A couple of questions I do have though that maybe ya'll can answer:
1. How do you know if someone is legally able to perform a ceramony. Is there a place you can go to check this out. The main reason I'm asking is because we are looking into a private officiant rather than a corporate group of ministers.
2. What is the best way to search for an officiant? I am not wanting to use the minister at my church due to the fact that he does not fit our personality but I have looked at a million sites and no one has officiants listed in the Waco, Texas area.
3. And lastly what is the normal fee for an officiant. I know they all vary from person to person but what is a ballpark range? And if your paying for an officiant is it still costum to tip him/her at the end?
Thanks for any information ya'll can give.
Hi, Tracy -- and congratulations!
In Illinios, where I am, there is no central registry for those who are authorized to perform wedding ceremonies. However, no professional officiant should be offended if you ask about their credentials.
When my husband and I were getting married, we didn't have any church affiliation, so I called the county courthouse and asked for a referral to any judges that perform wedding ceremonies. We were referred to a retired judge, booked him over the phone, and he showed up 20 minutes before the ceremony and left immediately thereafter. Cost us $100, twenty-one years ago. He was dry, mechanical, and we fondly refer to him as "Old Doom and Gloom", since all he talked about were the challenges and sacrifices of marriage! Bottom line, though, is when he was done, we were married, so we really didn't care about the rest.
As for fees, in my area outside of Chicago, fees range from about $250 to $750, depending on how close you are to the city. Mine run in the middle of that range. As for a gratuity, I never expect one but am always most appreciative when I receive one. If your officiant goes above and beyond to make sure your ceremony is everything you want it to be, it might be appropriate to show your appreciation with a gratuity afterwards. If s/he just does her job as requested, you can use your own judgment as to whether or not you give a gratuity afterwards.
Rev. Fuller suggested that you ask the wedding vendors you're working with for referrals to wedding officiants -- good advice. A wedding planner can make recommendations as well, and you can also ask your friends who are married for suggestions.
However you find your wedding officiant, please do book him/her as soon as you can. You don't want to have everything else in place and not have anybody to perform the wedding ceremony -- the most important part!
Marti Barton, Officiant http://www.joyfulpromises.com