Your marriage ceremony is the centerpiece of your wedding day. It should be prepared and conducted with all the grace, thoughtfulness, spirituality, and care it deserves. The right wedding officiant for you is the one who will help you experience a ceremony that captures the essence of your loving relationship that will publicly inaugurate your new life as husband and wife. But how will you know if “this the right person to marry us?” 


Here’s how to know for sure. Find out everything you can about your ceremony officiant/celebrant. And do this early in your planning so you and your officiant have the chance to build a rapport. After all, this is the person who is going to announce your new status to the world! Once you have the answers to these questions you’ll have no trouble deciding who is the right person to conduct the most important ceremony of your life.

1. CHEMISTRY – Do you feel a connection with your officiant? Are you convinced that he cares about the most important decision of your life and its implications? Does he listen, is he interested in you? Is he available?

2. SERVICES – Does the officiant provide you with a range of options (free consultation, customized ceremony, rehearsal, relationship assessment, and coaching)? Or, does he simply plan to show up on the wedding day with a one-size-fits-all ceremony you’ve never seen?

3. CONTENT – Does the officiant involve you in the creation of the ceremony, or does he just tell you how it will go? Does he communicate the purpose, beauty, joy and promise of marriage in what he says and does?

4. PROFESSIONALISM – What are the officiant’s credentials? Is he certified, licensed, or ordained by a recognized association or religious institution? Is he a trained expert or a part-time hobbyist? Is he insured?

5. REPUTATION – What do former clients and other wedding professionals say about your officiant? Do current reviews, awards, or recognitions attest to the quality of the services he provides?



Fees for wedding officiants vary widely. In the USA fees range from as little as $35 to as much as $1,500. How do you decide what is right for you? Even if you have created a budget for your wedding you won’t know the real costs until you consult with one. Only by meeting and talking to an officiant will you be able to really determine the value of what he will provide for you. And we all know value is not the same as price.

Nearly every couple I meet tells me, Nothing is more important than the experience of our ceremony. Still, most couples put off securing their officiant until the very end of their wedding planning – when time, and money have almost run out. Here’s what one of our brides wrote about working with us.

I’m embarrassed to admit that the ceremony itself was not among my priorities when my husband and I started planning our September wedding. We sought out DeArruda Weddings only weeks before our big day and had the wonderful fortune of working with Michael. He asked exactly the right questions to get to know us and, ultimately, help us decide how we wanted to structure our ceremony to make it our own. He helped us write personal statements that we will cherish forever and, in the end, he officiated a ceremony that was by far the most magical part of the evening. So many of our guests assumed we’d known Michael for years the way he so accurately described our relationship. He’s a true professional and a true master of ceremonies. Highly recommend DeArruda Weddings!  (Jennifer M.)

Before you set your budget consider these facts that bear on the cost for your officiant: 

  • Your parents and grandparents were married long before there was such a thing as today’s “wedding industry.” Nearly 80% of all weddings take place outside of a religious house of worship.
  • The local minister, priest or rabbi used to receive a small monetary gift from the couple which expressed their thanks. 
  • But just like fresh bottled milk is no longer delivered to anyone’s door in the morning, (wait, what – they used to do that?) the practice of giving a token donation has disappeared too.
  • Today’s professional wedding officiants specialize in providing customized ceremonies to couples in every conceivable location, involving a fair amount a travel.
  • You found DeArruda Weddings + Marriage in a typical business format. We are devoted full time to preparing couples for marriage. It’s how we make our living.
  • Our officiants are ordained clergy who have met the highest professional and religious requirements.

We will spend considerable time meeting and getting to know you in order to craft just the right ceremony to fit who you are. By the time of your ceremony you will have enjoyed a special relationship with someone in whose trust you’ve placed the most important ceremonial moment of your life.

We absolutely love what we do. And we do it expertly. Your ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day because it is the formal, legal and spiritual proceeding that results in you being married. No matter what the fee is for your officiant it will be the least expensive item on your wedding vendor list. See our fees for weddings and pre-marital coaching here.  

When it comes to knowing whether you and your fiancé feel a connection with us, nothing takes the place of a personal meeting. That’s why we offer you a FREE, no-obligation consultation. This will give you the opportunity to get to know us, and it gives us the chance to get to know you and answer every question you have. You’ll receive a formal proposal for the services you request based on what you tell us. No two couples and no two weddings are ever the same, so we’ll recommend packages based on who you are. Because 75% of the weddings we perform are for couples planning a destination ceremony we do consultations by video conference, as well as in-person. We are delighted to do whatever works for you in your special circumstance.

Schedule your FREE consultation today. Call (727) 642-2090

We can’t wait to meet you and hear your love story!