It is a good idea to start the rabbi-choosing process early. Rabbis need to plan around Jewish holidays, Shabbat, and synagogue commitments so the sooner the rabbi gets your wedding date on her calendar, the better.
Just as important as the rabbi's availability for your wedding date, is to make sure the rabbi and the wedding couple are a good "fit" for each other. This means that the rabbi's personality, sensibility, and skill set are a good match for the wedding couple's vision. Jewish marriage is a sanctification of two people coming together and the rabbi sets the tone for, and holds the sacred space for, that sacred coming together. Your rabbi should also be concerned not just about your wedding, but about your marriage. Your rabbi will encourage you talk about issues that will arise in your future life together and help you to develop skills in communication and conflict resolution. The more you can anticipate and deal with issues ahead of time, the better success you will have as a couple.
I encourage couples to choose a rabbi that "gets" them as individuals, understands their backgrounds, and connects to their vision of how they want their ceremony to be. In order to accomplish this, take care in getting to know your rabbi and what he or she will bring to your ceremony. You will know when you have made the right choice when you will walk away from your encounters with the rabbi feeling heard, affirmed, and relaxed about what lies ahead. And when the "fit" between you and your rabbi is a good one, magical things can happen on your special day.
I am grateful to all the couples who put their trust in me. It is why being a part of Jewish weddings is my favorite part of being a rabbi!
"Rabbi Mehring is incredibly warm, understanding and real. She served as our wedding Rabbi and officiated in front of two relatively conservative Iranian-American families. Not only did she win the crowd (and obviously us), she brought real meaning and understanding to tradition. She even graced us with her lovely voice! If you are thinking about marriage, engaged, or recently married (or long-married at that), I would recommend talking to her about marital counseling and preparing for journey ahead. We love Rabbi Janice! -Daniel and Doreen Ahadian