How to Find the Perfect Wedding Officiant (5)Photo Credit: Moose Studio

This helpful guest post comes to us from wedding photographer Michaela Ammirato of Moose Studio based in Los Angeles, CA. This article comes from Michaela’s first hand experience helping her mom find an officiant for her upcoming wedding.

Choosing the right wedding officiant for you can often get over looked during your wedding planning, but it is an important detail not to forget. The wedding officiant you choose will not only have a huge influence on the tone of the ceremony, but act as a communicator of your style and belief system. So how do you find a wedding officiant that suits both you and your fiancé?

Read the full post after the cut!

Religious Vs. Secular

The first thing you must decide is whether the ceremony will be religious or secular. This will help narrow down your wedding officiant choices. A religious ceremony is often performed by a minister, priest or rabbi and will be recognized by the state as well as the affiliated religion.

A secular ceremony must be performed by a wedding officiant who has been certified in accordance with state laws such as a justice of the peace or county clerk.

In some states, a relative or friend can become an ordained minister online for free. In others states, for a small fee, you can get a one day deputy commissioner of. Having someone you trust will make the wedding ceremony more personal and memorable.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Officiant (4)Photo Credit: Moose Studio

Understand Your Style

Envision for a moment how you want your ceremony to feel like. Serious? Humorous? Romantic? The wedding officiant will set the tone for the ceremony, so it is very important for you to understand and convey the style you are looking for to them. Wedding officiants do more than help you exchange your vows with one another. They are there to elaborate on the love you share with each other, and the lasting commitment you are about to make. Lastly, they are there to share a sense of direction to the adventure the two of you are about to set out on.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Officiant (3)Photo Credit: Moose Studio

Budget Awareness

The cost of having a secular judge, county clerk or other wedding officiant varies depending on the locality of the ceremony. However, it is customary for the best man to pay the wedding officiates immediately after the ceremony is completed. For religious ceremonies, the cost gets a little more complicated. If either the bride or groom is a member of the congregation, the couple may not need to pay a fee to be married by the clergy person, however, a small gift of appreciation or donation is customary. For non-members of the congregation, a fee ranging between a hundred dollars and up is to be expected to be paid to the wedding officiant.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Officiant (2)Photo Credit: Viktor Hanacek

Where To Look

There are many great companies that provide lists of wedding officiants available for your specific area such as,,, and even at your local City Hall.

Review Their Work

Nothing speaks louder than a person’s work. You can see a piece of their soul in each ceremony they have performed at. See if your potential wedding officiant has a video of one of their weddings, as well as written copy from the ceremony. Most wedding officiants should have a wide range of samples and styles to choose from. Take time to look through them and see what would be the best fit for your style.

This would be a great time to write down any questions regarding adding in music, quotes or any other personal touches such as providing your own written vows or a special ceremony such as tying a sailor’s knot to symbolize your love. Read the reviews online and don’t form your opinion based on the number available to read, but the quality. Most importantly, get a referral from somebody who personally used their services.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Officiant (1)Photo Credit: Viktor Hanacek


Be sure to contact potential wedding officiants up to a year in advance to review their work and interview them in person. Once you find a wedding officiant that you like, book them! Booking early will not only put your mind at ease, but some may or may not require pre-marital counseling sessions before they will marry you.

Set Up A Meeting

Call and set up a one-on-one meeting with your potential wedding officiant so you can listen to their voice, how they speak, and get a sense of their personality. You want a wedding officiant that will make a connection and resonate with you. They are there to add valued meaning to your ceremony on the wedding, so be sure that you are comfortable with who they are as a person and as a performer.

Thanks Michaela! For more information about Moose Studio, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their Moose Studio.


Want to learn more about how to find a wedding officiant that’s perfect for you? Leave your questions for Michaela in the comments below!