One of the most important people at your wedding will be the person who performs your ceremony.
The person you choose should be someone you and your fiancé are comfortable with and who can make your wedding ceremony special to you, creating memories you’ll have forever.
The type of ceremony you’re looking for will largely determine what type of officiant you have. If you have a religious affiliation, a clergy member from this house of worship may literally be the answer to your prayers. However, if you’re looking for a non-traditional ceremony or a wedding apart from a church or temple, you may have to look a little further to find just the right person to pronounce you husband and wife.
How much do these services cost?
Expect to pay $50 to $100 for a simple civil ceremony by a justice of the peace at your local city hall, county courthouse or at a park. An intern minister or retired judge might charge $100 to $200. An experienced church minister or professional celebrating might charge $200 to $400 or more.
The average cost for a pastor or priest to officiate at a wedding is $263, according to The Bridal Association of America.
Here are the choices you have when looking for a person to perform your ceremony, according to Theknot.com:
A celebrant is someone who performs either religious or secular ceremonies for marriage and other rites. A celebrant can be an ordained clergy member, professional secular officiant or a legal official, such as a judge.
Locally, Leslie Toldo of Fenton Township offers these services, and many others can be found on a website like weddingwire.com.
A priest, rabbi, minister or other religious officiant is an ideal option if you both belong to a particular church or religious group and would like to be married in a house of worship. This would be your best path for a more traditional ceremony, although some clergy members will perform for customized wedding ceremonies.
A certified, non-religious celebrant has training and certification from an organization like the Celebrant USA Foundation & Institute or other secular humanist organizations such as the American Humanist Association or the American Ethical Union. They are often unaffiliated with any religion and perform secular, same-sex and interfaith ceremonies.
An interfaith minister brings people of different religious traditions together, and works with same-sex and non-religious couples. They are usually very focused on creating a special and personalized wedding service for their clients.
A civil wedding officiant or civil servant’s primary role is to legalize the marriage. They are responsible for witnessing and validating the consent of marriage between you and your partner for the wedding license, and are legally registered with the local city clerk’s office.
Judges, magistrates, county clerks and city mayors are legally able to perform weddings, according to American Marriage Ministries on its website regarding Michigan legal requirements.
In Fenton, Mayor Sue Osborn has performed a number of weddings, especially in the gazebo at Fenton’s Millpond Park adjacent to City Hall.
Friend or family member
If you’d love to be married by someone who is close to you, you can ask them if they’d be willing to undergo the official process to get ordained online. It’s a wonderful way to personalize your nuptials and have exactly who and what you want for your ceremony.
For more information on the ordination process in Michigan, visit Theamm.org, Getordained.org, Themonastery.org, Christianharvestchurch.org, to name a few.
How to find someone to perform your wedding ceremony:
• Ask recently married friends for referrals
• Scroll through The Knot Marketplace for professional officiants and reviews from couples who used them
• Contact your church or temple
• Contact your city or village hall
• Check with your other wedding vendors for recommendations
• Contact a local college or university
• Ask a loved one to get ordained and perform your ceremony