your guests wade through an uninspiring ceremony so you can finally get nibbling on the good food.
Do we have to write the ceremony ourselves?
I love to find out what your preferences are, so bring them to our planning meeting. My job is to put your ceremony together for you. (I’m pretty good at it by now). You DO NOT have to write it yourself. If you don’t have any ideas I provide a packet of options for you to choose from. I will help you as much or as little as you want. You don’t have to use anything I provide.
A few times over the past 30+ years I’ve been leading wedding ceremonies, a couple has brought me something they wrote themselves. What I’ve found is few couples understand the way a ceremony moves from one element to the other. While I’m flexible, at the same adjustments must be made so the ceremony will flow. Who wants to have a ceremony that’s disconnected and awkward?
What legal requirements are we responsible for?
No one can apply for your marriage license except for you. However, many licenses can be applied for online and every county clerk I know is very willing to help you get your license as easily and quickly as possible. (If you live out of state you apply for a license in the county your ceremony takes place in. Are you a Michigan resident? Then you apply for your license with your County Clerk). So don’t worry, but do apply in time so I have your license in my hot little hands BEFORE your ceremony begins. That’s the rule.
For Michigan’s regulations on getting your marriage license, click this link: Michigan Marriage License Laws
What an officiant can do for you, legally speakin’
Here’s what I can do. When you hire me as your officiant, I register your marriage license with the appropriate County Clerk.
Here’s the process:
- After your ceremony and preferably before you take family photos, you, your two witnesses and I sign your license.
- You receive one of the originals of your signed marriage license.
- I take the others originals with me, make a copy for my records.
- Next I mail the remaining originals to the County Clerk of record. Your remaining originals go in the mail on the first business day after your wedding.
- My ask is make sure you give me all copies of your license and any envelopes the clerk provides you with.
Obviously, the more you know and understand about questioning a potential officiant the better your decision making will be.
I’d love to get your thoughts. If you have questions I haven’t answered yet, be sure to ask in the comments. Or you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or fill out my handy dandy Contact Me form
I hope these questions help you add zip and sizzle to your journey into your happily-ever-after.