Questions to Ask the Wedding Officiant Before Hiring!

Updated: Oct 7, 2019

Many times the difference between a decent wedding and a wonderful wedding

is whether or not the wedding ceremony reflects your love for each other to your

guests and family. You not only want a personalized ceremony that speaks

of your love, but also delivered by a professional speaker and wedding officiant.

Is your once in a lifetime moment worth saving a few dollars to risk an amateur

performance for your ceremony? We are experienced and professional

officiants that can step up and handle any incident that occurs quickly and

efficiently without stress or drama.

Your wedding officiant is a key player who sets the tone for your entire wedding ceremony, so be sure to find the perfect person to lead your special day. Here are questions you should ask the wedding officiant during the interview stage (and our answers)!

1. Are you available on my wedding date/time? Do you have any other weddings on that date? (During the busy season it is common for officiants to book 2-3 weddings on the same day. We leave 3-4 hours between weddings if we book more than 1 a day per officiant. For example we may have a wedding at 1pm and 6pm. You don't want YOUR wedding impacted because the wedding before yours ran late, or the officiant was stuck in traffic!!)

2. How long have you been performing weddings? Approximately how many per year do you perform? (We have been performing weddings for over 10 years. We perform 200-250 ceremonies per year.)

3. Have you ever been late to or missed a wedding? What is the back-up plan if you get sick? (We have a couple of officiants working for Southern Charm Elopements, if 1 is sick, another can step in. I was late to a wedding 8 years ago when the GPS lead me to the wrong location. Since then, if the ceremony is a location we have not been, we visit the location prior to the ceremony.)

4. What do you wear at the ceremony? (Depends on the size of the wedding, location, and Bride and Groom preference. A beach elopement is more casual attire than a formal event at a venue. The beach elopement would be a black a-frame dress, park would be slacks and a button down blouse, while a formal event would be a business suit. If you have a preference, we will dress to your request.)

5. Do you allow photography or videography during the ceremony? (Of course! I have had photographer literally use my shoulder to steady his camera while he was getting a close up of the ring exchange! We want your special moments to be captured!)

6. Do you require pre-martial counseling or a religious class? (No. You can choose to do that on your own if you would like.)

7. How many pre-wedding meetings will we have with you? Are you available for questions? (We are always available via email, and you can schedule a call with us at your convenience. If local, or when you are in town, we can have a personal meeting!)

8. When and where will we sign the marriage license? Will you return the license to the court? (After the ceremony, and before the photos is when we sign the license usually in the same area as the ceremony. Yes, we return the properly filled out marriage license to the court for you. We place your original marriage license in your newlywed packet.)

9. Do you have a written contract? What is your fee or is a donation acceptable? Will you charge extra for travel expenses or the wedding rehearsal? Do you require a deposit? (Yes, we have a digital provider that includes a quote, contract and invoice for the deposit which is 50% of the fee. Our fees are posted on our Officiant page. Some locations have a travel fee.)

10. What services are included in the fee? (Wedding officiant services include: unlimited phone and email support, personalized wedding ceremony that captures your love, professional delivery of your ceremony, file the marriage license with the proper court and travel to your ceremony location. Newlywed Packet contains: custom keepsake marriage certificate, printed personalized ceremony, original marriage license, name change information and forms.)

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11. What is the cancellation policy? (Life happens, and something could prevent your wedding from occurring as planned. Your contract will lock in Southern Charm Elopements to your date and time of ceremony; henceforth blocking Southern Charm Elopementsfrom booking another Couple on same date and time. For this purpose; if for any reason a decision is

made not to use the services of Southern Charm Elopements after retaining by deposit,

the Couple must inform Southern Charm Elopements in writing at least 30 days prior to

the ceremony date to release the Couple from the contract. The Couple will be

able to reschedule using the monies paid for 6 months after the cancellation

date. No refunds will be issued.)

12. Typically how long does the ceremony last? (Each ceremony is unique, so the time is dependent on the length of the ceremony. We will let you know the time needed when we have a completed ceremony. Average is 15-30 minutes.)

13. Can we add a specialty ceremony (unity sand, rose ceremony, etc)? (Of course!)

14. Can Family members/friends participate in the service (readings, prayers, songs, etc)? (Absolutely!)

15. May we write our own vows? If so will you offer guidance? (We want your ceremony to reflect your love! What is better than your own words? We will assist you in doing this!!)

If you haven't already, head over to our Officiant page and check out the different specialty ceremonies you could make part of your special day!

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