A court clerk can say what is required by law, sign your license and you will be married. This is the least expensive and quickest way to get married and for some couples this is the best way. If you want a ceremony that does more than this, you need to engage an officiant who will meet all the legal requirements as well as your own.
A religious cleric will marry you mostly in light of the religion s/he represents. A judge will marry you according to the law, perhaps with a few words of wisdom. Florida is one of three states where a notary can marry you too. Choose your officiant based on their personality and professionalism and if they appeal to you. You must trust that they will do what you want or explain why it won’t work well and what your alternatives are, and officiate according to your discussions and agreement with them.
We meet couples who are interviewing potential officiants to perform their weddings. Several relate stories of religious officiants who went over the top with their religiousness, overpowering the ceremony and surprising the couple; or flamboyant spiritualists who are dramatically fervent in their non-religiousness; and notaries who are dry and humorless. Officiants who try to be comedians and tell bad jokes can come from anywhere and leave a bad memory for everyone. Bad wedding stories sadly linger too long in memories. Thankfully, most couples tell good stories about weddings they’ve been in or attended and really enjoyed. Couples who have been to weddings we officiated have sought us out. Making good memories is important for everyone.
How will you choose an officiant who is good for you?
Know what you want. Some couples want only a man to marry them. This is mostly old religious tradition or the couple’s standards, but it is real nevertheless. Some grooms simply demand this. It is your choice.
Do you want good humor in your ceremony? Does your officiant need to be calm and clear or bubbly and enthusiastic? How will your officiant handle the difference between your religious beliefs and your parents? Whatever you want, meet the person you choose to officiate your wedding before deciding. You must trust that person to do what you want.
Prepare your questions. Have a few good questions handy for your telephone or face-to-face interview. How many weddings have you done? What religion are you? We are ________. Do you have any problem with that? We’d like our child to be part of the ceremony. How might we do this? How do you get paid? How did you start doing weddings? Was it by accident or on purpose? What do we get out of it? Make sure your questions are all legitimate concerns. Any officiant you choose should answer all your questions to your complete satisfaction.
Your day, your way! When you choose an officiant as carefully as you choose your gown, you will certainly be off to a great start.