A VIP for any wedding, the ceremony officiant sets the mood for the entire event and choosing the right person to perform your wedding ceremony in Italy takes on additional meaning since you will most likely be relying on a local Italian wedding celebrant. Here are some tips to help you in the selection process.

RULE #1 – Set up a skype call before you commit. Planning a destination wedding has become so much easier since you can meet all your local Italian vendors personally online with skype – and it’s free for both parties so there’s no excuse not to use it!

Speaking with your celebrant directly allows you to:

* Evaluate how well s/he speaks your language. Your celebrant should be able to speak English clearly and smoothly, without a heavy accent precluding words to be understood by guests and by you.

* Hear how their voice sounds and projects. If your group is small you may not need a P.A. system as long as the celebrant’s voice can be heard (usually up to 20-30 guests). And by the way, in Italy P.A. systems are provided by entertainment companies, celebrants do not have their own.

* Ask questions spontaneously. Just like in a job interview, you may have prepared some questions to ask but others may pop up along the way, so just ask them!

Questions you should ask your Italian wedding celebrant are:

1. Fees, payment timings (deposit, final balance) and methods of payment as well as transaction fees involved (paypal vs bank vs cash);

2. What their fees include in terms of travel expenses, resources, wedding certificate, rehearsals;

3. How many hours are included before and after the ceremony;

4. How long they’ve been performing weddings and/or how many weddings they have celebrated;

5. How many sample ceremonies will they provide and how many revisions they accommodate;

6. How will you work together? Can you write your own vows? What are the timings for wording completion, music selection and inclusion, assigning readings to guests, etc.;

7. Whether they are available to perform special rituals such as handfasting or unity candle;

8. Whether they are comfortable with any religious elements;

9. What their typical attire is (color suit and tie, style dress or pantsuit).

Depending on whether you have a wedding planner or not, your celebrant may give you guidance on set up, logistics, and tips for your processional/recessional as well as typical Italian traditions.

To see a selection of hand-picked companies providing celebrants go to the Celebrants page in the Locals menu.