As a wedding planner, I am continually surprised how the planning of the ceremony seems to take a backseat to the reception by couples. Maybe it’s because the ceremony is my favorite part, but also isn’t the ceremony to see a couple get married kind of the whole point of a wedding? Perhaps it’s that couples don’t know where to begin with planning their ceremonies or how to make them as special and personal to them. Or, it is that so many people have gone down the route of having a friend or family member get ordained and performing the ceremony, even though they have never done it before and are not able to help guide a couple through the planning. This is definitely where having a professional officiant comes in handy.
We spoke with Susan Lee-Wright of Perfect Day Ceremonies and Affordable I Do’s, a professional officiant company in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. With over 15 years experience, Susan was a great person to chat with about some of the common questions I get about officiants and ones that you may have had yourself.
I first asked her about what the benefit was of having a professional officiant perform the wedding ceremony. Susan cites a few reasons why someone should go with a professional officiant, but the main one is experience. They have seen it all and know how to manage the unexpected for the ceremony.
Next, we got into the popular trend of having someone they know get ordained. One of the reasons people like to use a friend or family member for their wedding is because they feel it will be more personal, but Susan points out you can absolutely get that with a professional as well. A professional officiant will get to know the personalities of the couple so they can help to incorporate them into the ceremony, and even recommend ways to involve friends or family to help personalize it. A friend or family member may know you better, but that doesn’t mean they will know how to make your ceremony personal and special.
Running the wedding rehearsal can also be part of what an officiant does, and is NEVER something that the couple should do. Susan reminds us that the couple is there to have fun too, and to enjoy themselves. If you’ve ever been to a wedding rehearsal, you know that they aren’t really that fun. It’s when many people are seeing each other in a long time, or perhaps just meeting for the first time, and everyone is a bit squirrely and really just wants to get that over with to head to the rehearsal dinner. She said that someone has to be working the rehearsal, be in charge, and be the professional that advocates for the couple’s wishes. If you have a professional officiant at a wedding we will work with them at the rehearsal. If your officiant does attend the rehearsal, we will run it in their absence.
Another trend that we love that is happening is doing an unplugged ceremony, and Susan had a lot to say when I asked her why she thought so many couples were choosing to do so. One point she made was that a lot of couples have seen photos from other weddings where people have been holding phones up or looking down into them and not being present in the moment. Susan said that if you spent time thinking about and planning your wedding ceremony to be personal and special, don’t you want people to pay attention? Your photographer will also very much appreciate not having anyone in the way while they do their job.
Finally, I talked to her about how working with a Wedding Planner helps her succeed better in her role, and Susan said that a professional wedding planner is the most important member of the team. For how she works with them, it’s having a partner during the hard times like rounding people up for the processional and cuing them down the aisle. Overall she said that a planner or coordinator will also put out all the little fires that the couple is hopefully never even aware of.
There are many more points we touched on, so be sure to watch the full video below:
Photo: RJ Kern Photography
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Content from Keyed Up Events, a Minneapolis Wedding Planner