Lynne Langille officiating Karinne and James' ceremony. Copyright 2010 by Melissa Johnston Photography

Photo of Wedding Ceremony at the Canadian Museum of Nature by Melissa Johnson Photography

Questions to Ask Before Selecting Your Officiant

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Surprisingly, most couples don't put too much thought into their selection of an offficant for their wedding ceremony. Many simply start off looking for the cheapest one available. Perhaps, they think that officiants are all the same, like commodities because their experience to date has been that most wedding ceremonies are really awful ordeals that have to be endured rather than enjoyed.

In most cases, they may be right yet there are only a few officiants in Ottawa who really stand out from the rest of the crowd. The difference between the average officiant and an excellent one is extraordinary and when you've experienced a great one, you really know it and the wonderful memory stays with you for a very long time.

Look again at the photo above and you can quickly see instant, visible proof of officiation excellence in action. This wedding instantly created a strong visual impact for everyone in attendance and caused them to pleasantly wonder about what other unique innovations were yet to come in the ceremony.

Notice that the wedding party are all facing their guests. Wedding guests really come to see the bride, groom and wedding party and they want more than just an overly-long stare at their rear ends and backs. This forward-facing approach allows everyone to make an immediate and continuing emotional connection with the bride and groom and engages them throughout the ceremony.

See how the officiant (Lynne, in this case) stands amongst the guests where she can be heard easily by all of the guests; and of equal importantance, is not standing behind the couple and thus showing up in every closeup photo of them. This also dramatically changes the dynamic of how your guests perceive the ceremony as they now feel as though they, via their representative, are conducting the ceremony.

Consider how the seating placement has been tapered in the two front rows to eliminate the usual two hard corners and to open up the viewing angle for both guests and photographers, resulting in a much more pleasing view for everyone.

Parents of the bride and groom are seated diagonally opposite their daughter/son to enhance their enjoyment of this unique experience.

And all of this has already registered a strong, positive impact upon the ceremony experience of every guest before even a single word has been spoken!

Now imagine what it's like when the ceremony itself builds upon this innovative commencement and carries the momentum further with a highly personalized, custom ceremony script that everyone hears and actually enjoys. There is no other element of the wedding celebration that can make such a tangible improvement in the experience that you, your family, and your guests will have that day for so little an investment.

There are lots of questions you should ask any officiant that you are considering for your ceremony. Request to meet with them face to face and be prepared with lots of questions to ask. Get to know your potential officiant both as a person and as a professional to preside over your ceremony. Go read reviews of them and see what other brides and grooms who have used them have said about them and their services.

Here are some of the most important questions to ask as well as our answers to them:

How much ceremony experience do you have? We have over 25 years collective experience in performing many hundreds of unique ceremonies. We are professional ceremony officiants, offering a full range of ceremonies for weddings, elopements, renewal of vows, baptisms & child welcomings, and, funerals & memorial services. As well, we each have over 40 years of experience speaking before large groups as well as many years of involvement in local theatrical productions.

How many ceremonies do you perform on an afternoon? We each limit the number of weddings we perform any afternoon to a maximum of two, both of which are usually spaced two or more hours in between. We do this so that they can provide you with the best possible service and to ensure you a stress free experience, especially if things run somewhat behind your schedule. Officiants who perform as many as five ceremonies per afternoon simply cannot come close to offer you a similar level of service.

Where can I learn more in detail about you and your officiation style? We have developed this 50+ page website specifically about our unique officiation approach and one full page of biographical background on us. This is the largest and most informative website of its type serving the greater Ottawa area.

Can I meet you face-to-face before deciding whether to hire you or leave a deposit? Absolutely! In fact, we prefer to meet most prospective clients first to ensure that the chemistry is a good fit. For our Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze ceremony level clients, we offer a one hour consultation with both of us without any obligation, in the privacy of our own home before you need to commit to anything. For couples remote from Ottawa, this is easily done by phone or Skype.

How much time do you actually spend with the couple to learn about what they want when developing their ceremony? We usually meet each couple face-to-face two-three times and spend two-four hours directly with them prior to each ceremony. This is in addition to the time we spend on email exchanges and telephone converstions as well as developing draft ceremony scripts.

Can we see your standard ceremony script? Not really, as we don't have a same old, one template fits all type script that most officiants use. Each script we develop is unique to the couple and designed to fit them like tailored made clothing. We can show you samples of scripts written for other couples, however, yours will be quite different from these once they are finished.

Who does the work in researching and proposing optional script content? While we will develop a customized, initial draft starter script for you, we will also provide you with a wide range of alternative wording options and ceremony content that you can choose from if you prefer. We will work with you throughout the process and will do the final formatting ourselves.

Do you help us write our own vows? Definitely! Forget the blank sheet of paper, we will walk you through six different innovative styles of vows to choose from and then share with you hundreds of wording options that reflect you as a couple yet still allow you to customize the content as much as you want. No memorization required as we will print your vows on cards that you can read from during the ceremony.

When do we have to complete our script revisions? While we target to have the script completed about a month before the ceremony, in most situations, we can accept last minute revisions up to the day before the ceremony.

When can we communicate with you? We are available literally 24/7 by email and from 8:00 am till 10:00 pm each day (weekdays and weekends) for telephone calls and meetings. Because developing and performing ceremonies is our only job, you don't have to wait for us to return from day jobs to connect with us or go through a middle-man during office hours. We are usually able to reply to inquiries and questions within minutes unless we are away for a few hours.

Do you conduct live rehearsals? Absolutely, in fact, for most weddings we perform, our couples choose to have us lead their rehearsal live, either onsite at their venue or at another location of their choice. Our wedding rehearsals are usually an hour long and we take them to a whole new level in terms of approach, content, and options. We deliver peace of mind for everyone involved. With over 22 years of combined experience and many hundreds of ceremonies between us, we have likely performed more wedding rehearsals in the Ottawa area than all other civil officiants combined!

When do you arrive at a ceremony? We usually arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled ceremony time. Even though most ceremonies do not exceed 30 minutes in length, we are on site for 75-90 minutes .

Why should I choose you as my wedding officiant over anyone else on my list? We are ceremony professionals who specialize in customizing your ceremony to exactly what you are after. Our extensive, personal touch is renown and unmatched anywhere in the Ottawa area. No other Ottawa officant comes close to our level of experience, especially for unique ceremonies and couple requirements. On your wedding day, we’ll be a calming presence for you, your wedding party and your guests ensuring that all of you have the peace of mind that you deserve.

If the ceremony starts late, will you cut out part of the script? Ever hear of a bride who arrived late or a ceremony that didn't start on time because the guests hadn't all arrived? It would be a very rare day if we had to cut out part of the ceremony because we needed to get to another scheduled ceremony. We build in an extra 15-30 minute buffer period (and often more) in every ceremony to cover off any unanticipated delays. We believe that your ceremony deservesour full attention and focus and we ensure that our scheduling will not be the source of any stress for you during your wedding day.

How often have couples and guests told you that your ceremony was the best that they have ever attended in their lives? For most weddings that we perform,we hear this said to us almost all of the time. More importantly, our brides and grooms hear it as well from their guests who really mean it when they say it to them.

What do you wear to the wedding ceremony? Only clean and pressed, professional looking, conservatively styled suits without any religious ornamentation. In reviewing officiants and photographers website photos, you might be surprised at some of the overly religious, flamboyant or tasteless outfits worn by some officiants!

If you were a wedding client, what would you wish you knew about your profession? Any inside secrets to share? That experience really counts; it makes the difference between a enjoyable (problem-free) experience for everyone or a bland ordinary ceremony or even a disaster.

What other important information should couples have thought through before seeking you out? That they really need to book their Officiant right after they book their venue and also have some flexibility about the ceremony timing. Many couples make that mistake only to find out the Officiant they really want is already booked for the time they have in mind and they have already locked themsrlves into a ceremony start time without any further flexibility.

These questions will help you get a sense of what you're getting for your investment in offficiation services. Once you've talked to a few officiants, you should be able to quickly appreciate the differences in the levels of service that they provide to you and why the cheapest officiant available almost always provides the least value to you.

You can contact us (Lynne & Keith) at keith@exceptionalceremonies.com or at 613 - 831 - 7555 in Ottawa. We're usually around most days and evenings.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This website and all of its contents are copyrighted, 2008 - 2016 by Lynne and Keith Langille, Ottawa Wedding Officiants. All rights are reserved by Lynne and Keith Langille and may not be used in any form without specific permission from Lynne and Keith Langille.

Lynne and Keith Langille are not just any Ottawa Marriage or Wedding Officiant, non-denominational Minister, Chaplain, Celebrant, Justice of the Peace, or Marriage Commissioner. Lynne and Keith Langille are the two most innovative and experienced Wedding Officiants in Ottawa and our passion in helping you achieve a spectacularly unique and personalized ceremony is what drives us. Call Lynne or Keith Langille at 613 831-7555 to see what we can do for you in helping you for your Ottawa area wedding ceremony.