What Does A Wedding Officiant Do?

Ever wondered, what does a wedding officiant do? Obviously, they lead your ceremony and help you get legally wed, but with an average price tag of $1000, there’s a whole lot more to what an officiant does than meets the eye. To debunk the myth that they just do the paperwork, we sat down with five officiants and asked them the questions; what does a wedding officiant do?

Meet our officiants;

Precious, Precious Celebrations
Sharon, Sharon the Celebrant
Kitty, My Wedding Celebrant
Wendy, Wendy Grace Hendry Marriage Celebrant
Kate, Celebrant Kate


Precious: I start every day with a mug of Earl Grey tea and a bit of toast.

On the day of someone’s wedding I’m usually too nervous to be able to eat anything for a few hours before a wedding [although I’m getting a little better with that now that I’m almost 100 weddings in!].

Then I get ready, making sure that my outfit matches my notes on what the dress code is for the day. I always have a backup outfit and a backup pair of shoes in my car too. Sometimes I would have laid out everything that I need for the ceremony the day before. I’ll always triple-check that my sound system and Kindle are charged and that I have enough pens and extra certificates in case of emergency.

I then head to the venue and get there about an hour early so I can make sure that all the vendors know me and answer any questions they might have. I’m not in charge of the whole day, but the ceremony is my domain and I need to know that every supplier has the same information from me. This is when I get my bossy pants on! Then once the couple have arrived I do some prep with them to help them calm down and enjoy the wedding ceremony. It goes really fast so I need to make sure that they’re as calm as possible so they don’t miss it or don’t enjoy it. 

Sharon: You get ready drinking champagne/beer/whiskey, you get all gussied up like you have never done before, you cry, you laugh, and you nearly pee your pants from nerves.

You then stand in front of all your favorite people saying words out loud that you would typically say in private, you have a pash after an almost stranger tells you you’re married then everyone comes rushing at 100 miles an hour to kiss and hug you. And, as if that wasn’t great enough, you’ll have some photos then you have a massive feast, lots of dancing later regretting you invited Uncle ‘handsy’ Harry after a few gins. You say goodbye to all of your guests and head back to your place of sleep. Then you reminisce about the most fabulous night of your life. You promise to consummate in the morning because all of the above has just got you all tired.

Kitty: From recent experience, it is a complete blur! The minutes go slow, but the hours go past so quickly! It is such a lead up on the day, so the ceremony helps set the scene for all the fun and love that happens after. The wedding day should just be joy, love and heaps of fun!

Wendy: I usually arrive at the location around 45 minutes beforehand to set up my PA system, test microphones, and sound levels, and make sure everything is in place such as the paperwork on the signing table.

I will chat with the wedding coordinator and other vendors such as the photographer if they’re available to run them through anything they might need to know about the ceremony. If one of the wedding party is there I’ll touch base with them, calm nerves, make sure someone has the rings, etc. Sometimes the couple will arrive together so I’ll go and meet them when they arrive at the location to say hi and check-in, usually reassuring them that everything will be wonderful!

And then on my signal, the ceremony that we have been planning together for so long begins, and I calmly guide everyone through it, pausing when tears need to be wiped away, when deep breaths need to be taken, or when moments need to be savored. 

Weddings are such beautiful celebrations of love that reflect the couple and their uniqueness – whether it be a quiet, intimate gathering, or a big celebration surrounded by family and friends. I’ve officiated elopements consisting of 5 people standing on a beach in a short and sweet ceremony, to a room filled to the brim with 300 people complete with a choir – I love them all.

Kate: Everything that we’ve planned and created comes together and it all happens!! It’s the best feeling!! And I’m there for you, guiding you through everything, I’ve got your back. You actually don’t need to remember a single thing, just turn up and enjoy every moment.

I arrive early, set up and sound check, liaise with anyone else involved in the ceremony to make sure we’re all on the same page [event coordinators photographers, videographers, musicians, other speakers)]. When I come and see you before the ceremony I’m really tuning in to what you need from me in that moment; a chat or quiet time, reassurance, big happy vibes – whatever you need. I’m super organized when it comes to all the process and legal side of things so that I can bring the relaxed vibes to every moment before, during, and after your ceremony.


Precious: I submit the wedding paperwork to Births Deaths and Marriages and then keep my couple up to date with how the registration process is going. Once it’s been registered I let me couple know and they can then apply for the marriage certificate.  

Sharon: Your married and in what I call a glitter bubble.

Kitty: Everything is exactly as it was the day before, except you get to wear rings on your fingers to show everyone you are married. After the wedding to get to relive all the joy going through photos and finally getting to talk to your loved ones.

Wendy: I prepare and send the marriage paperwork to BDMWA to register the marriage, and then send a follow-up email to my couple thanking them for letting me be a part of their day. I’ll also send information about how to apply for their Marriage Certificate and other details such as changing their name. This is often the end of our journey together, but I feel like I have a special connection with all of the couples I’ve had the honor of declaring married.

Kate: You’re married!!! You’re riding that beautiful, loved up, post-wedding high and re-living all your fave moments from the day… and I am too! I often get home after a ceremony [exhausted!], pour a glass of bubbles, and cheers to the couple I’ve just married! I love knowing that I kicked off the celebrations with an amazing ceremony and they’re now partying the night away with their friends and family. My heart feels full knowing that I helped to create a celebration and a moment in time they’ll never forget.

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