Some couples choose their officiant as soon as they have a venue reserved. Others forget that detail until it's nearly too late. Just like photographers and venues, the best officiants are also booked up to a year in advance.
Here are some helpful tips and answers for when it comes time to choose an officiant / minister.
Q. Who performs weddings in Oregon?
A. To legally perform a marriage ceremony in Oregon, one must be a Judge, Justice of Peace, County Clerk or a person ordained by a religious organization and given the authority to perform marriages.
Q. How do I find the right officiant or minister for my wedding?
A. If you belong to a church, you could contact your pastor / priest / rabbi / clergy, and ask if they are willing to perform your marriage ceremony. If they are willing or available, often times they require classes, counseling and have restrictions on location and ceremony choices. Although they may be very good at preaching a sermon, that doesn't neccessarily mean they do well with weddings.
You may want to consider hiring a professional wedding officiant. Wedding officiants legally perform marriages and generally don't have any restrictions about ceremony style, wording, location or pre-marital requirements.
A reputable officiant will most likely have a informative website to help answer many of your questions, will return emails and phone calls, can be found on many different vender referral sites and has recommendations and reviews from many peers and wedding couples.
Q. How do I choose the right officiant?
A. Talk to them. Corespond with them. Schedule a free consultation with them if you live in the area. Read reviews and recommendations. Some officiants you may find have only performed a few weddings, and most of those were for friends. Choose someone with experience, knowledge and a personality that you feel comfortable with.
Q. How much does a professional officiant / minister charge for weddings?
A. This varies greatly. You might find someone advertising on Craigslist that will do it for next to nothing, just to get experience. You may find someone charging as high as $600.00.
It all comes down to what you are looking for in an officiant. The average professional wedding officiant / celebrant may charge anywhere from $250 - $600. Generally there is a LOT more that goes into that than just showing up on a specified day and marrying someone.
Q. What do I get from a professional wedding officiant?
A. Usually you would correspond by email or phone to discuss date, location and general information. The next step would be to schedule a Free no-obligation consultation to discuss the wedding, share ideas, get to know each other, etc. (if you live out of state this may not take place)
Once both parties agree that they are a good fit, then a deposit should be placed to hold the date and time and a contract should be signed. You never want to assume someone will perform your ceremony without this. They could change their mind, make other plans or take a higher paying offer at the last minute.
Q. What should I look for in a professional wedding officiant / minister?
A. Experience, Personality, Genuine, Good Reputation in the Industry, Clear speaking voice with enough volume to be heard by guests, Outgoing, Friendly, Flexible, Open Minded, Organized, Prompt, Able to Coordinate Events.
Q. If I live in Washington but I'm getting married in Oregon, where do I get the Marriage License?
A. You must obtain a license from a County in the State that you are getting married in. Any County Clerk's office in that State can issue you a marriage license for you wedding. Contact the County prior before going, to inquire about their requirements, hours, locations and method of payment. It does vary County to County.
Q. Are there female wedding officiants and celebrants in Oregon?
A. Yes. I would have to say there are more female wedding officiants than men. Choose whichever you feel most comfortable with.
Q. Can a person "Elope" in Oregon?
A. Absolutely!! You have the options of courthouse elopements, which are less appealing, non-personal, restrictive on hours and days and not such a great environment, or you can elope by finding a wedding officiant that has flexible hours and schedule to create just what you are looking for. Elopements can be just as meaningful and memorable as a big expensive wedding. The possibilities are endless when it's just the two of you or with 2 close friends as witness.
Q. What can I expect from a professional officiant -vs- having a friend or inexperienced person do it?
A. Besides the obvious, (professionalism, guarantee, experience) you would most likely get a customized ceremony created to fit your style, personality, beliefs and wishes. You would also get a lot of help with the rehearsal. Most people have no idea how to run a wedding rehearsal. An experienced officiant can coordinate, direct and make a rehearsal run smooth and successful which increases your chances of a flawless wedding day ceremony. Your officiant will know how to properly fill out a marriage certificate, marriage license and file it promptly with the correct County officials. Your officiant will know about things to suggest based on experience and help you avoid mistakes. Your officiant will coordinate and work together with all of your other venders at the ceremony such as, DJ, Wedding Planner, Photographer, Venue coordinator, Videographer and more so that everyone works smoothly together with one goal in mind... THE BEST WEDDING EVER!
Hopefully this answers some of your questions. Feel free to leave a comment or email Beverly Mason of The Radiant Touch Weddings directly to ask questions or inquire about officiating services.
For more elopement ideas, ceremony samples, unity options, vow selections and more, visit www.TheRadiantTouch.com
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