While attending bridal shows, we are often asked what makes us different from the minister who serves a parish or church. That is a very valid and logical question!
A parish minister is a person who serves a congregation as their spiritual leader. They are expected to lead worship services, often many times per week. The minister of a congregation is also expected to participate actively in all levels of leadership by attending various committee meetings including Board meetings. They often oversee religious education opportunities for the adults in the congregation by leading various classes or working to plan and supervise them.
The minister of a church is expected to visit those in the hospital, nursing homes, shut-ins and others as needed. They provide pastoral care in the form of counseling sessions, and home visits. The minister is the person a church member turns to in times of crisis to sit with them , talk with them and guide them through.
In addition to the above responsibilities, the minister is the person church members turn to when they want a wedding, funeral, or memorial service performed. Due to the limited time available for the planning of such rituals, the minister will often have a standard service they use. In the case of a wedding, the couple may not have a great deal of freedom in planning the actual service. The faith tradition they follow may have a set liturgical ceremony that is used for all services.
A professional wedding officiant is someone who does not serve a congregation. They work exclusively with couples and families at this important transition. A wedding officiant is knowledgeable about many different cultures, beliefs and faiths. They understand that today’s couples are very diverse. That diversity can be racial, interfaith, cultural, lifestyle, prior relationships, etc. Today’s wedding officiant is open and accepting, even embraces, this diversity.
A professional officiant offers great flexibility to the couples they serve. They allow the couple to have input into what their wedding will be like. They take into account the interests, lifestyles and cultural backgrounds of the couple they are serving. Each wedding they write is as unique as the couples they serve. Professional wedding officiants do not bring a standard wedding ceremony to each couple. There is not a standard liturgical requirement for them to follow. Therefore, they can weave many different cultures and faith traditions into one ceremony in a meaningful way.
Each type of minister brings different strengths and weaknesses to the table. It is important to think it through and decide for yourself what is important to you as a couple. That is the only way you can make an informed decision and have the wedding ceremony of your dreams.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you have the wedding of your dreams!