Weddings are Like an Iceberg

Planning a wedding can be complicated. Lots of moving parts that need to fit together just right. When it goes well – beautiful! It looks easy-peasy. No one is the wiser to all the muss and fuss that went into getting the details just right. That is because all the work is hidden, like an iceberg! The work of a marriage officiant is like that, too.

Marriage Officiants

When officiants perform a marriage, all that most people see is the short ceremony culminating with pronouncements. Similar to other presentations, a lot of work goes into making it perfect. Loved ones giving a knowing nod when a story is shared. Those tears-of-joy moments. Followed by giggles and belly laughs! Yes!

Officiants take pride when guests approach after the ceremony and assume that they are a friend or family member. Otherwise, they ask, how could they have captured the essence of the couple so perfectly? Yes!

Learning the love story and understanding what is most important to wedding couples is a prized skill. In particular, officiants make each ceremony unique to that particular couple. This goes way beyond what rituals to incorporate into the service or how to introduce the newlyweds. This process is time-consuming. Some JPs or notaries use a questionnaire. Others will interview their couples and build a relationship. Whatever is done, it is just the beginning.

Understanding Fees

Homing in on your wedding vision and making it come to life is an art. To that end, most of the services performed by a wedding officiant are behind the scenes. After getting to know you, they get busy crafting a memorable ceremony. Not just any ceremony, but one that you will remember and cherish for all of your days together. Then, on the big day, voila! Hitched without a hitch. Yes!

Of course, the marriage officiant is what makes the day a wedding, and not just a party. But, sometimes folks forget how important the role is, and all of the work that goes into making the day as special as it is. Some of the duties to keep in mind are:

  • Getting to know you. Discussing options. Making a plan. Answering questions and calming jitters. Don’t forget all of the emails, texts and phone calls back and forth.
  • Writing personalized vows and a customized ceremony
  • Practice and performance of the ceremony
  • Processing the paperwork with town officials
  • Training, and skill development
  • Business operations and expenses. All of the officiants on belong to a membership association for professional officiants, the Justice of the Peace Association. They follow a Code of Ethics and have a pool of fellow officiants to tap into as needed.
  • Travel time and expenses

The Right Fit

Check out the officiants on When searching, select within the state where the wedding will be. You can find your JP (or notary in Maine and Florida) that is near you, too, by searching in your town or region. Read their profiles, see the photos and hear about other couples’ experiences. When you make a connection that feels just right, you’ll know it. Yes!

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Loretta Jay is an expert in marriage ceremoniesLoretta Jay is the Managing Member of the Justice of the Peace Association. This is the membership organization for professional marriage officiants. All officiants’ profiles are searchable at, the place where Couples who Click can find their perfect JP. 

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