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How to Deal With Not Being Asked to Officiate a Wedding

Published Friday, Dec. 17th, 2021

Were you expecting a friend or family member to ask you to officiate their wedding… but they asked someone else instead? Ooof… 


Moments like this can really sting. Especially if you’ve been anticipating this wedding for a while, and always assumed you’d be the first in line to perform their ceremony. 


Whether you’re a mother or father of the couple, a favorite uncle, a sibling, a close friend, or even a professional wedding officiant, not getting asked to perform a ceremony for two people you adore can be a big disappointment. 


Here’s how to deal… and get back to celebrating.


First, remember it’s not personal. 
(We promise!)


Although it might feel like it at the moment, remember that not being asked to officiate probably isn’t personal.


Engaged couples have all kinds of factors to consider when deciding who will officiate their wedding, including family or religious obligations, location, formality, tone, an officiant’s level of experience, cost, and more. 



For example, they may feel obligated to ask a certain relative to marry them, or they may choose to have their wedding in a church, officiated by a priest or pastor, to honor the wishes of religious family members. 


Or maybe they really want you to attend as a guest, so that you can sip cocktails and celebrate with them on the wedding day without the additional responsibilities that come with officiating. 


And they might want you to help in some other way, either as a member of the wedding party, or simply by providing a sympathetic ear during the stress of wedding planning. 


Remember that choosing an officiant is sometimes a complicated process for couples, and that their choice probably isn’t personal. And ultimately, they should choose a wedding officiant that will meet their unique needs -- whoever that might be. 



three young men in suits stand together to celebrate a wedding

No matter what, enjoy the wedding day and celebrate with friends.



Then, find another way to contribute to the wedding day.


The best way to get over not being asked to officiate is to find another way to support and celebrate your loved one on their wedding day. You don’t have to be right up front, delivering the ceremony, to make a meaningful and lasting impact on their day. 


Consider other ways that you can help, such as offering to run day-of errands, giving a toast at the reception dinner, or volunteering to pick up friends and relatives at the airport. 


Get ordained to be a back-up officiant (the hero that saves the day and signs the marriage license if the original officiant is unable to perform the ceremony at the last minute), or to arrive at the venue early to help with set-up or snack runs. 


And remember that any special talent (such as decorating skills, cooking, or calming crying children) can all be incredibly useful come wedding day! 


Officiating is only one of the many important roles friends and family can play on the wedding day. For more tips on how to help make their wedding as wonderful as possible, read: 


5 Ways to Help an Engaged Friend Get Ready for the Wedding Day 




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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