Check out some savvy details from officiant Rachael Zajac with CeremonybyRachael. Rachael will be at our Wedding Savvy Summit on January 27!
Q: What are some unrealistic expectations or perceptions couples have in general about a wedding officiant?
A: I believe many couples think that every officiant should be roughly the same price. However, some officiants’ pricing reflects a more simplified service to couples. For example, an officiant on the lower end of the scale may have a standard, pre-written ceremony script used for every wedding with little or no room for customization, arrive 15 minutes or less prior to the start time to recite the ceremony, and then leave immediately following the recessional. However, other officiants whose price-range may be on the higher side may spend countless hours providing couples with information during the planning process to really customize the ceremony to their needs and interests. Likewise, they will take time to talk with and check-in with other vendors on the team, meet with couples via virtual or in-person meetings, have countless email exchanges, provide copies of the ceremony for everyone involved on the wedding day, and of course, arrive in a timely fashion to check-in with the couple and go over any last-minute cues and to offer support. Ultimately, it’s up to the couple to determine what kind of care they are looking for in an officiant and to choose one that best fits their needs and budget. Since the services that some officiants provide over others may be vastly different, instead of jumping to sign with the lowest bidder or shocked at someone’s pricing, be sure to ask what all is included for the price given.
Q: What things do couples forget to include in their decision-making process when selecting vendors in the ceremony officiant category?
A: Many couples want a “short and sweet” ceremony and believe that sentiment can be expressed by just about any officiant out there. However, the reality is that presidingover a ceremony is just a small portionof what an officiant does. The person you hire to assist you with your wedding ceremony should be someone who not only interacts with you in a professional way through timely responses and positive check-ins, but that gives you a sense of confidence and security that they will help your vision (or lack of vision even!) come to life. Whether you are looking for someone to just help you plan the script to be used so that a special family member or friend can preside over the ceremony, or you’re looking for someone who will stand by your side offering physical support and guidance as you exchange your vows, every couple deserves to be educated and cared for by their officiant. When searching for someone, make sure you can be yourself around them, and that they have your best interests in mind. Remember that an experienced officiant should provide options, support, customization, professionalism, and positive energy during the planning process.
Q: Would you rather try to make yourself a fit for every client or would you prefer to refer them to someone who is a better fit?
A: In my field, I think it’s tough to NOT want to try to help and support every type of couple who comes to me, but the reality is I’d much rather it be a naturalfit then a forced one. If a couple were to come to me wanting or needing something that I didn’t feel comfortable with or that I had very little knowledge about, I would certainly be honest and open with them regarding the situation. Perhaps that conversation would result in them helping to educate mea bit on learning some customs or traditions or putting myself out there to learn more on my own. Ultimately though, if it still just didn’t feel right, I would certainly have no problem suggesting I help them find another officiant with better experience or expertise in that area.
Q: What do you feel is a typical price point for an officiant?
A: Although pricing is dependent on countless factors, ultimately, I feel an experienced officiant who is offering a versatile service will provide elopement-style ceremonies for $300-500, and standard ceremony packages for $500-900.