Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Should I have the warm + fuzzies for my wedding officiant?

March 14, 2011


I'm getting married in two months. Neither my fiance nor I are religious and have decided a JOP/judge is the way to go for our officiant.

My question is, for non-religious brides, are you supposed to feel a connection to the officiant? I've met with one very nice officiant who has a calm voice, an authoritative presence and excellent reviews from past brides (found online, not on his personal website). But I don't have much of a rapport with him. I'm sure he'll show up on time on the day of and make the ceremony feel official, special even, given his reviews online.  But I'm wondering, should I have the warm and fuzzies for him? Or is it normal, especially when having a non-religious ceremony, to feel a little more distant from the person officiating your wedding?

Any advice is much appreciated!
Confused in Chicago


May 11, 2011

Yipes, I'm late writing to you. Any updates?


May 21, 2011


Greetings from the land of newly returned honeymooners! I can't tell you how happy I am that I never have to plan a wedding again for the rest of my life. (And that includes if fate deals me a bad hand and I get divorced/widowed. Screw wedding planning. I'm eloping next time.)

So, in short, I can tell you that you absolutely should have a rapport with your officiant (although warm fuzzies are not required). I can also tell you that it will matter very little how your officiant looks or acts on your wedding day. Because you really will not notice.

In the end, I listened to my gut and called a few other judges in Chicago. The first judge I talked to wasn't available on our wedding day but was incredibly nice and friendly, and I immediately felt better just talking to him. He recommended another judge, who I talked to on the phone and was personable and professional. He was available on the day of, he didn't suggest anything about a sand ceremony, unity candle or giving roses to every important female in the room (gag me with a spoon) and once we booked with him he sent us a secular wedding template for us to consider for our ceremony. We tweaked it, edited it, added in the vows we'd already picked out, and writing our ceremony together one sunny afternoon in April is one of my favorite memories about the wedding preparation process.

I never met our officiant in person before the wedding day. Before our ceremony, he arrived early, met separately with myself and my husband, gave us pointers on where to stand, got the wedding license and his remaining payment, and headed out to the ceremony area. He did an excellent job, he had a great voice, and he even threw in a sweet addition at the beginning of the ceremony that really set the tone. But ultimately, my eyes were on my man, my future husband, the whole time. He and I just stood there grinning at each other, having the most romantic staring contest - we couldn't take our eyes off each other (see attached photo - one of my many favorites from the day). Once we were pronounced husband and wife, we ran for the nearest private space and had several quiet minutes alone. I never even said goodbye to the officiant, who slipped out after the ceremony, simply because he knew his job was done and we were fine.

So, yes, it's important to feel a rapport with your officiant. Don't book someone you don't feel comfortable talking to or that you don't like the idea of speaking to all your friends and family for 10-15 minutes. If they give you pushback on anything you really want - including a template of the ceremony - look for another person. But also don't worry about the day of - your focus will so not be on the person wearing judges robes, priest robes, etc. It'll be on the only other person in the room dressed as awesomely as you are, grinning like a fool.

Contented in Chicago


Speaking of wedding officiants... It felt like the right day to publish this one.


  1. please tell me we're bringing back gag me with a spoon

  2. there should be a gag me with a spoon pinterest board.

    great post...nice to hear from a bride after the wedding for once! isn't it nice to be on the enlightened "other side" of it all?

  3. I prefer "fuck me gently with a chainsaw." And, yes, rapport is important.

  4. and they got married at The Garfield park Conservatory?!?!? Beautiful.