The role of the Wedding Officiant

Wedding table

The role of the Wedding Officiant

Posted by Chiara in Wedding pros 01 Set 2015


To understand better the role of a wedding officiant and why symbolic ceremonies are getting more and more popular among couples, here the second part of my interview with the wedding planner and celebrant Claudia Carbonara. Did you miss the first part of the interview? You can read it here!


Well Claudia, how do you succeed in establishing a relationship with the couples? How do you create a customized text?

It’s necessary to get to know the couple before the ceremony and I do this thanks to all the available communication devices: telephone, email, conference call and, obviously, meeting directly the couple when it is possible. I have worked out a questionnaire that helps me knowing the couples and that provides me, together with my own experience, the necessary ideas for the first draft of the text. But the following step is the most important one: the spouses and I work together to modify the draft where it is necessary to make it perfectly corresponding to the spouses’ requirements and personality. The text must reflect their character, their values and feelings and must contain all the key elements that allow the guests to take part to the ceremony and be emotionally involved.


How do you succeed in reaching the same result with foreign couples?

To me it is fundamental to know their traditions, their expectations, the symbols connected with marriage in their own culture, the typical expressions and gestures that must not be missing. That’s why it is even more important to communicate with them. Luckily I have a very good collaborator who helps me with foreign couples. 😉


What kind of wedding ceremonies is it possible to celebrate in Italy? What are their characteristics?

It is erroneously believed that the only two possible ceremonies are the Catholic one (chosen even by non believers because considered more dramatic) and the civil one (too often detached, short and impersonal). There is instead, apart from many beautiful ceremonies tied to the different religions present on the Italian territory, also the laical or symbolic ceremony, with all its variations and personalizations. An almost limitless range of options where every couple can find the most suitable one that corresponds to their way of being.


When is it preferable to choose the symbolic rite? What are its pros and cons?

My advice is to choose the symbolic rite whenever there is no particular religious feeling and it is not possible to personalize the text and structure of the civil rite (not every town hall allows it or authorizes the presence of a celebrant who is more expert or more in harmony with the couple). The main advantage is that the symbolic ceremony can be held everywhere, for example on the beach or in a garden or in every place that is meaningful to the couple. Another undeniable advantage is the possibility to personalize its structure, text and music. One of the cons is that it is generally necessary to go to the town hall and have a civil rite to make the wedding legally binding (something that many do some days before, only with the witnesses and only for the few minutes necessary to sign the documents), as it happened in Italy before the Lateran Treaty. Another aspect that is sometimes considered negative is that some very traditional, narrow-minded families don’t look kindly upon the symbolic ceremony, because it is something relatively new: they don’t know how it works and are puzzled by it. In my experience, every time there is this kind of attitude, families tend to change idea on the very day of the ceremony, as they live that moment with real and deep emotions, but a bit of opposition is likely to happen during the preparation.



Are there particular pieces of advice you usually give your couples?

My main piece of advice is to concentrate on the meaning that marriage has to them and to be themselves more than ever because that’s exactly what makes the symbolic ceremony so special and unforgettable. The growing success of this kind of ceremony is the proof that it is the ideal solution for all those who want to live their wedding in a personal and unique way, so it is important that the spouses listen only to their hearts. My job is also this: guiding the couples to find the most suitable rite for them.



Thanks Claudia for this interesting insight into the world of symbolic ceremonies!


Did you find it interesting too? Then share it with your friend and leave your comments: I look forward to reading them!

Have you got any questions to ask about it or do you need some information on the matter? Contact me here and I will answer you promptly!


Lots of love,







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