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Many people take the choice of a wedding officiant for granted. In fact, even the search process is put on the back burner because of concerns that are determined to be much more important. We urge you to not do this. You might end up with someone just reads everything off a piece of paper and who has zero personality. A quality wedding officiant can actually make your ceremony a lot of fun and at the same time very special for all involved. How about someone with a sense of humor? You need someone who is has been through the wedding wars and knows how to roll with potential hiccups. Someone who really knows the inner workings of a wedding ceremony will be able to gloss over all kinds of issues to the point where when you look back you will be so happy that you took the time to hire a true professional. And the beauty of it is your guests will never be the wiser. The San Francisco area has millions of potential officiants. Well, maybe not millions, but quite a few. How do you go about finding and hiring the perfect one for you? Well, that is something that will take some investigation and we are here to help you.

The first thing that you need to do is to figure out what type of ceremony you desire. Sit down together and figure out what the mood and feel will be of your ceremony. Will it be traditional or modern? Are you going to have a religious or a secular service? How long do you want it to last? Once you have settled these questions, you can start looking for potential officiants. Have you been to any weddings lately where you really thought the officiant did an outstanding job? Do a Google search for “wedding officiants in the San Francisco area.” Start generating a list of a few potential candidates. Which candidates are available on your wedding date? Setup a time to find out what they might be able to do for you. Find out what they think makes them different from any other wedding officiant out there. How much can you customize the ceremony? Are there very specific things that you would like to see in your ceremony. Are they alright with those things?

Have them provide you some references of people they have married. Make sure you get their first hand account of how the officiant preformed. Check out any reviews that might exist online by typing their name into a Google search. They should be able to show you programs they have used in the past. Do you like what you see or are they far away from what you had in mind? Are there any elements that they absolutely must have in the ceremony? How flexible are they? Officiants' calendars can get filled pretty far in advance, so it would be advisable to begin interviewing a few months in advance of your wedding date to ensure finding one that you resonate with that also has your date available.

How much do they charge for their services? It shouldn't be a crazy amount. Do they require a deposit?When is the balance due? Do they recommend that you meet a few times to get to know each other? Is your venue within reasonable distance for them to drive. Are they willing to be at your rehearsal? They really need to be there. When all of the interviews are over, compare each candidate and let their answers lead you to the right one for you. Don't scrimp on your officiant fee; after the bride and groom, s/he is the most important component to the wedding. Without him/her, the rest is just an expensive party!

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JAN EWERS, an ordained Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Counselor
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