Before The Marriage Ceremony (Photo)

Marriage Officiant 101: Basic Training For Ceremonial Ministers

Lesson 1: Wedding Officiant Basics

In this lesson, we will cover the primary roles of a Wedding Officiant, including how to become ordained to legally perform marriage ceremonies, and what the Officiant does before, during and after the wedding.

First, let’s dispatch with the basic nomenclature: “Wedding Officiant,” in common parlance, is anyone who performs the legal process of marrying two people. A Wedding Officiant can be a minister of any faith, a priest, a rabbi, an imam — even an everyday person who has received a license (either temporary or permanent) to perform marriage ceremonies. Regardless of your religious background (or lack thereof), if you are performing a wedding, you are serving as the Officiant.

While becoming ordained for the ministry or priesthood can take many years and may require intensive study in the doctrine of your faith so that you may properly instruct and guide your congregants in your doctrine, serving as an Officiant is a very different role.

In the United States, as an example, you are granted the right and the freedom to preach and minister under the nation’s Constitution — you are guaranteed both the Freedom of Religion and the Freedom of Speech.

However, to be a Baptist¬†minister or Catholic priest or Jewish rabbi, you’ll need to attend a seminary or rabbinical school, and learn the specific ways that each of these faiths conducts its religious ceremonies, including weddings, funerals and baby blessings — a Catholic funeral mass and a Jewish funeral service are quite different events!