Timeline - Planning Your Path

The Wedding Performer has created a simple suggested timeline for a new wedding officiant to follow. Allow yourself enough time to perform all the tasks involved. Be sure to check your own state for their legal requirements first!


A Simple Timeline to Plan With

Three to Six Months Prior
to Event
Check Your State's Legal Requirements for use of an officiant.  
Find a ministry* whose philosophy you feel comfortable with and sign up to be an officiant.  
Couple files for legal paperwork in the county they will be married in.  
Talk with the couple to discuss the type of ceremony desired.  
One to Two Months Prior
to Event
Write the ceremony.  
Practice reading your ceremony - you will read it the day of the event.  
The Official Day of Event Officiate Wedding.  
Make sure all paperwork is signed and filled out correctly.  
One to Ten Days After Event Paperwork must be filed with the County the Wedding took place in.  

* A ministry is often non-religious.
Download a Wedding Timeline that you can customize.

When to Start? An Explanation of Timeline Events


Check State Laws:

It is important check your local state laws to find their definition of who may legally officate a wedding. Here is a link to a USMarriage Laws site.

If you meet the legal requirements of your state to be an officiant, the next step is to find a place to become one. I have included links to several online "ministries" that you can visit, fill out their paperwork and become an officiant for free. Or you might just call your local county offices and see if they offer the option of being an "Officiant for a Day".

Paperwork for Couple:

Make sure the couple files for their paperwork in a timely manner. Yes this is their responsibility, but they have a lot on their mind. Don't let them forget this important piece of business. It must be started a minimum of three days prior to the wedding and if it is a busy county office, they may have to make an appointment. As with any other important legal document, they need to have a cooling off period in case they change their minds.

Discuss Ceremony Style:

Talk with the couple well ahead of time as to what their thoughts about the ceremony are. Some will let you have free reign. Others will want to write the whole things themselves. The sample ceremonies I have included on this website are just a jumping off place. But it does give you a place to start.


Write Ceremony and Practice:

Write out your ceremony. Don't wait til the last minute. This gives you plenty of time to practice as well. If you are a public speaker, there is less to worry about. If you are not used to speaking in front of groups of people, the more practiced you are, the less nervous you will be. You don't have to memorze the ceremony. The more familiar you are with it. the better it is.


Officiate and Enjoy the Wedding:

Officiate the Wedding, calm jittery brides and grooms... be a tower of strength. And be sure everyone fills out their part of the paperwork correctly. Particularly if they are off on a honeymoon. SIgn your section, and have a witness sign as well.


File the Paperwork:

Make sure the paperwork gets filed at the County. Check to be sure, but ten days seems to be the common length of time given by which the paperwork must be turned in for the marriage to become legal. An important final step. Then relax and feel proud of the part you had in making this very special day even better.


Loving Quote

"My love for you is a journey; starting at forever, and ending at never."
~ anonymous