Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

officiants

MY FH and I decided to opt out of the traditional church wedding, and instead will be hosting our ceremony and reception at one location. We just signed off on the contract. I couldn't be more excited.  However, I have some questions regarding officiants.

1) When should we start looking (interviewing?) for officiants? Our wedding is June 2017. 
2) This is dumb question, but what's the best way to find an officiant?  
3) We would like to include some religious references, so should we be looking for nondenominational officiants? Ministers? 
3) How long is a typical non-catholic ceremony? I've only been to one wedding that was outside of the catholic church, and it was performed by a JOP, and lasted about 15 minutes. Our ceremony starts at 5:30, the cocktail hour is from 6:30-7:30 followed by a reception/sit-down dinner.

Re: officiants

  • MY FH and I decided to opt out of the traditional church wedding, and instead will be hosting our ceremony and reception in one venue. We just signed off on the contract, and it's absolutely beautiful. I couldn't be more excited. However, I have some questions regarding officiants.

    1) When should we start looking (interviewing?) for officiants? Our wedding is June 2017. 
    2) This is dumb question, but what's the best way to find an officiant?  
    3) We would like to include some religious references, so should we be looking for nondenominational officiants? Ministers? 
    3) How long is a typical non-catholic ceremony? I've only been to one wedding that was outside of the catholic church, and it was performed by a JOP, and lasted about 15 minutes. Our ceremony starts at 5:30, the cocktail hour is from 6:30-7:30 followed by a reception/sit-down dinner.

    I don't think you need to look at officiants this far in advance, but maybe you do - depends on ministers and such and someone else will have a better answer for you there.

    I think if you want to include religion, that will vary from officiant to officiant. We're having a secular humanist officiate our wedding (through the ethical culture society) - you can look to see if there's a local chapter. 

    Otherwise, many people have friends or family members officiate.

    I will tell you that no ceremony lasts an hour, so you need your ceremony to start at 6:00 or your cocktail hour to start at 6:00 - something needs to be moved half an hour.
    InLoveInQueensholyguacamole79charlotte989875
  • Non-catholic ceremonies are usually about 20 minutes to half an hour.  Some protestant ministers are unwilling to marry non-church members.  Most United Methodist ministers are willing to do this.
    I was formerly a church organist, and I have seen more than 100 church weddings.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • MY FH and I decided to opt out of the traditional church wedding, and instead will be hosting our ceremony and reception at one location. We just signed off on the contract. I couldn't be more excited.  However, I have some questions regarding officiants.

    1) When should we start looking (interviewing?) for officiants? Our wedding is June 2017. 
    I wouldn't worry about this just yet.  I think a year out is still plenty of time.  On the flip side, there is no real harm in starting early either as long as that person can still legally marry you come next year.

    2) This is dumb question, but what's the best way to find an officiant?  
    I would ask anyone you know who has been married in your area if you can.  Also check with your venue and possibly your local board.  Finally there is always google.

    3) We would like to include some religious references, so should we be looking for nondenominational officiants? Ministers? 
    When H and I got married we had the local town Mayor marry us (we live in PA and any current or former mayor can do this).  He was more than willing to alter the ceremony how we wanted it.  His personal beliefs were Methodist (I think), but he said he would do whatever we wanted.

    4) How long is a typical non-catholic ceremony? I've only been to one wedding that was outside of the catholic church, and it was performed by a JOP, and lasted about 15 minutes. Our ceremony starts at 5:30, the cocktail hour is from 6:30-7:30 followed by a reception/sit-down dinner.
    Our ceremony was about 10 minutes long.  We didn't want a lot of "fluff and filler", and we had a non-denominational ceremony.  I think 15 to 20 minutes is the typical JOP length from the several weddings I've been to. 

    Are you having a receiving line with a lot of guests?  If not you have too much time budgeted between your ceremony and cocktail hour.  It would be easiest to push back your ceremony by a half hour, otherwise make sure your cocktail hour starts IMMEDIATELY following your ceremony...also try not to make the cocktail hour too long as after an hour most people are ready for the reception to begin!

    Answers in Bold!

    Good luck with your planning and congrats on the engagement!!

  • Thanks, ladies! 

    MY FH and I decided to opt out of the traditional church wedding, and instead will be hosting our ceremony and reception at one location. We just signed off on the contract. I couldn't be more excited.  However, I have some questions regarding officiants.

    1) When should we start looking (interviewing?) for officiants? Our wedding is June 2017. 
    I wouldn't worry about this just yet.  I think a year out is still plenty of time.  On the flip side, there is no real harm in starting early either as long as that person can still legally marry you come next year.

    2) This is dumb question, but what's the best way to find an officiant?  
    I would ask anyone you know who has been married in your area if you can.  Also check with your venue and possibly your local board.  Finally there is always google.

    3) We would like to include some religious references, so should we be looking for nondenominational officiants? Ministers? 
    When H and I got married we had the local town Mayor marry us (we live in PA and any current or former mayor can do this).  He was more than willing to alter the ceremony how we wanted it.  His personal beliefs were Methodist (I think), but he said he would do whatever we wanted.

    4) How long is a typical non-catholic ceremony? I've only been to one wedding that was outside of the catholic church, and it was performed by a JOP, and lasted about 15 minutes. Our ceremony starts at 5:30, the cocktail hour is from 6:30-7:30 followed by a reception/sit-down dinner.
    Our ceremony was about 10 minutes long.  We didn't want a lot of "fluff and filler", and we had a non-denominational ceremony.  I think 15 to 20 minutes is the typical JOP length from the several weddings I've been to. 

    Are you having a receiving line with a lot of guests?  If not you have too much time budgeted between your ceremony and cocktail hour.  It would be easiest to push back your ceremony by a half hour, otherwise make sure your cocktail hour starts IMMEDIATELY following your ceremony...also try not to make the cocktail hour too long as after an hour most people are ready for the reception to begin!

    Answers in Bold!

    Good luck with your planning and congrats on the engagement!!

    Thank you! I also live in PA. Our wedding is about 45 mins from Pittsburgh. Our mock guest list came to exactly 100 people, including plus ones. I haven't thought about a receiving line. I planned on walking around and greeting guests during the reception, but perhaps a receiving line is better. Hmmm. The wedding coordinator said that if the ceremony is short, they'll just start the cocktail hour earlier  (reception would still start at 7:30, I think). Is an hour in a half too much gap time? I'm thinking I'll need to get more info from the venue. Maybe change the start time.
  • FurtureMrsBrooks816 , I think an hour and a half is okay, but some people disagree with that.  IMO as long as the cocktail hour (and a half?) is well hosted with food and drinks and a place to sit, I don't really care.

    When I got married we didn't bother with a receiving line, I'm not really a fan of them.  We opted to just do table visits and spend some more time chatting through people throughout the reception.  But to be fair I think our guest count was closer to 70 people.

  • Ours was booked a few months before the wedding. I found her on facebook through a local wedding resale site. She was awesome and we seriously lucked out. I wanted some religious aspects to the wedding even though we didn't get married in a church and she was able to incorporate bible verses and some religious sentiment which was great.
  • I would say you shouldn't be in a rush to book an officiant, but no reason why you can't.

    I would start with your local boards, friends, and google. 

    We had a non-denominational ceremony, and our officiant was/is a minister (United I believe??). He told us how he usually organizes a ceremony but was very clear that we could take it whatever way we want (religious or not). He was also very open to us picking wording and choosing readings, etc. 

    Depends on what you want for your ceremony, but anywhere from 10-30 mins. We went a bit longer (toward the 30 mins). Our officiant gave a "motivational moment" (what he called it- some nice thoughts about marriage), and SIL gave a reading. 

    Either have a receiving line post ceremony to eat some of that time up (100 people still probably won't take more than 15 mins), and/or move up your cocktail time. Or, move your ceremony later. 

    1.5hours for cocktail "hour" is OK but I would try to shorten it if you can. Particularly at that time of day- it's dinner time! Our cocktail hour was 1.5 hours and I would go back and make it shorter. I could tell guests were ready to eat- people were mingling less, everyone sitting at their assigned tables. I was also pretty hungry too! ;)


  • Thank you, ladies! I appreciate your advice. :) 
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