The wedding officiant is very critical in a wedding and the choice of one isn't a small decision. The individual plays an important role in the wedding ceremony, guiding those marrying with their vows. There're many things to an officiant, such as their responsibilities, the different types of officiants and of course how they become officiants legally.

Types of officiants

When it comes to a wedding officiant you might want to understand the different types across the United States. Any of them, depending on your belief and choice, can officiate your wedding.

Religious officiants

If you're thinking about getting married through a religious ceremony a religious leader will officiate the event. This can be a rabbi, priest, pastor, or an Imam. The officiant can be a religious leader and an individual you know well or just selected from a religious institution you're comfortable with.

Note that as you prepare for a religious wedding officiated by a religious leader you might want to talk with the institution and leadership before booking the officiant for the wedding. You'll know about any restrictions, requirements or fees. Perhaps there're pre-marital classes, rituals and counseling you must go through prior to exchanging your vows.

Civil officiants

Civil officiants are great if you just want to make your wedding legal. The individual can be a justice of the peace or a judge usually found at the office of the city or county clerk. Of course, officiants of civil weddings vary a lot from one state to the next and can include magistrates of district courts, retired judges, county clerks or public notaries among others.

It might sound an impersonal or formal option to get married, but lots of civil officiants actually enjoy carrying out weddings and officiating vows; will most likely connect with you very well whether you've met them for the first time or not.

Note that in case you're thinking about getting an officiant to marry you, yet not legally allowed to officiate marriage in the country or state, you could simply get a magistrate, retired judge or justice of the peace to marry you privately a couple of days or hours before celebrating the wedding. Remember ship captains might not be allowed to officiate a legal marriage, at least in some states and territories. Know if they are allowed in your state.

Professional officiants

Not everyone is comfortable with a religious ceremony. A professional officiant can easily perform your wedding, an individual who actually caters for both spiritual and secular weddings works just fine. As you'll find lots of these professional officiants of weddings adore and enjoy weddings and will bring lots of charisma, grace, personality and positive air to your special day.

Note that if this is the type of officiant you have decided to go with, an experienced one is the most ideal. You can actually approach the individual for past transcripts and outlines of previous weddings for inspiration in crafting yours. In case you would like your religion incorporated into your wedding without making the ceremony too religious the professional is malleable enough to do that.

Family or friends officiants

As the world changes, and you get to choose how to get married, the wedding officiant is not left behind. You can actually choose a family member or a close friend you trust to be your wedding officiant. They only need to be ordained, which works very well for those looking for someone they can trust and know to perform the most important duties of a very special ceremony. This can be the groom or brides family members or parents, cousins or friends.

Don't forget that to have family or friends get ordained to officiate a wedding you need to dig a little deeper. Know if your state or county allows or recognizes such a thing, particularly if the person is getting ordained online to be allowed to perform the vows on your wedding.

The roles of the officiant

The diverse legal roles an officiant plays vary from one state to the other. The most important thing is that with the signature of the officiant on a marriage license the individual declares that he has found no reason to object to the marriage. It means the officiant understands those getting married have zero reason as stipulated by the state law that would hinder them from becoming man and wife. It means that the marrying couple are of a marrying age, parents have consented if required, not married to other persons, that same sex marriages take place in that particular state among other concerns.

The signature is also a testament that they're a witness to the sharing of vows and pronounce you as marriage partners before other witnesses with two or so required to actually sign the marriage license.

The officiant also needs to file and complete the paperwork after the ceremony for the vital records office and make document copies to be sent to the groom and bride as keepsakes.

The officiant is also a part of the wedding planning process. You might want a personalized wedding ceremony, unique event, therefore the individual needs to be alerted to prepare accordingly. Depending on the type of officiant, he/she should be able to incorporate personal tastes and choice of vows, for instance.

The officiant also appears at the wedding rehearsal party or dinner and has the role of supervising the ceremony and meeting requests suggested. With the rehearsal the couple is able to make adjustments as the officiant practices execution of the vows. The marrying couple can make the right suggestions and raise concerns, if any.

It's also worth noting the officiant duties begin way before the day of the wedding as they guide or take the bride and groom through counseling, marital classes, among others, as required.

When it comes to becoming or making a person an officiant of your wedding understand the law in your respective state that applies and if the individual has to be a practicing religious leader in an institution or congregation. Always know if the religious organization is allowed to ordain a wedding officiant or if being ordained online is really acceptable.