Having a Friend Officiate Your Ceremony

If you plan to be married in your family’s church by your childhood pastor, you can stop reading right now. However, if you’re one of the many couples today that are looking for ways to better personalize your ceremony, read on for more information on having a friend officiate your wedding. You’ll save hundreds of dollars on hiring a professional wedding officiant, and you’ll wind up with a special ceremony that’s a true reflection of your love and relationship, not just a canned wedding speech. But, as exciting as this may sound, there are still a few things you’ll need to take into consideration.

First, the legality. Unless your friend happens to be an ordained pastor or a local judge, the ceremony that he or she performs won’t be legal. For some couples, this matters a great deal, while others are more concerned that the wedding ceremony be a reflection of their personal relationship – whether legal or not. Most couples who choose to go this route plan to visit the county courthouse either in the week before or the week after the ceremony to take care of the legal aspects of marriage. In fact, some couples find that doing it this way reduces the stress of their wedding day, since they aren’t worried about completing and keeping track of the paperwork.

Next, you’ll need to consider your location. If you do plan to be married in a church, you may be required to use the church’s pastor or priest to officiate your ceremony. However, if you’re set on inviting a friend to speak during the ceremony, you may be able to work with church officials to incorporate a separate speech into the wedding. If you’re planning to be married at an alternate location – for example, a country club, park or other facility – you shouldn’t have a problem inviting a friend to give the ceremony. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with the contact person at your chosen facility to be sure there are no issues with holding a non-legal ceremony.

With the legal aspects out of the way, you’ve finally reached the most difficult part – choosing the friend you’ll ask to give the ceremony. There are a few things you should keep in mind. First of all, the friend you choose should be someone who knows both of you well. A friend you only know in passing may be uncomfortable sharing in such a special moment and won’t be able to share the personal stories and memories that make this type of ceremony unique. Of course, it’s equally as important to make sure that your friend has a pleasant speaking voice and feels comfortable speaking in front of groups of people. The last thing you want is the memory of your friend stuttering and stumbling through your wedding ceremony.

Finally, there are a few other tips to consider. First, be sure that you have an adequate sound system and microphone for your friend, if necessary. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, or if you’ve invited more than one hundred guests, using a microphone will ensure that all your guests are able to hear your wedding ceremony. In addition, politely ask your friend to write down a copy of what he or she plans to say during the ceremony. Winging it is a great idea for rehearsal dinner speeches or reception toasts – not for the entire ceremony! Also, make time for at least one complete rehearsal of your wedding ceremony to help get rid of any pre-wedding jitters on your friend’s part and to help clean up any awkward sounding text from the speech. With a little extra prep work, you should be well on your way to hosting the personalized ceremony you’ve always dreamed of.

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Filed under: Inexpensive Weddings,Wedding Planning — vicky at 9:59 am on Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Are Wedding Videos Worth It?

For many years, the videographer has been considered a standard expense in the wedding budget – on par with the caterer, the photographer and the invitations. However, more and more brides are rebelling against this tradition in favor of more cost effective alternatives to memorializing their big days. As you plan your wedding, you’ll need to decide whether or not you feel the wedding video is worth the extra expense. Consider the following points when making your decision:

First of all, you’ll want to take a look at the cost of producing a wedding video. Base packages – including one videographer taping only your ceremony – will run from $400-$900, depending on your area. When you start adding in extras, like a second videographer to create a higher quality video or coverage of your reception, the price can easily start to push the $1,200-$1,900 range. Finally, if you opt for the highest quality in wedding video production – including such things as DVD menus, guest interviews, coverage of your rehearsal and more – you can expect to spend anywhere from $3,300-$6,000. Obviously, this is no small line item on your list of budget expenditures and for many brides, this represents money that could be better spent somewhere else.

But beyond the cost of wedding video production, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself to determine whether or not having a wedding video made is worth it for you.

1. Will you ever really go back and watch your video?

Some brides have been planning their wedding since they were five, while others view the marriage process more as a necessity or a personal stepping stone than as a fairy tale night. If you’re the type who’s fantasized about your wedding day ever since you’re elementary school years, paying for a wedding video might be totally worth the expense. If, however, you feel that your wedding is more of a formality, the money you spend on a video might be better spent elsewhere – like on the down payment for a house or on paying off other debts incurred by the wedding.

2. Do you want to have a video crew running around during your ceremony and reception?

Most wedding photographers are fairly unobtrusive, since their equipment can be carried around their necks and they’re able to move quietly around your ceremony and reception with a minimum of disruption. Videographers, on the other hand, don’t blend into their surroundings as well, given the extensive equipment they need to capture a high quality video. Some brides often express resentment at hiring videographers to cover their weddings, citing frustration at having a camera crew following them around all day. Think about it – in order to capture your walk down the aisle, the videographer must be walking closely in front of you, which is what your guests will see. Even if you’re set on having a wedding video made, you’ll need to understand the impact this can have on your big day.

If you’re dead set on having a wedding video, but can’t come up with the money to pay a professional videographer, why not make your own? Enlist the help of three or four friends and family members with camcorders to videotape as much as possible of your rehearsal, wedding ceremony and reception. Once you’re back from the honeymoon, you can combine their footage into your own wedding video using your personal computer. Don’t worry – the video editing software that’s available today is cheap and extremely easy to use. With a little elbow grease, you can produce your own, more personalized wedding video while still saving yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars.

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Filed under: Videography,Wedding Planning — vicky at 9:56 am on Wednesday, October 15, 2008