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How to Stop Being Indecisive About Wedding Planning

By Jenn Sinrich – 
 Is indecisiveness causing you some wedding-planning drama? Here’s how to stop being indecisive and move forward in your planning journey.
couple shopping for wedding flowers
Elizabeth Fogarty

Although wedding planning is most definitely fun and exciting, it can also be quite overwhelming, especially considering the myriad of decisions, both big and small, you’ll have to make in a relatively short period of time. As a result, couples planning their big day might come across a few situations where they just can’t choose and will need to just stop being indecisive.

This can happen for many reasons. According to Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events in Long Island City, New York, the most common reason for indecisiveness over planning your wedding is that the experience is entirely brand new. “All of the different options to choose from can sometimes lead to decision paralysis, not to mention the fact that the couple is likely spending more money than they even imagined on their big day,” she says. “While you can’t necessarily take all the time in the world to make decisions during the wedding planning process, you should make sure that the decisions you do make are informed and thought out.”

If this sounds like you and your soon-to-be-spouse at the moment, don’t fret! Consider putting these expert-approved solutions to help you stop being indecisive about wedding planning.

Make a list of non-negotiables.

Early on in the planning process, Deb Erb of Simply Events Inc. in Lititz, Pennsylvania, suggests that couples make a concrete list of what is most important to them. “If flowers and pictures are a big deal to you, know that you should spend more time selecting your photographer and florist than perhaps your DJ or band,” she says. “Thinking through the most important aspects of a wedding day early on will also make it easier to stay within a budget.”

Block out the chatter.

Everyone is going to have opinions on your big day, from your best friend to your boss. While it’s fine to lend an ear to their dos and don’ts, you have to be careful when soliciting too much of their advice in order to stop being indecisive. “The more people you involve, the more opinions you are going to get,” warns Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design in Verona, New Jersey. “Without a doubt, those opinions will eventually conflict and you’ll be confused with whom to believe and not wanting to offend anyone.” She suggests keeping your circle small and making a pact with your partner that you two have to agree before deciding on anything.

Trust your vendors.

“Professionals know how to guide couples because they have the experience needed to know what works and how to cater toward the couple’s likes and dislikes and things they have dreamed about,” says Deb. “Vendors who only want the best for their clients will steer them in the right direction and help them stay on budget.”

Set social media limits.

While Instagram and wedding websites are amazing resources to plan out your big day, Deb warns that they can also make a couple feel pressured to keep up with what other couples are doing. “When a bride feels like she needs to include every décor idea and Pinterest suggestion into her day, it becomes very hard to make simple decisions, let alone difficult ones,” she adds.

Create a timeline—and stick to it.

Just as you would for your job, it’s helpful to create a checklist for when you should ideally have a wedding to-do crossed off your list. “Any accountability coach will tell you that the only way to truly get something done is to see it, formalize it, plan it and then tackle it,” says Jenny Orsini of Jenny Orsini Events in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.” “Can’t figure out if you want your color palette to be blush and white or lavender and cream? Give yourself a limited amount of time to ponder the options and assign a due date by which you must decide.”

Ask for help when you need it.

This can include your mom, aunt, sister, grandma, BFFs—essentially anyone who is close to you and whose opinion you value and trust, advises Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio. “A few positive opinions will reinforce your decisions and help you stop being indecisive, which will help you to go on to the next step in the planning process,” she adds.

Keep things in perspective.

At the end of the day, wedding planning is a huge endeavor, so of course some of the decisions are going to be met with a little hesitation to say the least. However, while it’s one of the most amazing days of your life, you do need to keep things in perspective. “You’re marrying your best friend, while surrounded by dear friends and family,” says Jenny. “Your guests will only remember the amazing energy of the party and how you glowed when you walked down the aisle, not whether the roses were purple or pink.”

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4 Reasons Why It’s Not Worth Stressing About the Weather Ahead of Your Wedding

Let those worries go.

Contributing Writer
taylor-john-wedding-rain-bridesmaids-umbrella-19-s113035-0616.jpg

Photography by: Landon Jacob Photography

When it comes to the most special and important day of your life, it’s hard to not get at least a little worked up over the little details. However, it’s important to realize which factors are in—and out of—your control. One that you can’t predict or change, no matter how hard you try, is the weather. “While it can be a hassle if you are caught in a sudden downpour on the way to your ceremony, or if a freak snowstorm blows in the weekend of your wedding, it doesn’t have to ruin your wedding,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance.

 

She does recommend, however, that all couples have a backup plan in place for your wedding, especially if any part of your celebration will take place outdoors. To help you cope with the unpredictability that comes along with wedding weather, here are some key reasons why it’s not worth stressing over.

 

RELATED: WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU HAVE TO RESCHEDULE OR CANCEL YOUR WEDDING DUE TO THE WEATHER?

 

You can’t control it.

To really enjoy the wedding day to the fullest, Leah Weinberg, wedding planner, owner, and executive planner at Color Pop Events, urges brides and grooms to accept that certain things will happen that day that are outside of their control. “When those things happen, you’ve just gotta roll with it,” she says. “Embrace whatever happens and make the best of it—that advice goes for things other than weather, too.”

 

Stress might kill the mood.

Not only is stress bad for your own health, but it can impact the moods of those around you. “If you find yourself snapping at others due to the weather, it could potentially cause more permanent damage,” says Sabrina Zeile of Weddings By Sabrina. “Even though it’s your special day, it’s important to be considerate of others.” If the weather is poor, she suggests shifting your focus to another aspect of the wedding like dancing.

 

Inclement weather might enhance your photos.

Believe it or not, but rain can make for incredibly romantic photos with ideal lighting, so embrace it! “I’ve seen some stellar photos taken on rainy days, so if you’re bummed about the rain, just flip your mindset and think of all of the cool images that are going to come out of it,” says Weinberg.

 

Your wedding day will fly by.

What’s the use in spending the majority of it worried and stressed? It’s important to remember that this day will happen rain or shine, and it will fly by. Instead of spending this precious time stressed out, which can cause negative effects such as headaches, fatigue, upset stomach, and muscle pain, Zeile suggests relaxing and re-focusing so you can enjoy the moments you do have while they’re happening.

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Is a Destination Wedding Right for You?

A vacation and a wedding all wrapped in one sure sounds great—at least at first.

Contributing Writer
getaway car

Photography by: Abby Jiu Photography

One of the first big decisions you’ll have to make after putting that shiny new ringon your finger is choosing where you want to have your wedding. For many couples, the choice is simple, but for others it can involve a long, drawn-out decision-making process that can months. If you’re not tying the knot in your hometown, your partner’s hometown, or the city you both call home, you’re likely having a destination wedding. Although they’re not for everyone, a destination wedding can provide a sense of excitement (it’s basically a vacation where all of your favorite people are invited) and relief (your second cousins once removed likely won’t make it to Aruba).

 

To help you decide if you’re the type of couple who should tie the knot away from home, wedding planners took us through the questions they ask clients who are considering a far-flung celebraiton.

 

EXPERT TIPS FOR PLANNING A DESTINATION WEDDING

 

Do you want to get married far from?

Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio, points out that, by definition, a destination wedding is one that takes place at least 100 miles away from where you currently live. That’s about the distance between New York City and Hartford, Connecticut. You don’t have to feel any pressure to have your nuptials in a tourist attraction, though they are popular choices for couples planning destination weddings. “You could get married at a somewhat local bed and breakfast or a charming winery,” adds Lehman. “The most important thing is to consider a destination that appeals to your personalities, dreams, and interests.”

 

Who do you want to be there?

Destination weddings are usually smaller than a hometown wedding would be, as guests have to travel farther for the event. If you’re okay with this, great! If you’re in a situation where you feel obligated to invite several relatives or family friends but don’t really care if they show up, then even better. But it is important to remember that some of your close relatives and friends might not be able to physically travel or afford a plane ticket and hotel stay. Before you book anything, make a list of guests you want by your side, and then see if that core group of people can make it.

 

Can you afford a wedding planner?

Having a wedding planner is extremely helpful in ensuring your destination eventgoes smoothly. “Hiring someone that has the expertise and experience will greatly help when making decisions on quality and trusted vendors,” says Cristen Faherty, wedding and event planner at Cristen & Co Event Coordination & Design in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. “This person could either be a destination planner in your area or a local planner in your destination. Which ever you choose, you have to be willing to give up a little control and trust their recommendations.” Remember, you likely won’t have the luxury of meeting face-to-face with the majority of your vendors, so an on-site planner can represent you from afar.

 

How flexible are you when it comes to dress code?

Enforcing a black-tie dress code—a tux for men and a formal gown for women—is tough when you’re asking loved ones to pack their wedding attire in a suitcase and travel to what might be a totally different climate. That’s not to say it’s not allowed, but you should be comfortable with the fact that some of your guests might not follow suit (literally). If you’re okay with bare feet and flip flops on the dance floor (or sand), then go for it.

 

Are you willing to host more than one event?

When all of your wedding guests are traveling far and wide to be there for your big day, they expect that you’ll be hosting more than the ceremony and reception. Many destinations include welcome parties and daytime activities, like scuba diving or horseback riding, for their guests to enjoy more face time with the bride and groom.

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The Worst Wedding Advice Ever, According to Real Women

Written by Jenn Sinrich  Photo: Ellys Photography

 

You don’t have to be newly engaged or planning your big day to know that people love giving wedding advice of all kinds. Whether it’s suggestions on color scheme or recommendations on vendors, friends, family and, well, strangers you meet truly enjoy sharing their insight and personal preferences with you to help you with all sorts of decisions you’ll have to make. But before you cling onto their words of wisdom, know this: Their advice might be well-meant, but that doesn’t mean it’s well deserved.

“The uniqueness of a wedding stems from the individuality of the couple, therefore taking advice from just anyone may not work,” explains Tessa Brand of Tessa Lyn Events in Santa Monica, California. “Every couple has a different vision, budget and priority list so outside advice may be harmful rather than helpful.”

Here are some of the worst pieces of wedding advice people have received—and why you should be wary of following this “wedding wisdom.”

“Stick with tradition or you’ll regret it”

“I’m not a very religious or by-the-book person, but so many people warned me to keep my wedding as traditional as possible. They weren’t just talking about the white dress and vows—they were talking about everything, from the ‘something blue’ to the feeding each other wedding cake. I’m all for keeping certain traditions, especially ones I hold dear, alive, but this just felt too stiff and scripted for me.”—Kaleigh R.

The expert says: Do what feels right.

“Many old customs, traditions, and wedding advice are no longer relevant, or interesting to the current generation of brides and grooms,” explains Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio. In other words, these days it’s more accepted for couples to make their own, unique decisions when it comes to planning their big day.

“Use all my vendors—it will make planning easier”

“I was the maid of honor for my best friend and I enjoyed her wedding, but when it came time for me to plan my wedding, she was all over me about using her vendors—from her venue to her DJ. It was just she wanted me to do a repeat of her wedding. While I appreciate her suggestions and I do know that she had the best intentions, I wanted to do things my way. Many of the people who attended her wedding would also be attending mine, so I wanted to make sure that they, too, had a different experience and I didn’t want them comparing the two occasions.”—Rebecca O.

The expert says: Do your research to find the right wedding vendors for you.

Your friend may have planned her big day, but that doesn’t mean she did so for two events—both yours and hers. “Recommendations for vendors are great and are a valuable resource for anyone planning an event, but her vendors may not fit your needs for your wedding,” says Lehman.

“You don’t have to meet all vendors in person—it’s a waste of time.”

“When a co-worker told me this, it took so much energy for me to not say something. What the heck do they even mean? I knew from being a bridesmaid for my friends that it’s important that you know who is running your wedding—from the florist to the lighting tech. I was happy that my fiance agreed with me, especially because getting to know our vendors was the fun part!”—Ginny V.

The expert says: In-person meetings are essential.

Be sure to talk to actual wedding professionals, those who have been in their field of expertise for several years, and have references of satisfied customers that you can confirm with, Lehman suggests. So many important topics you’ll want to touch upon with these vendors, including their prefered structure and workflow and the personal touches that will make your day special, are best discussed in person so no details are left out.

“Wedding planners are a waste of money.”

“I foolishly took this wedding advice when planning my own nuptials and it’s something that I regret. Sure, wedding planners might not be for everyone, but I seriously could have used one. My fiance and I are both incredibly busy and live in a tiny apartment in a bustling city. It was so hard to travel to meet our vendors and communicate with our parents who didn’t live in the city parameters. I wish we had someone who was a professional at handling everything overall—someone who would communicate on our behalf to our vendors and our family. It would have taken a serious load off.”—Jen R.

The expert says: Wedding planners can be absolute life-savers.

At the very least, have a consultation with a wedding planner. “They can suggest several choices of vendors that will match your needs and budget and can also give you ideas and wedding advice to get started in your planning, such as color combinations, flowers in each season or a checklist of planning tasks,” says Lehman.

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5 Steps to Postponing a Wedding Because of Bad Weather

Written by Jenn Sinrich  Photo: Sam Stroud Photography

Any wedding planner or person who’s walked down the aisle can attest to the fact that there’s no such thing as a wedding going perfectly as planned. There will be bumps in the road to planning and executing your big day. And, while many of the obstacles that may arise can be overcome, others may be completely out of your control, for example postponing a wedding due to weather.

Most winter brides, especially those located in northern regions, are aware that their designated wedding date comes with the chance of snow, but those getting married during the three other seasons usually don’t have the slightest concern over anything more than rain preventing their wedding bells from ringing.

As we’ve come to realize, however, especially in recent years, natural disasters are happening more and more frequently. For this reason, it’s important for brides and grooms, as well as their families and friends, to be prepared for the unimaginable—and uncontrollable.

“It’s important to have a backup plan year round,” says Emily Sullivan of Emily Sullivan Events in New Orleans, Louisiana. “You could be contending with any kind of weather on your big day—it really varies depending on the region and situation, so it’s wise to have these conversations about the possibility of postponing a wedding with your wedding planner or coordinator prior to your wedding date.”

While having a plan B, C and even D early on is helpful, not all brides and grooms will—or can—be completely prepared. So if you get to the point in your wedding where postponing your wedding is imminent, here are expert strategies for how to handle the situation.

Step One: Ask for help

Even the most precise, organized and by-the-book wedding has its share of missing components. This means you likely won’t be able to handle all the tiny to-dos yourself. And this is especially true when dealing with something as catastrophic as a natural disaster. “If you are also personally affected with the crisis of a weather-related scenario (like we had here in Texas recently where bride’s home and her wedding venues were under water), you’ll need to enlist supportive help,” explains Cheryl Bailey of Yellow Umbrella Events in Austin, Texas. “Ideally, get the help of someone who’s not in the same situation as you, like your wedding planner or a friend or family member outside of the affected area, who can help you make decisions and start emailing and making calls.”

Step Two: Contact your venue immediately

“The sooner a couple gets in touch with their venue, the more options they will have surrounding the cancellation and hopefully not lose out on their deposits,” says Wendy Collins of Stowe Mountain Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Remember that your venue is at the very center of your big day, as it will virtually house all of the rest of your vendors, like your DJ or band, florist, officiant, etc. Bailey suggests working out a plan with your venue in regards to how you should move forward when it comes to postponing your wedding. For example, moving your wedding to the night before or the next day. If this option isn’t available to you, Bailey recommends choosing an entirely new wedding date and time. “It’s important to try and secure this new date immediately, as other weddings will likely be in the same situation as you and the next available dates may fill up quickly.”

Step Three: Contact the rest of your vendors

Once you’ve established a plan of attack, and have a new wedding date secured, email all of your vendors and make them aware of the situation. “It’s easiest to email the entire group of vendors at once with a blanket statement about what is happening and then all vendors can be in the loop,” says Bailey. “Most vendors are very understanding when it comes to a weather-related situation that’s out of your control and will be very accommodating if you need to reschedule, as long as they have your new date available.” Do remember, however, that some of them may be booked on your new date, so you may lose your security deposit. “If you should need to book new vendors, such as a DJ or a photographer, your wedding planner can help you find the right ones quickly through their extensive network,” adds Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio.

Step Four: Reach out to your guests

This one will likely be the most time-consuming, since you’ll likely have to reach out to certain friends or relatives via telephone as opposed to easier methods like email or social media. Bailey suggests starting by including as many guests as you have emails for on one email with information regarding the cancellation of your wedding and including information for a contact person they can reach out to in case they need further assistance.” Don’t hesitate to use your social media network, too. “Social media is your friend when postponing a wedding” she says. “You can always post on Facebook to let guests know what’s happening, or even start a private Facebook group where you add all of your guests, and even vendors, with the details of the cancellation and the reschedule date and details.” And be sure to update your wedding websitewith any updated information.

Step Five: Take a deep breath

By this point, overwhelmed doesn’t come close to describe how you and your partner are feeling. But, Bailey points out that the most important thing is that you and your guests are safe and out of harm’s way. “Stop, breathe deeply and calmly and focus on yourself and your partner and the fact that you are both together and able to handle this situation as a couple,” she says. Hold hands, hug, cry, laugh, pray—whatever you need to do to get by until you finally get to say say “I do!”

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How to Choose the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner Venue

Plus, other planning tips.

Contributing Writer
natalie jamey rehearsal dinner tables

Photography by: KT Merry

The second most important event of your wedding weekend will undoubtedly be your rehearsal dinner. Typically, this is a less-formal event during which close friends and family come together (generally following some form of wedding rehearsal) in celebration of the big event. It’s especially beneficial if many of your guests are coming from out of town, as it’s a nice excuse to spend more time together.

 

“The rehearsal dinner is one of the most anticipated and cherished traditions of a wedding celebration,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. “For many couples, this will be the first opportunity that their friends and family members will have to meet each other.” To make the most of this treasured evening, we asked twp wedding planners to explain how you should go about selecting the right venue for this important pre-wedding event.

 

THE ULTIMATE WEDDING REHEARSAL AND REHEARSAL DINNER CHECKLIST

 

Step 1: Determine your budget.

First and foremost, figure out how much money you have to spend on the rehearsal dinner. This will help you figure out what kind of event you’re able to have, and how many guests you can invite. Setting your budget also means figuring out who will be shouldering the cost. “Traditionally, the groom’s parentsare the hosts of the rehearsal dinner,” says Lehman. “Today, however, as more couples are paying for the expenses of the wedding themselves, the cost of the rehearsal dinner is often included in the overall budget.” Be sure to allow enough time to scout out the perfect venue, taking into consideration the overall cost of enough food and drinks for guests.

 

Step 2: Settle on a theme.

This is the fun part! Just as you likely chose a theme for your wedding, be it nautical, vintage-traditional, or rustic, you can have fun with the vision you choose for your rehearsal dinner. The food you choose can play a role in this effect as well. Are you big on Italian food? A lover of guac and chips? Don’t feel the need to go fancy just because your wedding day is upscale. “A rehearsal dinner can also be as casual as a pizza party or barbecue in the backyard of the couple’s home, or a local park,” says Lehman. “Generally, whoever hosts the dinner has creative control, taking into account their budget, and the tastes of the couple, aesthetically and gastronomically.”

 

Step 3: Find the right venue.

The rehearsal dinner is often held at a local restaurant or country club, but Lehman points out that any location will do. “A rooftop with a great view in the city, a nostalgic bowling alley, a private home, or a clambake or a bonfire on the beach are all great ideas,” she says. Though she does warn that it’s wise to choose a venue that’s close enough to the wedding ceremony that it provides guests the convenience of not having to travel too far. “Visit several venues to see if there are enough areas for seating and standing, clean restroom facilities, and friendly, well-trained wait staff,” she adds. Will the venue allow the wedding party to bring in decorations, entertainment, and catering as needed?  Will the venue be able to accommodate special dietary needs of guests? Will there be a dress code? These are all things she suggests considering when finding the right venue.

 

LITTLE WHITE LOOKS FOR EVERY WEDDING EVENT

 

Step 4: Finalize your invite list.

Just as your guest list for the big day is important (and likely involved some cutting), you can expect the same when it comes to your rehearsal dinner. “If you’re having a traditional rehearsal dinner, your guests are your VIPs: your immediate family, bridal party, and their dates,” says Tessa Brand, wedding and event planner and owner of Tessa Lyn Events. “A party this size should be able to fit in a private room in a restaurant.” However, if you are extending the invite to all guests, she says this is more of a “welcome party,” which means you will need a larger space. Knowing your approximate guest count will help you determine the price per guest. “Keep in mind, that even if you invite all your wedding guests, the acceptance for a welcome dinner will be lower than your wedding, as people arrive from out of town at different times.”

 

Step 5: Pick your ideal menu.

“The menu is probably the single most influential factor when debating where to have a rehearsal dinner,” says Lehman. “Many couples choose to host their rehearsal dinner in the location they met or where they had their first date.” This is cute and all, but remember that your rehearsal dinner can hold as much or as little meaning as you want. After all, you have a whole wedding dedicated to your love for each other the following day. Have fun and be adventurous! “Sharing the experience with those closest to the couple is what it’s all about,” Lehman adds.

 

Step 6: Plan your décor.

Once you’ve locked down your rehearsal dinner venue and selected from the menu options, your next to-do is décor. Brand suggests going with a completely different color scheme for your flowers, and switching up the décor from what you’ll have at your wedding. “While the idea of having one cohesive wedding weekend may sound ideal, it is much more fun to switch it up and will show you put thought into each event,” she says. “Plus, this leaves an element of surprise for your guests to see on your wedding day.” Floral additions are great, too, as they will easily last a few days and can be repurposed for a farewell brunch at the end of the weekend.

 

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6 Steps to Finding the Right Wedding Officiant for You

Written by Jenn Sinrich  Photo: Andrea Hallgren Photography

 

On the long, seemingly endless list of decisions to make about your big day, figuring out how to find a wedding officiant and choosing the right person for the job are pretty big ones. This person will not only officiate your wedding ceremony, but he or she will work with you in the months leading up to your nuptials to ensure that you’re ready for those wedding bells to ring. Some officiants even take engaged couples through what is similar to premarital counseling, which has shown to be an important part of the wedding process.

For many couples, finding the officiant that will marry them, is a task that is often overlooked until the last moment, but as Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio, points out, it’s a decision that should be made early on—at least eight months before the big day. Doing so not only helps you plan for the kind of ceremony and wedding you will have, but also the kind of marriage you are both hoping to have.

To help you choose wisely, we talked to wedding experts to uncover how to find a wedding officiant.

Decide whether you’ll be having a religious ceremony.

More and more weddings are taking place in non-religious or neutral venues, such as banquet halls or hotels. But this doesn’t limit you in choosing to have your officiant be religion-based. “If you decide that a religious ceremony is right for you, the first step is to seek an officiant from the pool of people already in you lives,” suggests Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events in Long Island City, New York. This could be a rabbi or pastor at your place of worship, or perhaps someone you used to attend services with when you were younger. If a couple decides to have a non-religious ceremony, there are many officiants who are not affiliated with a particular religion and can perform secular ceremonies.

Do some research on potential officiants.

When it comes to figuring out how to find a wedding officiant, there are many ways to go about this process. Unless you know your chosen officiant well, be sure to check out the credentials of those you may consider. Lehman suggests seeking out the references of other couples who’s this person officiated. “Additionally, make sure that they have the necessary licensing from their local community, and the state of residence,” she adds. “Too often, I hear stories about how an officiant performed a ceremony, and then the marriage was not considered valid since the person was not legally registered in their state.” Also, ask if the officiant has any advanced training or academic degrees in their field. The latter is not always necessary, but can be an asset. Be sure to use WeddingWire’s wedding officiant finder to read reviews of officiants in your area.

Confirm that he or she is a confident speaker.

“A good officiant is a good orator,” says Larissa Banting of Weddings Costa Rica in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. “They have confidence, speak clearly and understand how to create dramatic tension when necessary as well as levity, taking everyone on a journey with their words and voice.” While your ceremony is, indeed, about you and your spouse-to-be, and the love you share between the two of you, your officiant will be the ‘host of the show;’ the show being your wedding. “You don’t want someone who is overly dramatic, as they can drag everything down into the realms of parody,” she says. “Try to see them ‘in action’ either at a service or in a video from another wedding to gauge how strong their presentation skills are.”

Get to know your officiant on a more personal basis.

This individual is not only going to play an important role in your wedding, but the rest of your life, too. You will always remember the person who stood in front of you as you said your vows and put a ring on each other’s finger. For this reason, as well as many more, it’s wise to spend time getting to know this person if you do not already. “It’s impossible for me to imagine officiating at a wedding without meeting with the couple at least four times,” says Rabbi Robert Scheinberg, rabbi of the United Synagogue of Hoboken. “This is in part because of the large number of questions and issues that must be discussed when planning a Jewish wedding, but it is also because I want to make sure to really know the couple if I am going to be accompanying them at such a special and holy moment in their lives.”

Figure out is any planning obligations are involved.

“Most officiants require couples to fulfill a certain set of requirements and planning obligations,” explains Lauren Chitwood of Lauren Chitwood Events in Louisville, Kentucky. “The first, of course, is financial, but some officiants require premarital counseling, online training sessions or one-on-one meetings to determine if the couple is ready for marriage.” For this reason, it’s smart for couples to determine early on if they’re able to attend all of the necessary premarital meetings and fulfill the officiant’s requirements.

Rabbi Scheinberg, for example, requires that the couples he marries go through a sort of premarital counseling with him. “Considering that the marriage will last tens or hundreds of thousands of times longer than the wedding, it would make sense to devote much more time during the months leading up to the wedding to planning for the marriage in addition to planning for the wedding!” he says.

Make sure their values line up with yours.

Especially when it comes to religious ceremonies, values and levels of conservative or orthodox policies can cause issues when not ironed out early on. “A more conservative priest or minister may insist on including ‘obey’ in the bride’s vows or readings that have the wife as a subordinate to the husband, which can make a more modern bride’s blood pressure rise,” notes Banting. “If you’re a regular attendee of your house of worship, you likely will have an idea of what ideals your clergy holds and if they reflect yours, but if you’re not familiar with your potential officiant, be sure to ask for their ceremony script, complete with vows and any readings they want included.”

 

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