The Officiant should be secured as soon as you have secured your venue. Wedding Officiants work from a calendar just like your caterer, baker, dress maker, etc; however, without the Officiant all you have is a very expensive party! The ceremony is the Main Event! Please secure your Officiant early. I have weddings booked a year or more in advance. Waiting until the last minute not only risks the Officiant being already booked on your date, it cuts out valuable time to properly prepare your vows and ceremony scripts. Unless a simple elopement is requested, I create a custom ceremony for every couple. Time is needed to make the ceremony uniquely yours. I know you want it to be perfect! So do I!
There are two important things to consider. Are you both comfortable with the Officiant, and is the Officiant passionate about your wedding and making it the happiest day of your lives? It doesn't matter if they have performed two weddings or 200; if they aren't excited about helping make your wedding day the happiest day of your lives, then you need to keep looking.
Is the Officiant comfortable with your circumstances...things like being divorced, LGBTQ, non-religious, an interfaith couple, an interracial couple, you want to write your own vows, want something totally fun and non-traditional... Will this Officiant give you what you want for your wedding? Ask about fees, deposits, what is and is not included in the fee.
The short answer is Yes. 49 states require couples to obtain a county issued license to marry in their states. The license must be obtained and given to the Officiant before the marriage can take place.
The exception the state of Alabama, where the state legislature approved a new law in 2019 stating that a license is no longer required.
Since the majority of weddings that I officiate are in Georgia, I will address Georgia marriage licenses only. General information on obtaining a marriage license in Georgia can be found here:
Please check your state and county for up to date information.
In the state of Georgia, a marriage license may be obtained from a county Probate court. Currently, due to COVID-19, many Georgia Probate courts are closed to the general public. In order to obtain a marriage license, couples must call the Probate court clerk to schedule an appointment to apply in person. To schedule an appointment in some counties, the wedding date and Officiant must already be chosen.
Fees are based on time and distance traveled. My home base is the Athens, GA area, but will travel up to a 150-mile radius, provided travel time is no more than about two hours one way.
My base fee for a wedding within 20 miles of Athens is $300. Base fees for other popular areas...Midtown Atlanta $395, Augusta $450, Dahlonega $395. Please contact me for an accurate quote for your wedding. A non-refundable, minimum $150 deposit is required to secure a date on the calendar. If travel time is two hours or more for a morning or evening wedding, additional travel expenses, including overnight accommodations will be added to the total fees.
I have worked with clients from many different walks of life and religious backgrounds. I love everyone and believe that "True Love Knows No Boundaries!"
I hold a B.S. in Business Administration from Columbia College and a Life & Health Producer's License from the Georgia Department of Insurance. I became an ordained, non-denominational minister in 2018 and have many years of professional public speaking experience. I love being a Wedding Officiant and have been told that I do it well.
I serve Metro Atlanta, Athens, North Georgia, and Upstate South Carolina. Sorry, I do not serve the state of Tennessee. The Tennessee legislature has passed a law that requires Wedding Officiants and ministers who solemnize marriages to pastor a brick-and-mortar church, which I do not.