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Questions and Answers

What is the difference between an Officiant, Celebrant, Justice of the Peace, Minister, etc.?

An officiant is actually the umbrella term for any person that conducts the wedding ceremony and legalizes the marriage.

A Justice of the Peace, a Priest of a church, a Rabbi or an online ordained minister are all considered officiants. The word "celebrant" is also interchangeable with the word "officiant". 

 

In Connecticut, a Justice of the Peace is appointed by political party in the town in which that person resides. A specific number are chosen for the Republican and Democratic parties, with some reserved for unaffiliated persons as well. JPs are selected and sworn in every four years. 

 

Many priests, ministers or pastors will only perform wedding ceremonies within the bounds and properties of their church. Roman Catholic priests will not marry couples outside the church. However, American National Catholic priests are able to marry in other locations, like the venue where the reception is being held. The rules for other clergy may vary by religion and denomination.

 

Family members and Friends can officiate by ordaining as non-religious ministers online. Organizations like The Universalist Life Church or American Marriage Ministries can provide this credential. While they are not legal in all 50 states, online ordained ministers ARE legal in the state of Connecticut. 

Why are there such a wide range of prices
for officiants?

This is a super loaded question which can be answered
with another question: 


What kind of wedding ceremony do you want to have?

 

Are you okay with the idea of a “template” ceremony which is prewritten, and the names are just changed to suit? Or would you prefer something more custom and tailored to you? How do you want to feel during your ceremony? How do you want your guests to feel and what do you want them to remember most about your wedding day?

 

There are so many options for officiants, and with the exception of the clergy, most of them are self-taught. Many officiants do weddings as a full-time business while others use it as a secondary income to their full-time job. Because of this, there is a wide range of prices you can find for officiants and many of them undervalue/underprice their work and their critical role in the wedding day causing vast competition in the field. 

If my prices seem higher than others, it's because
this is my company and my sole "job". I do this full-time and put everything into creating custom and personal weddings for every couple. 

 

Long answer short, you can find officiants that range anywhere between $100 - $1000 and up. Keep in mind, the officiant’s job is not just the 30-60 minutes that they are at your wedding. Their time begins the moment you have that first conversation.

 

Even if they are not creating a custom ceremony, a good officiant, will take some time to get to know you. On the day of the wedding, they should arrive early, coordinate with the other vendors; photographers, the planner, and do a sound check with the DJ.

 

They orchestrate the ceremony with precision and kick off the rest of the celebration on the right note. And finally, when the day is done, they accurately fill out your marriage license and return it the appropriate clerk’s office in a timely manner. 

Don't settle for anything less than a well prepared officiant no matter what your budget is!

Can a Justice of the Peace
create a custom ceremony?

ABSOLUTELY! For some reason, there is a misconception about what a JP can do over other types of officiants. Just because a JP is a politically appointed position does not mean the officiant can’t get creative! The most “templated” ceremonies actually come from religious organizations because they are bound by their doctrine to do certain things. In recent years, many couples have opted for the "guest officiant" because they don’t want to be in a church, and they don’t feel like a JP will be personal enough. This is just simply untrue.

Newlyweds at StoneHurst at Hampton Valley

Photo: Devolve Imaging

I shouldn’t ask my friend to 
officiate my wedding?

Here’s my honest opinion on friends/family members officiating. 
It may a good idea if:

  • They offer and are really excited about it.

  • They do the research both for all the legal aspects
    and ceremony writing.

  • They are good writers AND excellent public speakers.

  • They are willing to give you final say in everything they’ve written before the wedding day — NO Surprises!

  • They understand the difference between a ceremony and a toast/roast.

 

BUT these points are some reasons why it may not be the best idea:

  • You ask them and they seem nervous about the responsibility.

  • They already have a critical role in your day,
    like maid of honor or best man.

  • You are trying to save money in your budget.

On that last point: The amount of money you’ll spend on an officiant is not a huge savings compared to any other vendor or item you’ll pay for that day. Isn’t it worth it to know you’re holding a professional responsible rather than ask your friend to essentially worked your wedding for free?

 

While weddings are meant to be joyous times there are always moments of stress and tension. Mistakes can be made and suddenly you are never speaking to that friend or family member again.

In short, if you want to go this route, make sure your person is prepared. I offer private coaching sessions to help and I run group workshop with a colleague. Email me for more info! 

What happens if you get sick or have an emergency on the day of our wedding?

I have networked with some of the state's finest officiants. In the event of an emergency, every effort will be made to find you a suitable replacement.

 

Unfortunately, in the summer of 2022, I got covid but I was able to get the couple a great sub and conduct a zoom with them beforehand so they felt comfortable with the new officiant.

 

It made me so sad to miss it but the show must go on!

All the details about emergencies and other concerns are clearly
laid out in your contract.

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