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Ask a Bridesmaid to Get Ordained to Serve as a Backup Officiant

Published Tuesday, Jul. 13th, 2021

Smiling bridesmaids stand next to a happy bride on the wedding day.

Ask a bridesmaid, best man, or member of your wedding party to serve as a backup wedding officiant 



Shit happens, but that shouldn’t keep your wedding ceremony from happening! 


Wedding officiants are human, just like the rest of us, which means even the very best among them can get sick, get a flat tire, or oversleep… Just like the rest of us.  


That’s why you should always ask a bridesmaid or another member of your wedding party to get ordained before the wedding day to serve as a backup officiant. 


‘Backup Officiants’ are just what they sound like. These are the heroes that swoop in to officiate your wedding at the last minute, when an unexpected disaster strikes and your primary officiant isn’t able to make it to the ceremony. 


Choosing a member of the wedding party to serve as your backup is a simple step toward a stress free wedding day. They’re already part of the wedding planning process and know the tone and style of wedding you have planned, plus it’s guaranteed that they’ll be wearing something fabulous for those ceremony photos! 



The best backup officiant will be a bridesmaid or wedding party member who : 


  • Stays calm under pressure
  • Speaks comfortably in front of a crowd
  • Has a good sense of humor and can think on their feet
  • And is familiar with the tone and vibe you want for your ceremony 



A bride hugs her bridesmaid while the two women smile and laugh together on the wedding day



To prepare, your backup officiant will need to get ordained with American Marriage Ministries before the wedding ceremony. This is free and only takes a few minutes to complete. They might also need to register with the local government as an ordained minister, but only some states require this. 



If registration is required, it might take a couple days or weeks to process, so leave plenty of time to ensure stress-free paperwork and planning.


Then, provide your backup officiant with a simple ceremony script that will work in a pinch and come up with a sweet contingency plan for the wedding day.


Wishing you a wonderful stress-free wedding ceremony! 




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Covering traditions, rituals, and superstitions from all over the world, this book brings magic and a touch of luck to your wedding! 


AMM Minister Eleni Gage and the cover of Lucky in Love


'Lucky in Love' is a cross-cultural collection of marriage folklore to help you create your own lucky traditions with nods to each other’s heritage, customs from places you’ve visited together, and auspicious rituals that just feel special. Whether you are just engaged or only days away from tying the knot, you’ll gain insight every step of the way. Make your own luck in love!


Written by Eleni N. Gage, an AMM Minister and former Executive Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. Illustrated by Emily Isabella. 




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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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