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Choosing a friend as your Wedding Officiant


Photo by Sweetwater Photography

Recently, many of our couples are opting to get married at their reception venue or non-religious location that is special to them. It’s especially nice for the couple and their guests when the ceremony is at the same location as the reception. This allows for guests to flow right into the cocktail hour, avoiding the need for shuttles, limos, and wait time in between. It also leaves the option open for couples as to who they would like to preside over their ceremony.

Today, many couples having a ceremony at a non-religious site are choosing to have a friend or family member marry them. It’s actually easier than you’d think to get ordained! Here are a few things to keep in mind when having a friend marry you and your loved one.

  • When choosing the person you would like to marry you, make sure it is someone who either has experience speaking in front of crowds or is very comfortable doing so. After all, in a way they are giving a performance.

  • They will need to get certified to marry you. There are a lot of websites where you can do this, one being the American Marriage Ministries.

  • While you may choose to leave planning the ceremony structure to them, there are a few things that you should plan to discuss to help them frame it:

  • Roughly how long do you envision the ceremony being?

  • Do you want to incorporate any religious or non-religious rituals (ie prayer, unity candle, glass breaking, sand ceremony)?

  • Do you want to have any readings from family members or friends?

  • Are you planning to write your own vows?

  • When creating your wedding program, you will want to review the flow and details with your officiant to make sure you’ve included everything

  • Ideally, your officiant of choice should be at your rehearsal and ready to walk everyone through the ceremony

  • While you and your loved one will obtain your marriage license your officiant will fill out the forms for you to return to the township. These forms typically require the signatures of two witness and usually there are multiple copies. We’d recommend filling everything out prior to the ceremony.

  • Since the officiant is your friend or family member, there is no need to tip them or pay them, but we’d recommend thanking them with a personalized gift

Overall, we encourage couples to make the ceremony their own, whether it be getting married at a sentimental location or getting married at their reception venue. Having a friend or family marry you is just another way to personalize your special day and make it even more memorable.

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