Where can we find an officiant to marry us?

We just spent the Thanksgiving holidays trying to get some things taken care of for the wedding. The biggest roadblock (of a long line!) is finding someone to officiate. In the area where we want to get married, we have only found two possible officiants. One is great, but I was married by him before and do not want to use him again for that reason. The other sounds okay but charges $350 to come to your location. Is that average? (It seems high to me.) We basically just want a justice of the peace or a clerk but can't find a listing for one. What do you suggest? -- Angela


Dear Angela:

Depending on where you are getting married, a civil ceremony may be performed by a variety of people, including judges, justices of the peace, county clerks, superior court clerks, township committee chairs and mayors. To find out who is authorized in your area, call the marriage license bureau (it should be in your phone book, probably in the "government listings" section). Another option: Non-denominational and interdenominational churches offer couples the opportunity to be married in a spiritual service without the restrictions of one faith. Or you can contact an organization such as the Unitarian Universalist Association, the American Humanist Association or the Ethical Culture Society, all of which offer couples the opportunity to create their own ceremony. As far as the fee, $350 does sound a bit high, but it's not unreasonable. Officiants charge anywhere from $50 to more than $300 to perform a ceremony, and some charge way more than that. Having them come to your location is always more costly than your going to where they are. Hope this helps.

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