A Wedding Officiant is a person who stands before a couple and legally marries them by performing their vows. They have licensure, ordination by way of A Wedding Celebrant is a person, who stands before a couple, proceeds to (quote fingers) ‘marry them’, however they do NOT have the legal authority to officially set it in stone).
Again, if you are acting only as a Wedding Celebrant, you DO NOT have the authority to legally marry a couple. The couple, in some states, must have an entire ceremonial process performed by a person who DOES have the legal authority to marry them in order for their marriage to be considered legal.
I’ll give you an example… I have couples that call me on a weekly basis and say… “I want my relative to ‘marry us’, but they’re not a Notary or a Minister…
I have performed the ‘legal act’ of marrying a couple (with short vow exchange) either BEFORE or AFTER their ‘in front of everybody THROWDOWN’.
So in essence, the person they wanted to ‘perform the ceremonial side did their thing before or after I legally marry or married them.
If you plan on being a Wedding Celebrant, you will still want to research what it takes to marry a couple in a legal capacity, so that you can lead your couple in the right direction before or after you’ve performed the celebratory portion of the ceremony.