Blog ~ Riverside Church

How to Find the Perfect Elopement Officiant

Unless you’re getting married at City Hall, selecting your elopement officiant will be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your intimate wedding day. Even if you’re stripping away most other parts of a traditional wedding, the ceremony will still be a significant portion of your elopement day. And your officiant will be leading you and your guests through this critical part of the day, so choosing the right fit is key! Thankfully there are many great officiants to choose from in NYC that specialize in elopements.

A friend is the elopement officiant for a Cop Cot wedding

Here are some of our top tips when it comes to selecting the right wedding officiant for your elopement!

How to select your elopement officiant

There can be a number of factors at play that influence for whom you’ll hire as your elopement officiant. If you’re from NYC, you might have a local church that will perform your ceremony because you go there. Or maybe you’re coming from Australia and want to have a very private ceremony that feels a bit like home, so you hire an Aussie officiant (shoutout to the awesome Bettina of Weddings by Bettina). Or maybe you have a friend that will get ordained, register as an officiant in NYC, and then lay down an amazingly personal ceremony for the two of you.

A friend officiates a High Line elopement ceremony

While there may be many personal factors that will guide your decision, here are some key questions you should be asking to start to sketch out what your perfect elopement officiant might look like.

Do you want to have a religious ceremony?

This is obviously a big guiding post of how you’ll narrow down your officiant options. If you’re looking to have a religious ceremony and you’re local, the head of your church or synagogue or other religious institution likely makes sense. If you’ll be having a destination elopement here in NYC then you’ll have to do a little research. Searching for “Catholic wedding officiant NYC” or other similar variations will be a great place to start. Hiring an interfaith minister is another great option, such as the wonderful Annie of Rev Annie NYC.

A religious elopement ceremony at Riverside Church

Do you want your ceremony to be formal or laid back?

If you’re looking to set up a more formal elopement environment, then you’ll want an officiant that can be equally as formal. The whole team at Officiant NYC is amazing at running a very sophisticated ceremony no matter the location or number of guests.

If you skipped the previous paragraph after seeing the word “formal,” then hiring someone that can inject a bit of fun into the elopement ceremony while still being heartfelt is what you’re looking for! Daniela at Once Upon a Vow is exactly that kind of officiant, and she’s one of the first people I think of for elopements that are looking for a laid back vibe with heart.

A laid back Wythe Hotel elopement with Once Upon a Vow

Will you have any guests in attendance?

If you’ll have some guests along, you’ll want an officiant that can take the reigns during the ceremony and ensure everyone has an amazing experience. Think about it like stage presence. You’ll want someone that can pull you and your guests in closer before the ceremony starts, making sure that everyone is present and ready to give you their full attention and love. If you’ll be having the ceremony outside, you’ll need someone that can speak over the dull roar of traffic nearby, or the N train rumbling across the Manhattan Bridge overhead. And most importantly, you’ll want someone who can pronounce you married with gusto!

Frankies 457 wedding with Judges for Love

Set up calls and get to know them

My last tip to finding the perfect elopement officiant is to get on the phone and chat in depth. Once you have a few options bookmarked, go through and book a phone consultation with each one. You should feel completely comfortable with your elopement officiant and fully trust that they can create the experience you’re looking for. It’s of course helpful to check out their website and read reviews, but hopping on the phone and having a conversation with someone will usually tell you all you need to know.

Amanda of Officiant NYC performs a ceremony at Grand CentralSome of my favorite NYC elopement officiants

Bettina – Weddings by Bettina
Daniela – Once Upon a Vow
Hope – A More Perfect Union
The whole team – Officiant NYC
Annie – Rev Annie NYC
Peter – Our Wedding Officiant NYC

Looking for more great elopement information? Check out my essential guide to eloping in NYC!

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