Frequently Asked Questions

The Legalities

Q: What is a wedding officiant?

A good general definition of a wedding officiant:  “a civil officer who performs acts of marriage, civil union or commitment. Their main responsibility is to receive and witness the consent of the intended spouses and to ensure the legal formalities, and hence the validity of the marriage or civil union, are observed” [source: Wikipedia].

Q: How do we obtain a Louisiana marriage license?

Obtaining a marriage license in Louisiana is easy but should not be taken lightly. Licenses must be obtained in advance of the ceremony. We have a complete description of the steps involved on our Marriage License Requirements page.

Q: What authority do you have to perform a wedding?

We are registered wedding officiant in New Orleans, Orleans Parish and surrounding parishes. As such, we are permitted by Louisiana state law to officiate marriage ceremonies.

Q: When are the marriage licenses signed?

Some ceremonies call for the licenses to be signed during the ceremony but most couples sign the certificate immediately after the ceremony.

Q: Will I need witnesses for the ceremony?

Yes. The law requires that two adults witness the ceremony and sign the certificate of marriage.

Q. What happens to the Marriage License after we sign it and the ceremony is over?

Most importantly is for the Marriage License to be kept in a safe place. It should be take to the state’s Marriage Office or Clerk of Court as soon as possible to officially register your marriage. You can be responsible for delivering it or we can do it for you for an additional charge. See Services and Fees for details.

The Logistics

Q: How much do you charge?

Our fees are based on the amount of time devoted to the ceremony as well as additional services we offer. The Simple Ceremony charge is $125 and the Custom Ceremony is $200. In addition to the ceremony fees, there is a Date Reservation Fee of $75. We offer additional services such as providing witnesses, attending a rehearsal and returning the license to the state offices. See Services & Fees for a full description.

Q: Why not use a friend as an Officiant?

There is more to being an Officiant than you might realize. 

Louisiana law requires that you register as an Officiant before you can legally perform the ceremony and sign the marriage license. Not only have we gone through that process, we have valuable experience in dealing with the Marriage Bureau or Clerk of Courts. 

Creating a ceremony requires understanding of the various elements that the couple might want to include. Writing and researching takes time. 

And finally, a smooth presentation and reassuring demeanor is important during the ceremony. 

We are proven professionals who you can rely on to get the job done properly.

Short answer: don’t let an amateur mess up such an important moment. 

A great way to include friends or family in a ceremony is to ask them to read something meaningful of your choosing during the ceremony. 

Q: Can we meet the officiant in person before committing?

Absolutely! We are happy to sit down with couples to discuss their hopes and plans and see if there is a good fit. One of the best parts of being an officiant is meeting so many really nice people. Call or email and we can schedule a time at no charge. If it is impossible to meet in person, telephone calls, Skype or Face Time often work just as well.

Q: How do we reserve The Officiant Office of New Orleans for our wedding?

Either email or call us so we can discuss your plans. If you like what you hear and we are not committed for the date you want, we will get an agreement to you. Once we receive the signed agreement and the Date Reservation Fee, we will book the date for you.

Q: How far in advance should we book to use you?

If you are interested, please email or call us as soon as you can. While we do book far in advance, we are often available for last minute ceremonies. You never know!

Q: How often do we meet before the wedding?

The initial ceremony planning meeting is important to discuss the couple’s expectations. There can be as many follow up meetings as needed.

Q: Do you lead a rehearsal?

As long as our schedule permits, we are always happy to lead a rehearsal of the wedding ceremony. Check out our Services & Fees page for charges.

Q: Can you find a venue for our wedding?

Although we are not wedding planners, we do know New Orleans well and can point you in the right direction for places to consider for a ceremony in public. Our New Orleans Weddings page has some great suggestions. Deciding on a location for your ceremony is easy since New Orleans has so many fun and romantic spots.

Q: Do you travel outside of New Orleans?

We love to travel and frequently do. In addition to New Orleans, we are registered to officiate wedding ceremonies in the surrounding parishes – as well as in the State of Florida. We can easily arrange to be registered in additional locations if you’d like.

Q: Do you have a backup in case you cannot make the wedding?

We have several back up officiants in case anything goes wrong. That said, we have never missed a wedding ceremony!

Q: Do you work with couples that are eloping?

Sometimes you just can’t wait to marry that person you love! We have performed many ceremonies for couples that have decided to elope. We are happy to help.

Q: Why is The Officiant Office of New Orleans so much in demand?

Two words describe The Officiant Office: professional and fun. People are drawn to our creativity, attention to detail, and sense of humor. It’s that simple!

The Ceremony

Bob and Ken and CDU lo res.jpg

Q: What kind of ceremonies do you perform?

We are happy to perform any kind of ceremony you want – as long as it is legal and safe! We can offer plenty of suggestions but it is entirely your call.

We have seen it all – from traditional ceremonies to short and simple exchanges to whimsical fantasies. Many interesting traditions can be used in a ceremony including jumping of the broom, a sand ceremony or the inclusion of members of an extended family. We only perform non-religious or secular ceremonies.

Q: Can we write our own vows?

By all means! Many couples want to be creative and enjoy the writing process.  It is important that the ceremony reflect who you are. We take pride in our writing abilities and would be excited to help you with the process if you like.

Q: Do you allow for creativity in your wedding ceremonies?

Creativity is always encouraged at The Officiant Office! Perhaps you have always dreamed of a wedding in a New Orleans streetcar or a Halloween gothic ceremony. We are here to help make your dreams a reality.

Q: Should we include readings?

Readings are a wonderful way to express your feelings or include something you couldn’t say better yourself. Reading meaningful passages are a great way to include family or friends in a ceremony. Readings should not be long and there should be no more than two in a ceremony.

Q: What do you wear when you officiate a wedding?

Our dress for the ceremony is appropriate to the occasion. We usually wear a dark suit but can certainly dress up or down as the couple and ceremony calls for. We always discuss attire with the couple before the ceremony. Since we are not religious Officiants, we do not wear religious robes or vestments.

Q: How early do you arrive at the venue on the day of the wedding?

If a rehearsal was held on a previous day, then we usually arrive about 30 minutes early to coordinate with other vendors (wedding planners, venue managers, etc) If you chose to rehearse before the ceremony, then we normally arrive at least 60 minutes early to allow enough time for a run-through. We can rehearse the men and the women separately if the bride and groom don’t want to see each other before the wedding.

Q: Should we invite the Officiant to our reception? 

That is not expected nor necessary.