What Is The Job Of A Wedding Officiant?

When we picture wedding ceremony officiants, the image that often comes to mind for cultural reasons is that of a religious leader. The nature of marriage is changing, and many people are turning to alternatives for their weddings. Traditionally, the alternative has been a government official, usually a magistrate, a judge or a mayor. Wedding officiants come from all walks of life these days, and it's good to know a bit about the requirements for the job before you hire one.


Most states have some sort of licensing requirements for folks who intend to have permanent officiating status. In fact, this includes most religious leaders who handle ceremonies. It also means that more and more lay people are serving as officiants.

Temporary licenses can be issued, such as one-day options for folks who want a family member to officiate. Unless you're really set on this for some reason, though, it might be better to have a third party serve in the role to let family enjoy the big day.

Duties the Day of the Wedding

Wedding ceremonies are just that, ceremonial. You and your new spouse are welcome to ask an officiant to handle your wedding as you see fit. Bear in mind that religious figures do have the legal right to refuse to conduct a service they feel is inconsistent with their beliefs.

After the Wedding

This when the job starts to have pretty strict requirements. The majority of states want to have completed wedding certificates sent to them by officiants within a designated number of days, usually within 10 to 15 days. Certificates may additional paperwork beyond the original marriage license, or they may be just the marriage license itself with additional signatures attached acknowledging the wedding happened. it's the officiant's job to make sure all this paperwork is filled out properly.

This paperwork is critical because it helps the county establish the legally bind nature of the marriage, an important part of dealing with all family law issues that might follow from the marriage. Under U.S. law, other states are legally required to recognize your marriage once it has been officially registered with a district court in your state.


The standard for officiating a wedding is between $500 and $800. Some wedding officiants add on fees for things like custom wording for the ceremony and rehearsals. Religious orders may sometimes offer their services in exchange for donations.

Contact a business like Wedding Officiant Chicago to learn more.