Questions you should ask every prospective wedding officiant…

Due diligence is the proper term for protecting yourself by checking out any vendor you might hire. Your wedding may be simple and inexpensive or expensive and complex. Whatever, you owe it to yourself and your guests to have your special day exactly the way you want it. You will want help, and you want the best value for your money. Do your due diligence.

Here are some questions to ask officiants you might hire. I have given our answers as officiants, and you can add to these and make questions for planners, day-of coordinators, DJ’s, musicians, florists, caterers, venues, etc. Just adjust for your audience, ask your questions, and judge their answers. You must also follow through, as in references and referrals: Getting references is not enough; checking the references is critical.

What makes you different from other local wedding officiants? Why should someone hire you? Three things distinguish us: We write creative, customized ceremonies tailored to each couple. This makes your ceremony uniquely yours, so we provide you with a copy in print. We honor the customs of all cultures, and we have included American, Scottish, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Greek, Netherlands and other cultures in ceremonies. Language is usually not a problem, and any loving couple who wants to make public commitments of their love can have that honor with us. We deliver traditional, non-traditional, religious, inter- and non-denominational, non-religious, and spiritual ceremonies. We are natural, not stiff or pompous. We collectively have thousands of hours doing public speaking and organizing large and small events. We know that humor is often appropriate for fun and always for breaking the spell of a moment’s frustration. It happens.

Will you interview before we hire you? Absolutely. We encourage you to have complete comfort with your hiring decision.

Can we speak with some couples you have married? There are many testimonials on our site and on They are all candid reviews. We do not provide contact information for previous clients.

Can we read any of your ceremonies? There are several samples on our website showing parts of ceremonies we have done. We write each ceremony for the couple, so our samples are just that—samples.

How many weddings do you officiate? More than 100 each year. There are three of us who officiate and we never overbook.

How long does a ceremony usually last? A normal ceremony takes about 16 minutes. One or two add-ons can stretch it to about 20 minutes. Some couples want a simple five minute ceremony, but when they think of respecting their guests’ expectations and how far they might have come, 15-20 minutes seems ideal. It really is.

What are your standard payment terms? You pay a non-refundable deposit to reserve your officiant for your date and time, and for the package you purchase. The balance is due before the ceremony, or in cash if paid on the day of the ceremony.

How do you get to know us? When we receive your deposit, we send you our checklist. After you complete and return it, we interview you in person if we can or by phone if you are far away. This way, you know that we know you and what you want…and we do!

Who gets the license? Each couple must appear before a county court clerk, apply with their photo IDs and pay a bit over $100. You receive your license immediately. You must wait three days before you can be married if one of you is a Florida resident (no wait if both of you are not residents), and your license is valid for 60 days. Check with your county clerk for more details. Hillsborough County Court Clerk’s office is on the web at

How long after the ceremony do you file for the official marriage license? We have 10 days to return it to the court. We make a copy before we sign and send in the original license. Retaining our copy serves as a safeguard against many problems associated with licenses lost in the process.

How far are you willing to travel? Is there a travel fee? No fee for roundtrips of less than 50 miles. Gulf Beaches between the Don Cesar Resort and Honeymoon Island are all within this range. Because of high gas prices and time, a surcharge applies for miles in excess of 50, based on current fuel prices. You will know before you book us what the exact mileage surcharge will be for your wedding.

Will you allow us to write our own vows? We encourage it. We will help if you get stuck, as some brides and grooms do. We print your personal vows in large type on paper for you to read from at your wedding. There is no need to memorize. You want to say something dear and you can hardly say it, let alone remember it, if you get teary and choked up.

Can we read or hear your ceremony before our wedding day? Yes, it is YOUR ceremony, written for you. You may preview yours or leave it to us once you are comfortable with how we are planning to write and deliver it. It’s your day! Have it your way!

These are just the questions we are often asked. Make sure you have your own that are important to you.

Your day, your way!