It happened again yesterday. A bride called to tell me that her officiant had backed out of her wedding the day before the wedding. When the bride asked for a refund, the officiant blocked her. By the time she called me, she had been unsuccessful in finding a replacement officiant. She was frantic. Fortunately, I was able to reschedule a personal appointment and officiate her ceremony this morning.
While the scenario above may seem extreme, it does happen…and more often than you may realize. I have received numerous calls from brides, grooms, and family members whose officiant had canceled the day of the wedding. I’ve even had a few who were left at the altar by their officiant without warning.
In most situations, when an officiant backs out of an event, there is a legitimate reason. For instance, I once officiated a ceremony for a minister who had cancer and could not attend for medical reasons. I’ve also officiated numerous ceremonies when officiants had other last-minute emergencies.
If this happens, what are your options? How do you find a replacement officiant a week before, a day before, or even the day of your wedding? Firstly, don’t panic. There are resources that can prevent your wedding day from becoming a wedding disaster.
The best defense is a good offense. When you hire your officiant, make sure the contract has a clause that offers a backup officiant in case of an emergency. I have a backup officiant, so that gives me and my couples peace of mind if something unexpected keeps me from officiating the day of the ceremony.
Many officiants are connected with a network of other officiants. For instance, I’m involved in a number of officiant and wedding groups with officiants from all over the United States and Canada. If I cannot officiate an event as a backup, it’s likely I can find someone who can. Your officiant may be able to reach out to his or her network and connect you with another officiant.
However, what do you do when you’re in a bind? How do you find an officiant at the last minute? Here are a few suggestions for finding an officiant at the last minute.
Most couples experience good relationships with their officiants and don’t have to worry about an officiant who cancels or outright bails on them. However, if you find yourself looking for a last-minute wedding minister, you have options available that will save the day.