So you live 300 miles away from the Outer Banks and you have to somehow choose an officiant who you can trust. Someone who will take good care of you in one of the biggest moments in your life. “Wow, where do I start? What do I ask?” Of course, you’ve already done some online recon with websites and reviews, but there is still nothing like actually talking with a potential wedding officiant in person, or at least on the phone. Here are 5 questions (among others you will think of) that you should ask in order to put yourself in a good position to make a smart choice.

Question #1: “What is your background?”

Don’t just assume this has been their life career or something they’ve been doing for 10 years. With the advent of online certifications, pretty much anyone can become a wedding officiant and slap a website up for all to see. Finding out more about their journey to where they are now on the Outer Banks will help you know quite a bit. You’ll find out about their professional training and career experiences. Another thing to tie into this question would be “What else do you do for a living on the Outer Banks?” Do you want someone who has 4 jobs, or someone who places all their focus on one thing – Creating beautiful beach weddings!

Photo Credit: Lori Douglas Photography

Question #2: “How would you personalize our ceremony?”

Over the thousands of couples I have talked with, I’ve never heard one say, “We just want you to read a ceremony script where our names are plugged in.” No surprise, right? But that’s exactly what a lot of officiants do, so definitely ask how they would make your wedding fit you from start to finish. You’ll find out what their plan is to get to know your likes, dislikes, choices, story, etc. You don’t want an officiant who doesn’t have history with you to pretend like they do, but there are very professional ways to make the ceremony scream personality and reflect YOU. Make this a huge priority and you’ll be so happy you did. So will all your guests.

Photo Credit: Basnight Photography

Question #3: “What packages do you offer?”

This is just another way of saying, “How much are your fees?”, but you’ll get more information on this officiant by asking about packages. Do they offer ceremony designs that include chairs and arches, etc. You’ll find out if they offer discounts or promotions, or make it appealing to those who serve in the military. It’s important to know what is included in each package, as well as what is not (for example, a rehearsal!). If the officiant you are talking with tries to avoid the question of fees, it very likely is a sign to look somewhere else. The officiant should be proud of his/her services and not apologetic or embarrassed about their fee structure. You want the best!

Photo Credit: Coleman Shots Photography

Question #4: “What makes you unique from other Outer Banks officiants?”

This could be the most revealing question of all 5. It will tell you a lot of how the officiant sees himself/herself in the roll of performing a wedding ceremony. In many ways, the personality of the officiant is going to impact the feel and texture of your ceremony. There is just no getting around that. If the officiant is stiff and unsure, your wedding will be stiff and unsure. If the officiant is unprofessional, your ceremony will be the same. But if your officiant is authentic, fun, and totally committed to a ceremony that fits you, your wedding is going to be a homerun. Yes, it’s good to watch some videos of officiants in action, but definitely ask this question.

Photo Credit: Matt Lusk Photography

Question $5: “What is the last minute plan in case of an emergency!”

I’m so surprised that I don’t get asked this question more often. What would happen if your officiant is too sick, or gets in a car wreck, or is just unable to attend because they had a family emergency? I’ve been very fortunate in the last 15 years to have never had this come up, but it’s always a possiblity, and your officiant should have a “plan” just in case. In my case, I have 3 or 4 officiant friends who I know I could call the day before (or even the day of) if an emergency where to happen. I would then have all my prep work for the ceremony sent to them, as well as the payment that particular couple had given me. I’m not sure what other officiants would do, but you should explore this topic whith whoever you choose. The chances are very slim, but why not ask. Peace of mind is good!

Photo Credit: Neil GT Photography

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