Carol: What are the charges if we want to include a sand ceremony and have you say a few words to our guests about some of our family members who are special and important to us in different ways?
Rev. Fuller: It took a few more questions to figure out what Carol was asking as it never dawned on me officiants would charge extra for writing such things into a wedding ceremony. Officiants charge extra for a sand ceremony, if they are supplying the vases and sand, but I am honestly floored someone would add a substantial fee to insert one into the text of a ceremony and speak for an extra minute or two. I have no additional fees for customization because I simply assume that is one of my basic responsibilities as an officiant.
I never dreamed I'd be giving this advice, but when interviewing officiants be sure to ask about such added costs. The $75 officiant may not be a bargain compared to the $200 officiant after all. I also fear someone charging extra to add a few personalized sentences into a ceremony is not going to be an officiant who goes out of their way to do anything and everything necessary to make sure your wedding is as close to perfect as possible. Inquire as to what they think their role is to make sure your expectations and theirs coincide.
Deena: My cousin's minister said something at her wedding that asked her guests if they would be there for her and her husband and support their marriage. Do you have anything like that you can include in my wedding?
Rev. Fuller: Yes, I have several versions of a Declaration of Support. It doesn't appeal to all couples so I only use it if the couple feels it is appropriate. Guests certainly seem to appreciate being included in this way. I personally like the following version as it is serves as a gentle admonition to keep your nose out of the couple's marriage as well.
Today, (Bride and Groom), who began on separate paths, have been joined as one. You, their family and friends are a community of support surrounding (Bride and Groom). Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in loving each other. I ask that you always stand beside them, never between them. Offer them your love and your support and refrain from judgment. Encourage them when encouragement is needed and listen carefully when they seek your advice. In these ways, you can honor this marriage.
Rev. Ann Fuller
The commentary on this blog is my own opinion developed over years of officiating a wide range of wedding sizes and styles. I am always happy to answer any questions you may have.