Published: Wednesday, Aug. 14th, 2019

Co-Officiating a Wedding Ceremony: The More the Marrier? 

What if you can't choose just one wedding officiant? 



Being asked to officiate a wedding is perhaps the highest honor a couple can bestow on a friend or family member. But what if there are so many great choices that they just can’t choose? 


Couples facing this dilemma have asked us if it’s possible to have two or more officiants officiate a wedding ceremony and our position is...  Go for it!


(This couple planned a virtual handfasting with both the bride and groom's fathers co-officiating from separate locations! Handfasting and Virtual Weddings: Keeping Traditions Alive in Modern Microweddings.)


Here’s the deal. It’s all about planning and organization. If you are thinking about having two or more people co-officiate your ceremony, here are a few thoughts and observations based on past experiences:




1. Check in with your local clerk and see what the local laws have to say about it.


Most states have requirements about who performs certain parts of the ceremony, signs the marriage license, and acts as a witness. County clerks are your friends. They are experts on the local rules, and they will be able to tell you exactly what’s required. Call them!



You'll want to be especially thorough when researching the rules around virtual or hybrid ceremonies. In most states, at least one officiant will need to be physically present to sign the marriage license, and must meet the other requirements to perform marriage in your state.



Sometimes one just isn't enough...


2. Communication between the couple and the multiple officiants is especially important.


We can’t stress this enough: the officiant(s) and the couple need to communicate multiple times to make sure that they are on the same page as far as the wedding ceremony and everything is getting done on time and as planned.


When you add a fourth (or fifth) person to the ceremony, this communication is even more critical. That’s because the co-officiants and the couple will have to work together to ensure that the logistics of the ceremony flow and delivery are worked out.


(Read Couples: How to Work Best With Your Wedding Officiant and Safe Ceremony Planning — How Wedding Officiants Can Still Get to Know a Couple, While Social Distancing.)



3. Consider forking out the readings.


If you want a friend or family member involved, but want a certain officiant to do the heavy lifting (like giving the commencement and conducting the vows etc), consider having a friend or family member do a reading or two as part of the ceremony. This gives them the honor of being a part of the wedding day but doesn’t require as much time and effort.


(There are lots of ways to get multiple family members and generations involved, for example this sample ceremony script for a variation on handfasting.)


Co-officiating is a great way to get multiple friends/family members involved, or get a friend or family member involved, but it’s important to put in the extra planning. As always, we advise couples to think long and hard about who they want to perform their wedding ceremony. 



Make sure that you choose an officiant who shares your passion for the ceremony, who “gets” you, and who is willing to put in the time and effort to make sure that this once-in-a-lifetime moment turns out exactly the way you want it to! Think you've found the perfect person, or people to perform your ceremony? Read Asking a Friend or Family Member to Officiate Your Wedding? Read This First...


Updated May 4, 2021


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