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How To Find a Wedding Officiant

You spend your whole life dreaming about your wedding—from the cake to the dress and even what to include in your bridal suite.

But how much thought have you given to the actual wedding ceremony?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably spent more time thinking about cake flavors than your wedding officiant. But your wedding officiant is a huge part of the day that should not be overlooked (or chosen on a whim).

In this article, we’ll go over the basics of how to find a wedding officiant to ensure that your whole day is just as you dreamed.

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Bride and groom with wedding officiant under gazebo at Kendall Point

What Is a Wedding Officiant?

Simply put, the wedding officiant is the person who performs the marriage ceremony, making you legally married. (You know, the one who says, “I now pronounce you” at the end?)

According to Texas law, you can only perform a wedding ceremony if you are a:

  • Licensed or ordained minister,
  • Priest,
  • Rabbi,
  • Justice of the peace, or
  • Judge.

Unlike some other states, Texas notaries are not authorized to perform weddings, although some notaries complete online ordination courses to add wedding officiant to their list of services.


How To Find a Wedding Officiant

Even if you narrow down your search to just the ordained clergy members, you have your work cut out for you. There are more than 25,000 churches in the state of Texas and hundreds more synagogues, temples, and mosques! Where do you start?

Here are six things to consider that will make finding a wedding officiant a little easier.

Rabbi performing wedding ceremony under chuppah at Kendall Point

1. Religious or Secular Ceremony?

For those who want a marriage built on faith, having your religious leader perform your wedding ceremony can be a beautiful way to start your marriage. But what if you come from different religious backgrounds (or none at all)?

More and more couples are choosing to go a more “secular” route for their marriage ceremony. This may also be preferable if you prefer to have a bit more control. (For example, you might not like the idea of vowing to “obey” each other.)

Regardless of which route you go, ask candidates if you can look at the script or template they use to make sure their values align with your vision.

2. Your Vibe

Every couple has a different “vibe” they hope to create at their wedding.

Perhaps yours is a traditional wedding with a unity candle and a reading from 1 Corinthians. Maybe you’re planning something that reflects your cultural background. Then again, you could be planning a Star Wars themed ceremony (complete with lightsaber battle at the altar).

The choice is yours, really.

Making these decisions early on in your wedding planning will help you find someone who is on board with whatever you’re imagining.

3. Experience

If you have friends or family that are qualified to perform your ceremony, this can add a beautifully personal touch to your day. But there’s more to consider than how long you’ve known each other.

A wedding ceremony is a legal proceeding that involves important paperwork (although it’s not exactly “romantic” to think of it like that). You’ll want to make sure your officiant is familiar with the process and will do the necessary steps to make sure your marriage is legit.

Ask for references from other happily married couples to be sure you find someone with the right level of experience. (And more on this further down!)

4. Your Obligations

Unlike other vendors, your wedding officiant may have a set of requirements that you must fulfill before they will agree to perform the wedding.

In addition to any fees, some officiants require that you attend premarital counseling (either through them or someone else) or other types of training.

This not only helps them get to know you as a couple, but it benefits your future marriage as well!

wedding ceremony under gazebo at Kendall Point

5. Do Your Research

When finding a wedding officiant, you’re not just picking a skillset or certification; you’re choosing a personality as well.

Do plenty of research to make sure you like their style, speaking voice, personality, and approach toward your wedding.

Some may prefer to write the vows themselves. Others may offer to coach you through writing your own. Some may like to crack a few jokes, while others keep it serious.

Above all, the biggest mistake you can make is assuming that all wedding officiants are the same. Research will save you a lot of heartache in the end.

6. Ask Your Venue

If you’re stumped by the long list of potential wedding officiants in your area, ask your wedding venue (or other trusted vendor) for recommendations.

The team at your venue has seen a ton of weddings. We know which officiants were difficult to work with and which ones made everyone cry happy tears. (We also know which ones are willing to wear a Darth Vader helmet, if that’s what you’re into.)

Because at the end of the day, your wedding venue’s #1 goal is for you to have the day you always dreamed of. You can trust us!

Bride and groom approaching the wedding officiant at Kendall Point

Wedding Officiant Cost

Your wedding officiant is one of your wedding vendors just like your band and your caterer, so yes, they must be paid.

The good news is though, it’s usually one of the least expensive items on your list. On average, for US couples, the wedding officiant cost is about $240. 

If you’re having a clergy member marry you, this fee will actually be more like a donation to that person’s house of worship. If you’re not a member, it might be a higher suggested donation than for members.

Hiring a secular officiant can be a little more depending on where they’re located and how much you’d like them to do. If you’re looking for someone to craft a fully customized ceremony, it will cost more. Your officiant might also charge an additional fee to attend your wedding rehearsal if it’s on a separate day as well. 

In the end, your wedding officiant cost will not make a huge dent in your wedding budget, but keep in mind like with all things weddings, the more customized you want it, the pricier it will be. 


Having a Friend Officiate Your Wedding

More and more couples are electing to have a friend or family member officiate their wedding.  It can certainly be a wonderful and special part of your big day but there are some drawbacks to it as well.

Keep in mind these pros and cons before having a friend officiate your wedding.

Pros to Having a Friend Officiate Your Wedding

The first pro is your friend likely won’t charge you anything to officiate the wedding. If the wedding is out of town, you should offer to help with their travel fees, and you should certainly offer to pay whatever it costs them to get ordained, but in the end, it will be your least expensive option. Many friends or family members who perform the wedding officiant role will consider it their gift to the couple.

The best pro in this scenario is having someone you and your partner already know performing the ceremony, making it more personal, intimate, and memorable. This is also a wonderful way to honor someone who holds a special place in your lives as a couple. 

If your wedding ceremony will have a laid-back vibe, this is certainly a great option.

Cons of Having a Friend Officiate Your Wedding

Yes it might be more personal, but we say it time and again when couples start thinking about DIYing everything with their wedding—these people are professionals for a reason. They come prepared. 

Professional wedding officiants whether they’re religious or secular have done and seen it all. How would your best friend from middle school react if one of the bridesmaids suddenly fainted? How much experience do they have using a microphone or with public speaking in general? Can you trust them to fill out the registration in time and prepare properly? Will their speech be appropriate or will they pull focus (this is your day after all)?

Finally, you want your friends and family to enjoy your wedding day with you, and if one of them is nervous about officiating, it might take some of the fun out of it for them. 

These are all possible drawbacks you need to keep in mind.

Ultimately, if you elect to have a friend or family member officiate your wedding, make sure it is someone you trust to take this job seriously. This should not be a decision you make just to save some money.

Wedding officiant performing ceremony at Kendall Point

Find a Wedding Officiant and the Perfect Wedding Venue

No bride starts out knowing how to find a wedding officiant. But that doesn’t make it an insurmountable task.

At Kendall Point, we host hundreds of weddings every year, so we know all the tips and tricks to help you have the wedding of your dreams.

If you’re planning a San Antonio wedding, we can not only help you find the perfect officiant, we can help you host the perfect wedding.

Schedule a tour today to get a sneak peek at your event.


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