Weddings have so many details. The dress! The venue! The food! It can be easy to forget that the most important step in getting to “I do,” is getting someone to ask you whether you will.

To get married, you need a wedding officiant.

Each couple has their vision of how their wedding ceremony should go. Choosing the wrong officiant can negatively impact the ceremony.

Deciding between a civil or religious ceremony will help you pick your officiant. Regardless of what type of ceremony they will be having, it’s extremely important for couples to feel comfortable with whomever they choose to marry them.

Find out about the officiant’s approach to the ceremony, whether or not there will be a speech or sermon and what elements couples may provide, such as writing vows and choosing readings. Also make sure the officiant may legally perform weddings. An officiant will have a legal credential — with a raised seal — issued to him or her by the country or state.

A wedding planner can help you find the right person for the job. Friends and venues can provide referrals.

Social media can help in the search, too. Look for an officiant’s videos on YouTube to get a sense of how they perform. Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest also can be great jumping off places.

You may even consider having a friend or family member. Rebecca Fons of Chicago asked her older sister Hannah to perform the ceremony for her May 2015 wedding. Fons and her fiancé grew up religious, but neither of them currently practices. Yet it was important that someone close to them perform the ceremony. “A minister doesn’t know you as well as a family member,” Fons says.

Fons’ sister has a leg up because she’s already licensed and officiated weddings. If clients want a friend or family member to become an officiant, it is definitely a DIY project.

Choosing a friend to perform the ceremony can be just as difficult as choosing a professional, so make sure they’re a good fit. They should be reliable and comfortable speaking in public. Officiating a wedding ceremony, if never done before, can be a nerve-wracking task.

Vendors tell horror stories of recruited-friend officiants, including a wedding where the friend forgot to tell the audience to sit for the ceremony and another where they forgot to do the vows.

©CTW Features