Wedding Definitions


We are asked often what certain words in the wedding business really mean and below are answers to some questions about wedding definitions or terms:

What is an officiant?

An officiant is a person authorized to marry two people, whether it is a secular or non-secular wedding. This is what I am.

What is an official?

An official is a person who might be an officiant, but often is just someone who formally represents the state.

What is an officiate?

To officiate is a verb which is what an officiant does. An officiate is a bit of an awkward phrasing which means officiant.

What is a minister?

A minister is an ordained religious leader who may perform traditional religious ceremonies such as baptisms and weddings.

What is a wedding minister?

A wedding minister is a minister who is ordained and is authorized to perform wedding ceremonies. This is what I am.

What is a wedding officiant?

A wedding officiant is a person, religious or non-religious, who is authorized to marry someone.

What is a reverend?

A revered is another name for a religious minister or member of the clergy.

What is a pastor?

A pastor is another name for someone who is a religious minister or clergy and usually the head of a church.

What is clergy?

Clergy is a group of religious ministers. This is a general term for the body of ministry as a whole.

What is a wedding?

A wedding is the joining of two people in a ceremony by an officiant. In order to be legal one must first get a marraige license.

What is a marriage?

Marriage is a social and legal institution where a couple agrees to live in a legal relationship.

What is a marriage license?

A marriage license is a license that must be applied for in order to have a wedding ceremony. I can provide that for you.

What is a wedding license?

A wedding license is the same as a marriage license, a license to authorize a wedding to take place.

What is a marriage licence?

A marriage license is the same as a marriage licence. This spelling is usually a European spelling of the word license.

What is a marriage certificate?

A marriage certificate is what is issued by the County Recorder after a wedding ceremony takes place as written proof.

What is a marriage officiant?

A marriage officiant is a person authorized to perform a wedding ceremony. This is what I am.

What is to elope?

To elope is to marry secretly and not let anyone know. I can issue a Confidential Marriage License and marry you privately.

What is a justice of the peace?

A justice of the peace is government official authorized to try some local cases as well as marry people. I’m an attorney, not a justice. However, California doesn’t have justices of the peace.

What is a sand ceremony?

A sand ceremony is the introduction of sand into a wedding ceremony as a symbol of your marriage, where sand is blended together to represent a couple blending to form one.

What is a handfasting?

Handfasting is a ritual to symbolize the joining of hands. It’s a pagan ritual.

What is a unity candle?

A unity candle ceremony is a ceremony addition to represent the joining of your lives together. Do not do this in a windy area such as a beach wedding!

What is a rock ceremony?

A rock ceremony is similar to a sand ceremony where rocks are used to represent unity. This can include the guests.

What is a wedding vow?

A wedding vow is what is spoken during a wedding ceremony. It is a promise made by each to couple to the other.

What is a wedding ceremony?

A wedding ceremony is not a vow. It is a formal solemnizing of your unity during which vows may be spoken.


So now you know!