How to Find an Interfaith Wedding Officiant for Your Ceremony

The right pro will make your nuptials special and legal.
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
by
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
Associate Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Oct 12, 2023

If you and your spouse-to-be come from different religious backgrounds, you most likely are planning a mixed faith wedding ceremony. This means you'll need to choose an interfaith wedding officiant to help create a celebration unique to you and your partner. Approach this search the same way you would for any other wedding vendor. First, look on The Knot Vendor Marketplace for an officiant specializing in interfaith ceremonies. Next, find the perfect interfaith officiant for you. Worried that sounds impossible? Well, we're here to help. We've talked to spiritual professionals about what types of people can officiate an interfaith ceremony, what questions you should ask potential officiants, what questions they should be asking you and much more. Follow our expert-backed tips, and we guarantee you'll find someone you and your partner feel comfortable with and who can bring your ideal ceremony to life.

In this article:

What Is an Interfaith Officiant?

An interfaith officiant is someone who has studied multiple religions and is prepared to help spiritual or non-religious people celebrate their event in whichever way they choose. Additionally, couples who are part of the LGBTQ+ community often choose interfaith officiants to help them plan their ceremony so it's as inclusive as possible. Interfaith officiants guide weddings, child blessings, funerals and much more.

Types of Officiants That Can Lead Interfaith Ceremonies

Interfaith marriage officiants aren't the only ones who can lead multifaith wedding ceremonies. There are different kinds of ceremonies, which is why there are four (main) types of spiritual leaders who can help you and your partner create a celebration you'll love.

Interfaith Ministers

The main focus of this type of officiant is to bring people of different religions together, but they also work with LGBTQ+ and non-religious couples. Many interfaith ministers define their work as being outside church walls by working in community service and spiritual counseling. Interfaith ministers (or officiants) are known for creating special and personalized wedding services for their clients.

During your interfaith officiant search, Rev. Mercedes Ibarra, interspiritual minister and founder of Rev. Mercy Ceremonies, suggests you look up the titles "interspiritual officiant" and "interspiritual minister" too. This way you cover all of your bases and don't miss out on an officiant who identifies a little differently. Rev. Ibarra also suggests you consider hiring Unitarian or Bahá'í Faith leaders to perform your wedding ceremony. "Both of these faith traditions are quite interspiritual as they celebrate and practice the various religious traditions from around the world as an essential part of their own practice," Rev. Ibarra says.

Celebrants

A celebrant is a person who is usually unaffiliated with any religion and can perform secular and interfaith ceremonies. Celebrants can see over baby naming, funeral ceremonies and more. Some believe the titles "interfaith minister" and "celebrant" are interchangeable because they have the same principles. Others claim that interfaith ministers must do more religious studying and training than celebrants. To avoid any confusion, we recommend you ask potential wedding officiants how they identify themselves and if their services can meet your needs.

Clergy

The term clergy refers to persons ordained for religious duties like worship, guidance and special ceremonies. Clergy members exist in many faith practices, so they aren't tied to one religion, which is why rabbis, pastors or priests are all considered a part of the clergy. Many clergy members may be open to presiding over interfaith wedding ceremonies, but there's no guarantee. Speak with your desired clergyperson about your interfaith needs before booking.

One great resource for finding clergy members who are open to performing interfaith ceremonies is your local college or university. Those studying to become clergy members often serve a diverse community and are used to working with a congregation of various faiths. Another option is asking a retired clergy leader since they may be willing to perform a more flexible ceremony.

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Loved Ones

You may not have considered it, but it's relatively easy and inexpensive to get ordained (many celebrities have done it). If you'd love to be married by a close friend or family member, ask if they'll undergo the official process and perform your ceremony. Rev. Whittney Ijanaten, owner and professional lead officiant of Rev. I, do Officiating, believes asking a professional to officiate your wedding isn't required because that's how she got her start. "[My sorority sister] asked me as someone she loved, cared about and respected. And I feel like if I hadn't been given that chance from her and that belief, I wouldn't be here right now," Rev. Ijanaten explains. That's why you should ask someone you can't imagine not being a part of your wedding journey to personalize your nuptials.

One major thing Rev. Ijanaten advises couples to do when dealing with a loved one officiating is to speak directly about what they want for the ceremony. "It's not about the ask of whether or not you choose a professional, a friend, a loved one or someone. It's a matter of making sure you get across what it is you want for your day and the expectations you have for the person who's officiating the ceremony," Rev. Ijanaten says.

While speaking with your loved one, make sure they understand the importance of the role. You want you and your loved one to have a great time and create a better bond after the experience, not a worse one. "I find that everyone is kind of operating in this space of 'What do I do?' And I think as long as there's clear communication, and the person who accepts the role as officiant knows they aren't only going to be in your pictures––they'll be in your forever story," Rev. Ijanaten says.

How to Find an Interfaith Officiant

Finding an interfaith officiant isn't as hard as you might think. Here's exactly how to find your desired religious officiant on The Knot Vendor Marketplace:

  • Go to the site and select your wedding destination (unless you don't mind hiring someone who's willing to travel to your destination).
  • Pick the religious affiliations you and your partner require for your wedding using our helpful filters. Feel free to put in your other desires like "premarital counseling," "award winners" and "distance" as well.
  • Finally, scroll through your options and find the best interfaith wedding officiant for your celebration.

You can also find an interfaith officiant near you by asking married friends who've had interfaith weddings for a referral, your wedding vendors (wedding planners usually have great recommendations), your place of worship or your ceremony venue's staff.

Interfaith wedding ceremony
Photo: Julia Franzosa Photography

When to Book an Interfaith Officiant

We suggest you book your interfaith wedding officiant at least nine to 12 months before the big day. This is right after you find and hire your wedding planner, caterer, photographer and videographer. Remember, without an officiant, you can't get legally married.

Benefits of Interfaith Officiants

Not sure if an interfaith marriage officiant is right for you? Keep reading to find out the pros of having one at your celebration.

You'll have someone to represent each of your faiths.

Instead of hiring two religious officiants from your and your partner's respective faiths, you can book one authority that respects and understands each one. It might be best to find an interfaith officiant who has attended and been ordained by an interfaith seminary or received a theology or religious studies degree in the faiths of your choice. This person will know the ins and outs of both religions, what they have in common and what they don't.

They know how to customize your ceremony.

An interfaith wedding officiant would be well-versed in your faiths' customs and have experience planning other married interfaith couples' ceremonies. Making them the perfect candidate for creating your dream ceremony. Tell your pro what aspects from each religion you want to be included in your nuptials and collaborate with them to make a ceremony that feels authentic to you and your soon-to-be spouse.

Interfaith officiants can help appropriately incorporate your loved ones.

Some families might show concern about you having a mixed faith ceremony, but that's why your interfaith wedding officiant is there. Your pro will listen and prioritize your wants and needs, but they'll also know how to include your family's wishes if you're worried about them not approving the ceremony. Remember, an interfaith officiant has lots of experience blending various religions into one beautiful and spiritual service, so most likely, they won't struggle with navigating opinions from loved ones.

What to Keep in Mind During Your Interfaith Officiant Search

Before you contact officiants, Rev. Ijanaten suggests couples look at each officiant's website or profile on The Knot Vendor Marketplace. "I would definitely say they should look for the energy and the vibe a prospective officiant's profile gives off. What are the expressions on the couples' faces? What is the makeup of the crowds you see them in front of?" Rev. Ijanaten asks. See if the officiant uses inclusive language on their sites and that you feel represented in their photos. "I always say, trust your gut, and then look for the language that's throughout [the site], what they've written and the photos and see, what have they done? Do you see couples that look like you?" Rev. Ijanaten asks.

Interfaith wedding ceremony
Photo: Krystal Kast Photography

Questions to Ask An Interfaith Officiant

Many people consider the wedding ceremony the most important part of the day because it's when you legalize the marriage and share your love story with your guests. With that said, it's pivotal you find an interfaith marriage officiant that you and your partner connect with and trust to make your ceremony unique. Below are some questions we think you should ask before making your final decision so you can find the perfect officiant for you.

What made you want to be an interfaith officiant?

This question allows you to find out more about your potential officiant than what's stated on their website. When they say why they became an interfaith officiant, see if they seem passionate about what they do. You want them to be excited about helping you create a ceremony that represents you and your partner—almost as excited as you are about getting married.

What's your experience as an interfaith officiant?

Other things you can inquire about that fall under this question are: How many interfaith ceremonies have you officiated? And how many years have you officiated interfaith weddings? By asking an interfaith officiant about their credentials, you can quickly find out if they are someone you can trust with your interfaith ceremony vision. Don't forget to ask the officiant to show you testimonials from previous clients. (Remember, these questions are for professional wedding officiants—not any loved ones who are potentially officiating.)

How do you help couples plan their ceremony?

Since you're planning a wedding that incorporates your and your partner's faiths, you must have an interfaith officiant who understands how to guide you. Rev. Ijanaten says another way to phrase the ceremony planning question is by asking, "How can you hold our love story?" After explaining to the interfaith officiant your desires, listen to what direction they want to lead you in for your ceremony. Does the officiant seem rigid or flexible in their approach? Is the officiant making sure to integrate your and your partner's faiths equally? Ask these questions for a greater possibility of your spiritual or religious self being fully represented.

Is there a way you can modernize our traditional rituals?

If there are traditional marriage rituals you want to include that may be considered antiquated in today's society, ask your interfaith officiant if they can modernize them for you. Rev. Ibarra says she is often asked to do this for couples and tries to make traditions meld with the modern world. "The couples love this update, and the traditional families are still happy because the ritual is performed in a way that's meaningful for everyone. This ability to take the old and make it new while keeping it just as meaningful and sacred is something your interfaith officiant should be able to do for you," Rev. Ibarra says. Discuss with the officiant what marriage rituals you (and your family) want in your ceremony and how you can work together to make them unique to you and your partner.

Questions Your Interfaith Officiant Should Ask You

While it isn't a deal-breaker, there are two major questions your potential interfaith wedding officiant should be asking you. These questions will let you know the officiant is willing to support you in your journey in the way you want and need.

What's your God language, if any?

Rev. Ijanaten asks her clients this inclusive question in consultations so she can understand what her clients are looking for her to do. "I'm not asking you, 'Oh, do you believe in Jesus?' or 'Oh, what text do you want from the Torah or the Quran?' That's not what I'm asking. I'm asking, 'Do you have a relationship with a higher power that you want to include in your ceremony?'" Rev. Ijanaten explains.

Rev. Ibarra breaks this question down further. "First, I ask each person to tell me about the religion or spiritual tradition that they grew up with, what they liked and about it, and if pertinent, what they didn't like about it." She adds, "I also ask them if they still currently practice that religion or tradition and how so. If they don't, I ask them to tell me about their current sense of spirituality, like do they believe in God, or do they believe more in Love, a Higher Power, the Universe or nothing at all."

An officiant asking you this kind of question and related follow-up queries shows they're trying to create a ceremony that reflects your and your partner's spiritualities while being respectful to whatever religions you may be acknowledging.

Who's going to be in attendance at the ceremony?

Yes, your wedding day is all about you, but keeping your wedding guests in mind for your interfaith ceremony is important because you don't want anyone leaving the ceremony offended. An interfaith marriage officiant would ask you this question because they are trying to get an idea of how your loved ones will feel about an interfaith ceremony and what language should be used to be considerate of everyone. The role of an interfaith officiant is to be there for the couple and make it a comfortable experience for everyone they come in contact with on the wedding day. You want your wedding guests to feel included in your celebration, not ostracized.

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