Types of Wedding Officiants

Updated: May 22

The type of ceremony you want will largely determine what type of officiant you have. For example, if you're hoping to have a modern, nontraditional ceremony where you break mid-vows to perform a Beyoncé solo, a religious officiant in a house of worship might be off the table (although, not necessarily!).



Religious Officiant (technically me)

A priest, rabbi, minister or other religious officiant is the perfect option if you both belong to a particular church group or religious organization or would like to be married in a house of worship. A member of the clergy is a great option for couples seeking a more traditional ceremony, as most mainstream religious celebrants won't deviate from traditional ceremonies.

However, it's absolutely possible to find a clergy member who will perform more customized wedding ceremonies. A great resource for finding pastors, priests and rabbis who are open to performing interfaith ceremonies is your local college or university. Those studying to become clergy members often serve a diverse community and are used to working with clergy from various faiths. Another option is an officiant who's retired and may be willing to perform a more lenient, flexible ceremony.


Celebrant (also me!)

A celebrant, in general, is someone who performs either religious or secular ceremonies for marriage (and other rites). A celebrant can be an ordained clergy member, professional secular officiant or legal official, such as a judge.


Secular Officiant

A certified, nonreligious celebrant has training and certification from an organization like the Celebrant USA Foundation & Institute or other secular humanist organizations such as the American Humanist Association or the American Ethical Union. They're often unaffiliated with any religion and perform secular, same-sex and interfaith ceremonies. The more secular the officiant, the more creative license you'll likely have over what is said, read, sung or played during the ceremony.


Interfaith Ministers

An interfaith minister brings people of different religions together, and also works with same-sex and nonreligious couples. Many interfaith ministers define their work as being outside church walls by working in community service and spiritual counseling, and they're all about creating a special and personalized wedding service for their clients.


Civil Officiant

A civil wedding officiant or civil servant's primary role is to legalize the marriage—they are responsible for witnessing and validating the consent of marriage between you and your partner for the wedding license, and are legally registered with the local city clerk's office. Hiring a civil officiant is most similar to hiring any of your other pros.


post from TheKnot.com





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