Officiants: Basic Information and Frequently Asked Questions
Why this website/process?
Have you ever heard of a couple who couldn't find a good rabbi or someone to officiate at their wedding, and thought, "I would have been thrilled to officiate for them!?” Have you ever been asked to perform a ritual that you were unable or unwilling to do and did not know who to?
Unorthodox Celebrations is here to ensure that these moments never happens again. We are here to hold peoples' hand through the process of finding their ideal rabbi/cantor who will perform their ceremony (whatever sort) on their specified date, in their location, and at their time.
We are also here to save you the time having to search your own roladex (or facebook) to try to find the right referral. Leave it to us.
How does this work?
1) You sign up with us and answer some questions about yourself, what sort of celebrations you do and do not perform, and how far you will travel to do them.
2) We vet you, collect reviews and, add you to our database.
3) When we are contacted by a celebrant who fits your criteria then we check with you to see if you are available at that date and time. If you are available and interested, we connect you.
4) If its a good fit and you go ahead and plan to do the wedding, we will bill you for the referral and follow up with both you and the celebrants to make sure we made a good match.
Why do I need to respond within 72 hours, and how long should I hold the date for?
Our model is to set people up with 3 strong leads of officiants in a timely fashion. We need to hear from you so we can share your availability with those inquiring as soon as possible! After you indicate your availability, please hold the date for 3 days. If you're holding a date and want to know whether to keep holding it, feel free to check in.
What happens after I say I'm available for a wedding or other occasion?
UC sends the couple or celebrations the name, contact info, and bios of the officiants who expressed interest and availability. The couple then reaches out to those officiants who are of interest and decides on an officiant. UC asks both the officiant and the couple to notify us of any successful matches. If UC hears that a couple has chosen an officiant (or has chosen to go with a different arrangement), we will notify any officiants who expressed availability not to continue holding the date.
How and when do I pay Unorthodox Celebrations?
You are only asked to pay the referral fee once a match is finalized and the date has been set. You will receive a bill from us through Paypal and pay $90.00 at least 24 hours in advance of the wedding. This can be easily paid by credit card without needing to create an account. The referral fee is the same regardless of the price you negotiate with the celebrants. This money goes to the upkeep and the improvement of this site.
What’s the deal with reviews?
When you sign up, you will be asked to have 3 references briefly describe their experience of having you as an officiant. Also, after a successful match, all celebrants that find an officiant through the site will be asked to complete a brief review of the officiant after the event. This will help Unorthodox Celebrations to match future celebrants with officiants who can ensure them the best experience. Similarly, officiants will be asked to review the celebrants to help us understand the feedback (no, we hope they won’t need to have another wedding!). None of these reviews will be made public in any way - they are ONLY used to create the matches possible. Please note at this moment we are ONLY doing references for weddings. Please hold off on other references, and we'll be in touch when we begin doing more work in these areas.
How are officiants vetted to be referred through this site?
Unorthodox Celebrations will use initial references to ensure that celebrants are only matched the most qualified officiants, clergy in good standing with widely recognized Rabbinical or Cantorial Associations, or other clergy or non-clergy who have had further vetting with us. After that, matches will be made based on availability, reviews and promptness of response.
How do non-clergy or clergy who are not affiliated with wide recognized Rabbinical or Cantorial Associations sign up as officiants?
We have great confidence that all kinds of folks can be experienced, talented officiants! However, because it is more difficult to guarantee consistent training, non-clergy and clergy who are not members of one of the following clergy associations are asked to have two clergy from one of the associations below complete a clergy endorsement form.
- AARSHC (Alumni Association of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College)
- ACC (American Conference of Cantors)
- ARC (Association of Rabbis and Cantors)
- CA (Cantors Assembly)
- CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis)
- IRF (International Rabbinic Fellowship)
- OHALA (Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal)
- RCA (Rabbinical Council of America)
- RA (Rabbinical Assembly)
- RRA (Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association)
The clergy endorsement form can be found here, or you can share the following link with clergy as relevant: http://www.unorthodoxcelebrations.com/clergy-endorsement.
How are prices and agreements negotiated between officiants and couples/celebrants? Officiants and celebrants are responsible for negotiating fees and developing shared expectations that work for both parties, as well as whether there will be a written contract or not. As per the contract with Unorthodox Celebrations, Officiants are responsible for ensuring they are paid by the celebrants directly, and decide whether to require a deposit or not. The referral fee is due to Unorthodox Celebrations no later than 24 hours before the event regardless of what timing for payment is negotiated between the Officiant and the celebrants. You are encouraged to take a deposit if that makes payment to Unorthodox Celebrations easier for you.
I'm having trouble signing the jot form contract. There's no place to press submit. Help! Try opening the contract page in a different browser (i.e. Internet Explorer vs. Firefox vs. Chrome) and/or on a different computer. We haven't found a consistent theme of which browsers do and don't work, but most people are able to get it after a few tries. Let us know if you're still having issues.
Do you do international weddings? What if I'm not based in the US? At the moment, we're focusing on the US audience, however we've gotten a handful of requests for destination weddings and weddings in other countries. We encourage you to sign up as an officiant, and as we built our capacity, we hope to expand our breadth. Additionally, if you would like to help us expand into other places, definitely let us know!
Is Unorthodox Celebrations in conversation with other organizations seeking to do related work? Yes! Definitely. However, if there's somewhere in particular you think we should be connected with, please let us know.