You probably know that a wedding officiant is the person who leads your ceremony, legally marrying you and your spouse on your wedding day. But what do wedding officiants actually do? Obviously their job is pretty important on the wedding day, but what goes into it?

Turns out, quite a lot! Our Young Hip & Married wedding officiants are always working hard to connect with couples, write ceremony scripts and lead ceremonies on the wedding day. Below we’re diving into what exactly it is officiants do before, during and after weddings. Of course, not every wedding officiant, celebrant or marriage commissioner is going to do all of these things for every wedding. Every officiant, and every wedding, is unique!

Let’s find out what wedding officiants really do in order to get you legally and wonderfully wed!

What does a wedding officiant do during your ceremony?
by Amber Leigh Photography

What a wedding officiant does BEFORE your wedding

A wedding officiant’s job starts long before your wedding day; they don’t just show up and get you married! Depending on the officiant you hire and the type of ceremony package you opt for, the first thing an officiant usually does is meet with you.

If you book our Custom & Creative Wedding Ceremony, your officiant will meet with you in person (or over video) and get to know you in order to create a personalized and unique ceremony just for the two of you. This often means chatting with you two, interviewing your friends and family, and researching your interests.

Once all of the research and interviews are complete, your officiant will get to work writing your ceremony. And once it’s drafted, it’s time for your review. You and your officiant will be able to edit, revise and make suggestions so your ceremony script turns out exactly as you want, no surprises. Please note that not all of our ceremony packages include a custom ceremony or script edits.

But it’s not just the ceremony script your officiant is busy with. They’re also available to help you write your vows, select readings and prepare any creative elements you’d like to include in your ceremony. Our officiants have lots of resources they can point you towards, and are always happy to give their advice based on years of officiating weddings.

As we get closer to your wedding day, your wedding officiant’s job ramps up too. They’ll reach out to your coordinator or planner to ensure they know what’s going to happen on the big day and touch base with any other ceremony-specific vendors, like your photographer or musician.

Importantly, your wedding officiant will run your wedding rehearsal (if one is included in your ceremony package) in the days leading up to your wedding. The wedding rehearsal is how you ensure everything will run as smoothly as possible on your wedding day and everyone knows what to do. So it helps to have the rehearsal run by an experienced wedding officiant!

Do I need a wedding officiant?
by Erica Miller Photography
wedding officiant at elopement in Vancouver
by John Bello Photography

What a wedding officiant does DURING your wedding

On the day of your wedding, your officiant will show up early to ensure they’re ready to go and no one is left waiting. They’ll connect with your coordinator or planner on the ground so they’re aware of any last minute details.

Before your ceremony gets going, your wedding officiant will take charge and help with “crowd management.” They can direct your guests to their seats and inform them of any important announcements, such as where to go after the ceremony or instructions to put away their phones.

Of course, a wedding officiant’s big job on your wedding day is to lead the ceremony. They will guide you through, sharing words about marriage and your love story with you and your guests. They’ll facilitate your vows, readings and any special elements. And your officiant will lead you through exchanging rings and sharing your first kiss. Finally, and to our great honour, your officiant will pronounce you officially married!

Last but not least, your officiant will also sign your marriage licence and instruct you and your witnesses on how and where to sign. This behind the scenes part of the job is very important in order to ensure you’re legally married.

Victoria wedding officiant at Vancouver Island wedding
by Tulle & Tweed Photography

What a wedding officiant does AFTER your wedding

Once your wedding day is over, your officiant still has a few important jobs to take care of. Right away, they will mail your marriage licence off to the appropriate governing body (Vital Statistics in Canada) so your marriage can be documented and recognized. A few weeks later, you’ll receive (or be able to apply for) your official marriage certificate. If you run into any problems with your licence or certificate, your officiant is there to help!

Being a part of a couple’s wedding day is such a joy, so of course your officiant will want to thank you for the honour. Expect a follow up email to ensure you loved your ceremony experience and to wish you all the happiness for your marriage!

Vancouver wedding officiant at park elopement
by Erica Miller Photography

What do wedding officiants do when they’re not officiating?

Of course, wedding officiants don’t spend all of their time officiating weddings. When they’re not busy leading a ceremony or preparing for one, many officiants take on roles in their spiritual communities or offer relationship coaching or counselling services. Unsurprisingly, many officiants work in jobs that allow them to connect with people and facilitate stories, just like they get to do during a wedding ceremony.

Of course, there’s also the administrative side of being a wedding officiant, such as invoices, marketing and email management. Many wedding commissioners and officiants only do this job part time, so spend the rest of their time working at another job, studying or spending time with their families. Officiants: they’re just like the rest of us!

Now that you know what a wedding officiant does, are you ready to book an officiant for your wedding? Learn more about our packages and get in touch to book your wedding officiant today! 

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written by Riana Ang-Canning
feature image by Amber Leigh Photography