To go from engaged couple to Mr. and Mrs., it takes paperwork...

Marriage laws vary from state to state (and sometimes county to county), so start doing your homework 3 or 4 months before the wedding.  Also, there's the matter of your Officiant.  If you have a special pastor or rabbi, or a family member or friend who is a judge or certified Officiant, this may be a no-brainer.  If not, you'll find yourself shopping around for an Officiant along with bridesmaid dresses and party favors.  Don't leave this until the last minute and don't bargain shop - the Officiant, not just the floral altar, sets the tone for the ceremony and communicates the spirit of your union.  Remember, all eyes may be on you, but all ears will be on the Officiant.  So choose wisely.

Warm, thoughtful, experienced, good-humored, and dependable.  These are the qualities that make up an excellent Officiant.  Some of the questions below apply to all officiants; other are specific to Officiants-for-hire or clergymen affiliated with a house of worship.  You'll learn alot by the way a prospective Officiant answers your questions and by how much time they're willing to give to the discussion.  If you are not getting good vibes, move on.

*Tell us a little about your thoughts on wedding ceremonies.  Have you performed many?

*Can we write our own vows?

*Are there any restrictions on what you will and will not allow in a ceremony?

*How long is a typical ceremony?

*What is the fee or requested donation?  Is there a deposit required?

*What does the fee include?

*Will you be doing other weddings that day?  What happens if you're running late or can't make it?

*Will you lead a rehearsal?

*How many times would you like to meet with us before the wedding?

*Is it acceptable to include a pet in the ceremony?

*We have children.  How will you make them feel part of the ceremony?

*We are an interfaith couple.  Does this pose any problems?  Will you be willing to co-officiate?

*When do you sign the marriage license?  At the ceremony or beforehand?

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