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