Do we send an invitation?
By custom, you invite your officiant to your rehearsal dinner as a guest. You also invite the officiant and his or her spouse to your reception with a formal invitation, just like other guests. Unless the officiant is an old family friend, he or she may decline to stay, but an invitation is proper. You aren’t expected to invite the officiant’s children.

Can you use a friend as an officiant?
It’s done all the time, and can make weddings very personal. A father, mother, or the friend who introduced you can make for an amazing event. Be sure to pick someone comfortable speaking in front of large crowds, and brush up on your state’s laws and licensing requirements. Here’s a good site to begin your research:

www.northernway.org/marriagelaws.html

Your chosen friend or family member can become ordained “instantly and online” at the Universal Life Church, which in some areas will enable them to perform legal weddings. Again, be sure of your state’s laws. Many times, ministers ordained by ULC will also have to register in their state and obtain a license before they can practice. Call your local county clerk for clarification.

Universal Life Church: www.ulc.org

Do I meet with the officiant before or after booking, and what should I expect at the meeting?
Ideally, an officiant will allow a “getting to know you” meeting before you book them, though not all will. Most at least offer telephone interviews, which helps you see how they fit with your personal style.

During your first meeting, the officiant will typically tell you about his or her background, discuss the logistics, bring up any premarital counseling requirements, ask some questions about your personal history, and show you a sample ceremony script. This is a good time to discuss special unification ceremonies or personal vows, bring up interfaith issues, and learn whether your officiant plans to attend your rehearsal.

About the Author:
Blake Kritzberg is editor at “FavorIdeas.com.” Stop by for a huge selection of wedding favors, Bridezilla’s weekly adventures, and free resources for brides: save-the-date eCards, screensaver, wallpaper and web site templates. http://www.favorideas.com