The Role of an Officiant

By Annamaria Heyliger-Hector, CWS

It is your happy day; you are putting on one of the biggest events of your life! An officiant is any qualified individual who presides over the ceremony. This individual must be ordained by a recognized religious body, university/college, seminary, city officials and acknowledged by the court. The role of the officiant varies from wedding to wedding.

The duty of the officiant is to assist you with your ceremony; you can write your own or use one that is appropriate for your special moment. This is a very serious stage in your life and also one that must follow the law as outlined in the state or territory. Each wedding ceremony is unique and the couple and environment is highly considered when agreeing to perform the ceremony.

Sometimes an officiant is called up to be a spiritual leader, counselor, confidant, etc. Nondenominational officiants who are not connected to particular religion or traditions allow the freedom to blend any cultural of religious influences that are important to the couple. The support of the officiant is important in making the couple feel comfortable. Keeping the love and commitment at the forefront will balance the couple spiritually and emotionally.

When selecting an officiant, it is important that the person not only have the required qualifications but the personality that will make things flow smoothly. The role of the officiant is to accommodate your wishes, offer guidance on the ceremony, environment, ensure that all of the legal requirements are met, attendance at the wedding rehearsal, meeting with the other professionals and finally making sure that the paperwork is filed with the court in a timely manner. With all that said, once everything has been decided a contract must be executed so that the role of the officiant is clear and the stage is set for the event.

A meeting with the wedding coordinator is important so that everyone understands the importance of the ceremony and any rituals. These include sand, dance, fire, rose, medallions, poems, glass breaking, unity candles, blessings, etc. Timeliness is important to the flow of the wedding so it begins with the ceremony being on time. If it is a large bridal party a meeting should be held with members of the family and friends regarding protocol so that everyone is in their right place at the right time.

Most officiants will be invited to attend the wedding rehearsal and should use this time to familiarize themselves with the members of the wedding party. This is a good time to make any last minute adjustments and develop a better bond with the couple and minimize any difficult family and/or other relationship stressors.

All eyes will be on the couple and the officiant so it is important for the officiant to wear the appropriate attire for the ceremony. An officiant must be able to speak clearly and be well organized.

As a certified wedding special/ event planner and officiant, I embrace couples of all faiths, cultures and traditions. I am the connection between you and your guests for the fabulous ceremony and I want everyone to go away with a feeling of love and great memories of the special day. I am really looking forward to your ceremony!

Contact Annamaria Heyliger-Hector, CWS at 340-513-1971 for questions about choosing your officiant in St. Croix.

Photo: Elegant wedding couple Renise and Floyde James at their wedding, Point Udall St. Croix’s Millennium Monument. Photo courtesy of Denise Bennerson.

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