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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Choosing Your Officiant—Fast!

What's the fastest way to find an officiant for your wedding ceremony? Use the person affiliated with your house of worship. If you don't have a house of worship, here are some time-tested ways to find an officiant fast:

  • Join a house of worship. We talked about this option earlier. If you're eventually going to be raising children in a certain religion, sooner or later you'll need to belong to a house of worship. If the timing and location of your wedding permit you to do so, join a local house of worship so not only will you have a place to get married but also someone to marry you.

  • Call your town office to see if the mayor or a local judge is available. If you don't want someone religious to marry you, see if the town office can recommend a nondenominational officiant.

  • Use a college religious leader. If you've decided to tie the knot at your alma mater, ask if the campus religious leader is available to marry to you.

  • Have a family friend do it. A couple I know grew up next door to a family where the father and mother were both Episcopal priests. When she decided to get married, she asked if these lifelong friends and neighbors would officiate. Even though she was getting married outside of a church, they agreed. Might you have a family friend who can officiate at a wedding? Ask him or her to marry you.

  • Ask a nearby hotel or reception location to recommend someone. Any commercial center that hosts weddings on a regular basis is bound to have a Rolodex filled with the names and phone numbers of officiants. If there's a facility nearby that has a good reputation, such as a hotel that consistently gets rave reviews or where you've had guests of your own stay, call and ask them for their recommendations.

Finding an Interfaith Officiant

If the two of you don't share the same religious background, the easiest thing for you to do might be to find an interfaith officiant. The following websites are good places to start to learn more about what constitutes an interfaith officiant—and an interfaith marriage—and to find an officiant who is right for you:

If you want to use a religious officiant and you still haven't located one, you're going to need to go on a fact-finding mission that takes you from house of worship to house of worship.

Dedicate one weekend to visiting as many houses of worship as you can find in your targeted wedding area. Of course, you should narrow down your list to only those denominations that fit with your background or current views on faith. And if you're going to stay for services, you may have to spread this task out over a couple of weekends so you won't have to rush from one church or synagogue to another.

If you're unsure of where the houses of worship are in your area, you may find the following websites worthwhile:

  • http://www.worshiphere.org. The Worship Here website lets you search for houses of worship, in most denominations, via ZIP code.

  • http://www.parishesonline.com. Parishes Online is a compilation of Roman Catholic Churches across the United States. It also lets you search for parishes via ZIP code.

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