Many couples dream of having a beloved friend officiate their ceremony. It’s a unique way to personalize your wedding and create a ceremony with your individual love story in mind.
The problem is that it’s also a big job. And if your friend isn’t ready for it, it could end in disaster.
1. Will they be emotional?
Having a close friend officiate may seem like the perfect way to make your wedding extra special. However, it can be extremely difficult for them to remain impartial during the ceremony. There is a big chance they will become very emotional and could possibly cry during the processional or when you exchange rings. This is a very delicate situation and could ruin your wedding day for you, your family + your friends.
If your friend is emotional, it can also be a sign that they aren’t suited to officiate your wedding. A person who is too emotionally invested in your wedding can easily get overwhelmed and won’t be able to write an effective and meaningful ceremony for you. In addition, if your friend becomes too emotional during the ceremony, it can also be distracting to your guests.
Lastly, many people don’t realize that their friend is actually working at their wedding rather than enjoying the ceremony + party. When couples ask their friend to officiate, they take away their role as a guest and give them work instead. This can be really hard for your friend to take if they are a very social person or if their friendship with you was built on their ability to be a fun and social person. A good officiant will not only understand this, but will also work to incorporate the unique personality of your friend into your ceremony.
2. What if they have stage fright?
A well-written ceremony laced with love and inspiring words can fall flat if the officiant doesn’t deliver it with the right tone and inflection. Many couples choose to ask a friend or family member to officiate their adventure elopement because they want that personalized touch but, it can become a disaster if they don’t prepare properly or freeze up in front of your guests.
It might be a great idea to offer your officiant a small gift similar to the ones offered to bridal party members. This is no easy task and should not be taken lightly. Also, make sure to include the cost of getting ordained (if necessary) in your budget and give them plenty of time before the wedding so they can practice their speech and get comfortable with the role.
As much as we want our friends to enjoy their time at our wedding, it is also not their day. If they don’t feel up to it, they should be honest about it and let you know so that you can find someone else. You might even have to rewrite your ceremony script if they aren’t comfortable with it. There are also several things a professional does during a ceremony that you might not be aware of. This includes announcing cocktail hour instructions, leading your guests into your reception site and directing the rehearsal.
3. Will they make it about them?
Having a friend officiate your wedding ceremony can be a way to save a little money while having someone close to you lead the celebration. But before you ask a pal to take on this role, make sure that they understand how important this is and are prepared for the commitment required. The last thing you want is for your friend to turn the ceremony into a political statement or a joke because they feel it’s their chance to showcase their own relationship with yours.
Your officiant should be comfortable talking in front of a crowd and know how to deliver a script. Plus, they need to be able to handle any issues that may arise during the ceremony. These could include a guest fainting (it has happened at a wedding I officiated once), a candle accidentally setting an arch on fire, distracting loud noises, etc.
A great friend will be able to take any issue in stride and focus on what really matters: the couple getting married. And they should be able to write a script that details your own unique love story rather than reading from a generic template. This is what will set their ceremony apart from other weddings your guests have been to.
4. Will they make a mistake?
Having your friend officiate your wedding may seem like an easy and cheap alternative to a professional Celebrant. But if they don’t fully understand the weight of the role, or they make a mistake during the ceremony (or worse – don’t show up!), they can be held liable. I’ve seen couples get sued for this, and even if they don’t, it’s not fun. And it takes time to get the marriage license back and file it, which means more money out of your pocket.
Plus, if your Friend doesn’t register the marriage in a timely manner or have the proper paperwork to officiate, it could result in fines and a marriage that is not even legal! This is why it’s important that they research the process of becoming ordained and what their local laws require. They should also familiarize themselves with the legalities involved in marrying a couple.
It’s a lot to ask of your friend, and you don’t want them to be put in an unfavorable position by the County Clerk for committing a crime! I’ve seen this happen too many times. It can break up friendships, cost you money and even get your friend in trouble with the law! This is definitely not what you want on your wedding day.
After thinking it through and you still want the ceremony to be a family or friend officiate, there is a solution that simplifies the process. Just have a registered officiant do the legal marriage paperwork with you first. You can legally get married without a ceremony first. Get it out of the way – legally. Then have your friend officiate the ceremony without any worries. You get the best of both worlds this way. You can rest assured that the wedding is legit and registered with the proper authorities AND you can save the time and stress from your friend so they can focus on performing a ceremony for you.
Should you be planning to marry in the Honolulu, Hawaii area – contact the ideal ceremony officiant in Oahu with a call at 808.383.7090 contact us here.