Your clergy choice will be easy if you or your spouse has been attending a church, but for secular couples choosing an officiant can take a lot of research and referrals. Choosing the right officiant not only means the tone will be set by the clergy person, but that you’ll be happy with the ceremony as well. Before you pick a name out of the phonebook you should do some research, talk with your fiancé, each set of parents, friends and close family members. See what they liked about their own ceremonies, weddings they’ve attended, what they think, and who they would recommend.
As with most things, you should shop around, speak to a number of officiants before settling on one. Have a top three list and the reasons why they are there. When you have it narrowed down you should ask questions about their fees, the types of ceremonies they perform and what they expect from you as a couple, and what you expect from them at your ceremony. If anything doesn’t coalesce with your own belief system, you should probably look else where.
If you want to skip the whole church clergy altogether, there are a number of civil ceremonies that can be performed instead. You can go to the courthouse and get the name of a Justice of the Peace from the county clerk’s office, this way you know the person is certified and legally able to perform your ceremony.
You can even get married in City Hall. These ceremonies are typically much shorter and not near as long as another type of service. To register for a wedding at City Hall you need to make an appointment for a certain time and day, and simply show up and get married on that time and day.
An increasingly popular marriage trend is choosing a close friend or family member to become certified by the Universal Life Church and perform the ceremony. However, you need to be careful going this route as not all provinces or states recognize the legality of this type of certification.
What ever you choose to do, just make sure that you, your spouse, and the officiant all have a copy of the ceremony plan and agree to it. That way everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them.