One of the most critical decisions for an engaged couple is who will officiate the wedding ceremony! These days, many are choosing a family member or friend to do the honors. (It’s pretty easy to get ordained over the internet, and some states even grant one-day officiant licenses.) While it can be fun to have your best friend or your favorite aunt solemnize your nuptials, if that person is not an experienced officiant, your ceremony may not be everything it could be. Practical, legal, and even aesthetic issues could interrupt your special day.
Donna Forsythe outlines some of these issues In her article When Your Friend Officiates – What Do the Pros Have to Say? I’ll just highlight a couple.
A professional Wedding Officiant is just that, professional. They likely have received significant training, either through seminary or a celebrant course, and have officiated many ceremonies in their career. They know how to efficiently run a rehearsal, understand the responsibility of officiating a ceremony, and aren’t thrown by the hiccups that inevitably arise (like the flower girl refusing to walk down the aisle). They are experienced at working with other wedding professionals, including photographers and venue coordinators. A professional Wedding Officiant will take care of all the details of your ceremony and even offer some creative suggestions from their experience to make your ceremony extra special.
Many couples site personal connection as a reason to ask a friend or family member to officiate. It’s true that your professional Wedding Officiant won’t know you as well as a close friend or relative. However, professional Wedding Officiants spend time with you getting to know your story and what is important to you. They are skilled in drawing out what makes your love story unique and sharing that in the course of your ceremony. If your friend who is officiating is not comfortable with public speaking or has never crafted a wedding ceremony, your personal story may not come through no matter how close the relationship. If you genuinely want a loved one involved in your wedding, reading a poem during the ceremony or giving a toast at the reception may be great options.
Over the past twenty years, I’ve officiated dozens of weddings – indoor, outdoor, grand, intimate, casual, formal. I’m always excited to bring my variety of experience to my work with couples in designing their unique ceremonies. I would love to talk to you about how I can make your wedding day extra special! If you still have your heart set on that friend or family member officiating, I’d encourage you to read Donna Forsythe’s article (linked above) in full. If you are still undaunted, reach out to me to inquire about my ritual consulting services. I can coach your friend or family member in ceremony design and officiating so they can grow in their skills and confidence to create a beautiful ceremony just for you.