Wedding Ministers Civil Officiants
Tips for a Clear Wedding Officiant Agreement
What's in a Wedding Officiant Agreement?
You now know who it is.
You now know which candidate will be your wedding minister officiant and you would like to hire them soon so your ceremony and rehearsal dates and times will be securely reserved on the officiant's calendar. You know you're committed to them and now you would like to know for sure they are committed to you.
So, how do you lock this in? How do you get the deal done? By verbal understandings, by clear conversations with your officiant minister (which you may have already had). This usually is just fine but not always.
Oral conversations, however, clear and good, may not be enough and you would like more reassurance. Why? Because life being what it is, as time goes by, people do not always remember everything they said or everything the other person said in past oral conversations.
Which means one of you may think something is one way and the other thinks it's another way. You might think "I know they said that I know it for sure, I remember it well." And the other may be thinking something similar. AKA "We have a misunderstanding here".
Oral understandings may be enough in even this situation IF you each are willing to get together over the phone or in-person to empathize (really listen to) the other and then find a way to turn the misunderstand into an understanding.
All that said, we encourage you to consider an agreement in writing because it could make everything simpler should there be a misunderstanding. It doesn't have to be long. It doesn't have to be complicated. But it does need to have the basics of an agreement like names of each party, your wedding date, time location, signatures signed and dated and other elements.
More about this:
A valid officiant-engaged couple agreement can be oral or written. While the whole contract is an agreement, there are also agreements within the whole Agreement (a contract will have individual promises). Some agreements and promises (but not all) can be express or implied (implied means they can be considered a part of the agreement without having been explicitly stated; even without any words oral or written. It's understood. Google for more information). Note: The word Contract is more formal than Agreement and may not have the specific legal elements required by a Court of law. For purpose of our presenting simple ideas to you so you can be aware of the basics and be clear on what you're agreeing to, we're using the two words interchangeably.
The purpose of this page is not to address what is legal or not in the contract but to stress the importance for each of you being aware of - and being clear about - WHAT you are agreeing to. And in this light it's good to know what the basic officiant - engaged couple contract includes. Using my experience as a full time officiant for many years, I have put together a list of a few contract basics I have seen. Just being aware of these will give good energy because you're taking good care of yourselves by learning more about a contract you will be a party to.
SOME CONTRACT BASICS:
a. Date and starting time of your ceremony.
b. Location of your ceremony site
c. The money part- the legal consideration as lawyers would call it (e.g., can include the total officiant fee, the amount already paid and the balance due amount including due date; and, if any amount is refundable, what's required by when and the form of payment).
d. The names of each party to the Agreement.
e. The signatures of each party including date signed.
f. And other important information that you and your wedding officiant might want in the contract and agree on.
Best to you both... Rev. Paul
Disclaimer: This page was written by a wedding minister officiant (me) with over 20 years of full time experience officiating wedding ceremonies in one of the most popular U.S. metro areas. The information on this page is based upon my experience only. Only a practicing licensed attorney knowledgeable in contract law can properly advise you as to legality. The above information is what was typical from what I know. As with anything regarding your marriage ceremony and marriage, regarding agreements with any vendor, you alone are responsible to research thoroughly i.e., do your due diligence. Thank you for valuing taking the time to take good care of yourselves.
Because legal stuff is serious, take a little break and congratulate this couple (they just got married).