When we came across this video taken at a recent wedding of a Priest interrupting the ceremony to ‘kick out’ the photographer, we felt sorry for the blissful couple. However, confrontations like this do happen from time to time with officiants. This video has been making its way through all the social media streams and blogs and has brought about some important questions. How much control does the officiating party actually have on your wedding day; and How can a similar occurrence be avoided from ruining your all-to-important vows?
For a Priest or Minister in a churchlike setting, the rule of thumb is that the church is their home; therefore, their home means their rules. Before booking your church make sure you ask the right questions and ensure that your expectations and their ‘house rules’ coincide so you can eliminate any embarrassing scenarios.
If your wedding is not in a religious home and you are hiring a justice of the peace, it may be a lot more flexible, however the officiant may still have very specific rules that will need to be respected.
Here are a few questions that you are going to want to ask before you decide on who will be marrying you:
1. Will the officiant be conducting the rehearsal as well as the ceremony? If not, who will and are you comfortable with that?
2. Do you have a good rapport with the officiant?
3. Do they have restrictions about certain décor or florals in the church?
4. What are their rules for photography & videography? Are there areas restricted to vendors?
5. Is there a specific dress code? Some churches do not permit exposed shoulders or cleavage; women may not be allowed to wear pants & must wear knee length or longer dress/skirts; men must wear pants not shorts etc.
6. Will your wedding planner be permitted to help out at the wedding ceremony (lining up your wedding party, lighting candles etc) or does the officiant have a coordinator that they prefer to take care of the ceremony details?
7. Is there a fee or donation for their service and/or will you need to put aside a gratuity for the officiant, musicians, cantors etc?
8. Do you need to be a member of the religious community in order to have your wedding at your chosen location?
9. What is the capacity of the site and are there seats? Will all your guests be able to sit or will they need to stand?
10. Are there restrictions to the type of music you can select for your processional, signing of the registry and recessional?
Always keep in mind that respect is a two way street and your wedding ceremony is the main event.