Our Role as Wedding Officiants

Engaging a marriage Officiant is often the last item on a Bride and Groom’s “Things to Do” list.  Nonetheless, Bill and I know that selecting the person to perform the wedding ceremony is a very important decision.  After all, the wedding ceremony is the highlight of the wedding day.

If a couple asks one of us to marry them, we consider it an honor. We take pride in our relationships with our Brides and Grooms leading up to their first kiss as a married couple – their Wedding Kiss – and afterward when we wish them good luck as they go on their way to begin their lifetime together as husband and wife.

Bill and I are anxious to share our years of experience and knowledge to assist our Brides and Grooms in creating beautiful and heartfelt wedding ceremonies.  Bill is a Retired Judge and I am a Former Mayor and we are both Interfaith Officiants.  We have the credentials to marry couples in New York State, New York City and beyond.

Once a couple decides to marry, they start to think about where to have the wedding ceremony. The options are unlimited – catering venues, restaurants, home, backyard, museums, public gardens or beaches. The Bride and Groom may be of different faiths, religions or cultures.  A couple may decide to marry in a house of worship or to have a religious, civil, interfaith or another type of ceremony.  Bill and I enjoy meeting with Brides and Grooms to help create an appropriate ceremony, a process that is respectful of the Bride’s and Groom’s beliefs, desires, backgrounds and any other considerations either of them may have. After the initial meeting, we continue to interact via phone, e-mail or in person to finalize the ceremony.

When we are contacted by a couple interested in our services, we offer to schedule a meeting. A sample ceremony and other information are e-mailed to the couple to help them understand the elements and flow of a typical wedding ceremony. The couple must reserve the Officiant for the date, time and place of the wedding.  Our calendar fills up 1 to 2 and sometimes even 3 years in advance.  Many weddings are booked between April 1 and mid- November.

An e-mail or a fax copy of the Marriage License is required at least a week or two before the wedding day.  The original License must be in the hand of the Officiant on the wedding day.  It is the Officiant who is legally responsible for having the marriage recorded.

Bill and I arrive early at the venue where we are to perform the wedding. If wedding pictures are being taken, we don’t interrupt.  Instead we go about our duties which vary from place to place.  We check the microphone and touch base with the photographers, musicians, catering managers and others.

At an appropriate time, I speak to the Bride and Groom to learn of any last-minute changes. I explain to the person presenting the Bride, usually the father, what is expected of him, and I review with the Maid of Honor, Best Man, readers, and others participating, their respective roles.  Two witnesses to the marriage will be asked to sign the Marriage License; they are usually the Maid of Honor and Best Man. New York City Marriage Licenses must also be signed by the Bride and Groom.

A wedding rehearsal may take place before the guests arrive–with or without the Bride depending on whether she wants the Groom to see her before the ceremony.

In some instances the Officiant is called upon to organize the bridal party for the processional, particularly if the wedding is in a restaurant, home or outdoor setting.

The most loving and tender moment of the Wedding Ceremony for Bill and me is when we say to the Groom, “You may now kiss your lovely Bride.”  We see the Wedding Kiss as the start of a lifetime of happiness for every couple we have the honor of marrying.

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