Types of Officiants

A first decision for a potential bride and groom planning a wedding ceremony is typically whether they desire a Religious ceremony or not. This vital and personal decision can often help narrow the options of wedding officiant considerably.

Civil Officiants
Kern County doesn’t offer a a Justice of the Peace
If you desire a Justice of the Peace, contact your local county clerk’s office or the one in the county where you plan to marry. They should have a list of local Justices of the Peace who perform wedding ceremonies. You could just check your local phone book, but it’s often better to get the referral from someone who knows that the JP they are sending you to is legally certified. Start by calling the ones closest to you and get a sense of their personality first, then, if you like them, ask if you can meet with them to get a better sense of the kinds of weddings they perform.

If you are looking to get married at “City Hall”, finding the person to marry you is pretty easy. You just make an appointment and get married in the most efficient possible way – no long sermons or intricate vows to memorize!
Call your local city hall or courthouse and they’ll tell you everything you need to know about this option.

Religious Officiants

If you are already members of a church or have a beloved clergy person you want to perform your ceremony, the decision is simple. You’ll still want to meet with them and discuss the questions below to make certain that both of you are comfortable with their style.

If you have no specific clergy in mind, you’ll want to think about what spiritual beliefs the two of you share and want to incorporate into your ceremony. If you are seeking a specific traditional religious ceremony, contact a local house of worship in that denomination First, ask and make sure that their religious rules allow them to marry non-members or to perform weddings in secular settings.

Attending at least one worship service performed by each officiant you’re considering will give you a sense of the different styles available, then schedule a meeting with the ones you like to make sure they are available on your date, and open to performing the type of wedding you are seeking. Like any important job, don’t just give it to the first person you interview! Talk to a couple different clergy and choose the one that you are the most comfortable with.

Professional Wedding Officiants

If neither the strictly civil Justice of the Peace, nor the idea of a strictly religious clergy appeals, you might consider a professional wedding officiant. Typically, these professionals are open to providing you with a number of options and are happy to help you craft the ceremony just as YOU envision it. Many of them are open to performing weddings with or without a legal marriage certificate, same sex weddings, interfaith ceremonies and other variations on the wedding theme that other officiants won’t preside over.