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Ceremony officiants can celebrate a variety of different types of wedding ceremonies.  The traditional marriage ceremony takes place in a church and is celebrated by a priest, but there are many variations on this depending on your religion and nationality, and the level of formality and kind of marriage you choose to have. In addition to determining the level of formality and kind of marriage that you want, you will also have to decide if you want a civil wedding or a religious marriage ceremony.

Many couples prefer a more personal marriage ceremony (at home, in a museum, on a boat, in a garden, etc.) or one that reflects their personnalities and interests (skiing, underwater, on horseback…). The theme that you select will greatly influence the development and final form of the ceremony.

You must plan a meeting with your ceremony officiant to agree on a date and time, as well as to discuss the ceremony details and prepare the ceremony texts. It is important to know the ceremony officiant’s full name and title. If you don’t know the officiant personally, don’t hesitate to do some research to validate their permit. You want to make sure that your marriage will be official and legally recognized.

Discuss all the details about the officiant and ask about any rules or restrictions to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Here is a list of recommended questions to ask your ceremony officiant.


  1. Are you available on our wedding date and time?
  2. Do we need proof of divorce for a second wedding?
  3. Do we need to be a member of this church, temple or synagogue?
  4. Do we need to take premarital classes? For how long?
  5. How long is the marriage ceremony and how much time will we have for photographs afterwards?
  6. Is there a scenic area for taking wedding pictures?
  7. Is there any ceremony or other function before or after our wedding ceremony?
  8. Are there any restrictions on wedding attire (such as no bare shoulders or back, mandatory veil, etc.)?
  9. May we write or choose sections of the ceremony, such as our wedding vows or favourite religious passages?
  10. Must all religious readings be religious? If so, do you have a list of suggested readings?
  11. Can we include special family or ethnic wedding traditions?
  12. How many guests can the church or synagogue comfortably hold?
  13. How many wedding attendants can the facility handle?
  14. Are there any restrictions on taking pictures or filming videos during the wedding ceremony?
  15. If not, where may the wedding photographer and cameraman stand? Is the use of special lighting or flashbulbs prohibited?
  16. Do you have an organ, piano or sound system?
  17. Do you use a wireless microphone during the wedding ceremony? (If so, you'll need to make sure the frequency doesn’t interfere with the microphones used by the cameraman and vocalist.)
  18. Are the wedding guests allowed to take photos during the ceremony?
  19. Can we bring our own soloist or organist, or must we use the house performer? (You may be charged a fee, even if you bring your own musicians.)
  20. When can we make an appointment with the organist to select the wedding ceremony music?
  21. Are the wedding guests allowed to throw rice, birdseed, or flower petals? Can they do it inside the church, temple or synagogue or out on the steps?
  22. What kind of floral arrangements and wedding decorations are permitted?
  23. Can you suggest ways to include children or special guests in the wedding ceremony?
  24. What is the procedure for signing the marriage certificate?
  25. How many witnesses are needed?
  26. What fees are required for the use of the facility and the organist, additional musicians, and the ceremony officiant? Specify the other fees.
  27. Where can we hold the receiving line and how much time is allowed for it?
  28. Will the entire wedding ceremony be printed in a bulletin or wedding program (to make it easy for the guests to follow)?
  29. For a Catholic officiant: Does this church allow non-Catholics to take communion?
  30. For a Jewish officiant: Does this temple require non-Jewish men to wear a yarmulke?
  31. Are there any restrictions on music for the ceremony?
  32. Are there any fire code restrictions (for example, regarding the use of candelabras or unity candles)?
  33. May we hold a candlelight ceremony?
  34. Are any wedding accessories provided (such as aisle runners, pew or seat decorations, a chuppah or candelabras)?
  35. Is there a special place for the bride and bridesmaids to prepare for the ceremony?
  36. How many electrical outlets and mirrors are in the room?
  37. Is there adequate heating or air conditioning?
  38. We are planning an interfaith ceremony. How can we arrange for the officiants from both our faiths to co-celebrate?
  39. Can you explain the order of the ceremony processional and the recessional to us?
  40. Where should the guest readers keep their readings? (Will the readings be placed on a podium or a lectern, or should the readers carry a copy up to the altar?)
  41. Should we arrange for the services of a traffic officer?
  42. When can we schedule a rehearsal for the ceremony?
  43. Is there a reception area and are there any special requirements or restrictions for that area?
  44. Do you have wheelchair accommodations?
  45. What are the fees for your services?
  46. What are your terms of payment?


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