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Ask your Best Man to serve as backup officiant to ward off wedding day disasters

Published Monday, Aug. 22nd, 2022

Here’s how asking your Best Man, Person of Honor, groomsman, or another member of the wedding party to serve as a backup wedding officiant can save the wedding day...



...and make you even better friends than before.


Listen now:

AMM Audio Articles · Asking your Best Man to serve as backup officiant can ward off wedding day disasters




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 best of them sometimes oversleep, wake up sick, or get a flat tire on the way to an important appointment… Just like the rest of us! 


But when that important ‘appointment’ is your wedding ceremony, it can be a problem.


That’s why it’s a good idea to ask your best man, groomsman, 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 step up 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 an easy way to ensure a stress free wedding day. They’re already part of the wedding planning process and know the tone and vibe of the wedding you have planned, plus it’s guaranteed they’ll be wearing something that looks good in ceremony photos. 


Related: What to Wear (and Not Wear) as a Wedding Officiant



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


  • Stays calm under pressure
  • Is comfortable talking in front of a room full of guests
  • Has a good sense of humor and can think on their feet
  • And is familiar with tone and vibe you want for your ceremony 



A group of groomsman and the groom at a wedding


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

Here’s to planning ahead for a stress-free wedding ceremony! 






P.S. Don't have a 'Best Man'? Anyone of any gender from your wedding party will make for an excellent back up wedding officiant. Your Best Person, Person of Honor, or Attendant of Honor is perfect for the role. Practice with them before the ceremony, then relax knowing you're covered no matter what happens the day of the wedding! 



You might also like: 







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. 




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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