Choose wedding officiant fitting your budget, beliefs

Rowna Heck

Choosing an officiant for your big day is important. They help set the scene and play a huge part in making your wedding special. You just have to find someone legally able to officiate.

According to law, only a judge, justice of the peace, court clerk or member of clergy may perform ceremonies. Iowa law says ordained ministers may perform marriages, give certificates of marriage and report marriages to the district court within 15 days.

A justice of the peace is a magistrate appointed to hear minor cases, grant licenses and perform marriages in a local district.

You should always set up a face-to-face meeting with an officiant if at all possible. Here are some things to consider:

• Keep an eye on your budget. Ask if fees are included and if you have to pay a deposit.

• Consider if you want an officiant that has a lot of experience or if you’re OK with someone who’s still a little green.

• Go over any and all expectations you have of your officiant. Should they wear traditional garb? Do you want to hear certain scriptures? Make sure they’re comfortable with any changes you want to make to traditional order of service, like writing your own vows. Are they comfortable with the venue? Having your wedding in the same place alcohol is being served poses a possible conflict. You want a professional that makes sure your big day goes the way you want it to.

• Do they require you to go to premarital counseling? This is a prerequisite for some faiths.

• What if they cancel at the last minute? Do you have a back up officiant ready to go? Does your primary choice have cancellation or rescheduling policies?

A few tips would be to search for reviews and testimonials to establish credibility and to ask for video samples of other weddings they have serviced.

The most important thing is that you have to be comfortable with him or her.