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    How to Choose Your Wedding Officiant

    By Terri Wengjen

    You have decided to get married! This can be such an exciting time, but it can also be very stressful. Where will you get married? Who will you invite? What will you and your partner wear? Who will marry you?

    The most important part of your wedding day is the ceremony. It should be heartfelt and fun, while highlighting the meaningful promises you make to each other. Your wedding officiant has a key role in your ceremony. You should look for someone who feels it is an honor and a privilege to share this special moment. These are your memories, make them count. 

    Tips for choosing your officiant (or any other wedding vendor):

    Decide what type of ceremony the two of you want. 

    Do you want a religious or non-religious service? Do you want a simple ceremony, or would you like a customized service that reflects your love story? Do you want ceremony rituals to symbolize your union, such as a unity candle or sand ceremony?

    Search for officiants online using wedding websites such as Wedding Wire, GayWeddings.com, and LGBTWeddings.com

    Read the reviews! This is the best gauge of how other couples felt about the officiant. Just remember, some people do not like to write and may leave a one line review even if they thought the officiant was fantastic. Search for reviews that show the officiant’s personality and depth of caring, not just that he/she showed up on time.

    Once you have your list of possibilities, visit the officiants’ websites.

    Is the website welcoming to all couples, or does it repeatedly refer to the bride and groom? Look at the pictures and the affiliations. Does the officiant support marriage equality, or just indicate he/she does gay weddings?

    When you have narrowed it down to two or three officiants, contact them.

    An email request is OK to see if your date is available but I like when the couples call me. I can put them at ease and immediately answer any questions they have. Make certain to be honest right away. Some couples tell me up front that this is a gay or lesbian wedding. Most let me know subtly by mentioning their partner’s name or referring to his or her gender.

    By now, you should have a good feel for which officiant you want to work with. Officiants typically have a network of wedding professionals they can refer you to. Don’t be afraid to ask if the other vendors support marriage equality. I have met with each vendor that I refer and had a discussion about marriage equality. This should not be a point of stress for you.

    Choosing an officiant for your wedding is a big decision. You will remember this day for the rest of your lives. A caring, experienced, and professional officiant is worth his/her price.

    Terri Wengjen is the licensed Wedding Officiant and Wedding Planner at Ceremony of Dreams, which is based in Las Vegas. She believes each couple is unique and she specializes in custom ceremonies. Wengjen has taken the time to educate herself by completing the Gay Wedding Institute’s certification program. She is a proud member of the local LAMDA chapter and is on the Board of Directors for the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at Terri@CeremonyofDreams.com or 702-445-3913, or visit her website at www.CeremonyofDreams.com

     

    1-PHOTO Fred and Jaime (1)Frederick Sullivan and Jaime Botello, who oversee the Weddings & Occasions page for the San Francisco Bay Times, are the talented wizards behind Sullivan-Botello Events (http://sullivanbotelloevents.com) and SnB Party Rentals (650 -877 – 0840 , www.snbpartyrentals.com). Both are Certified Wedding Planners with extensive experience in creating memorable, personalized events for special occasions. Their rental service is incredible, offering everything from beautiful gold Chiavari chairs to LED dance floors, and all at competitive prices. They are the creators of the Gay Vanity Wedding Show and are longstanding members of the Golden Gate Business Association, which is the nation’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce.