Question: How do I know who to hire as my wedding officiant? What makes a good one? 

A: Hiring someone to officiate at your wedding is a fairly new idea. In the past, most people got married in their house of worship. If they didn't have a family church, synagogue or mosque, then they got married by a judge. Today though, there are so many options. Many people choose to have a friend "ordained" on line and perform the ceremony. While this is perfectly legal, it is not always the best idea. A friend might know you, but that doesn't mean he or she knows how to put together a wedding ceremony.

A trained, experienced wedding officiant can help you design a wedding ceremony that fits your needs. As with any wedding professional, ask friends and family for referrals, and try a trusted site like GigMasters for listings with ratings and reviews. When you find someone you like, make sure to ask for referrals from previous clients. Look for someone who is a good listener, has a good sense of humor, reacts well to surprises, and has experience with weddings.

If you have specific concerns about religion, then make sure your officiant is knowledgeable about your religion. Also, make sure the officiant has a backup plan in case of emergency, and ask to see his or her license to make sure your wedding will be legal. Many officiants will take care of things like filing the paperwork for you, for an additional fee.