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How to Have a ‘Friends Only’ Wedding Ceremony - No Family Invited

Published Thursday, Dec. 1st, 2022

Not inviting family to your wedding? Have a friends only ceremony instead!



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AMM Audio Articles · How to Have a ‘Friends Only’ Wedding Ceremony - No Family Invited



Maybe your family drives you crazy. Maybe they’re opinionated, nosey, divorced, dysfunctional, or abusive. Or maybe you just want to celebrate the start of your marriage with the people you love most, in a drama-free friends-only ceremony. 


Whatever the reason for not inviting your family to your wedding, we get it. You don’t need to feel guilty for not wanting your relatives at your wedding. After all, it’s your day to celebrate just the way you want! 


Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of pressure out there to have the traditional ‘perfect’ wedding – to have a mother or father walk you down the aisle, a sibling supporting you at the altar, or a row of grandparents smiling right up front as you take your vows. 


But those old fashioned wedding traditions just don’t work for a lot of us, and there’s no reason to let it get you down or keep you from celebrating in style. Friends-only elopements and weddings are tons of fun and filled with lots of love, no matter what size the guest list is… or who’s on it. 


Below, we describe each of the main roles to fill during your wedding ceremony and which of your friends will be the perfect fit, from wedding officiant, to people of honor (a gender-neutral approach to bridesmaids and groomsmen) and special readers. 



Two excited brides, newlyweds, look at the camera with excited happy expressions. One bride holds the other in her arms.

It's your wedding... have it YOUR way! 



Throw a ‘friends only’ wedding ceremony instead!  


To throw a perfect ‘friends only’ wedding, cast your favorite friends in each of the important roles below.  



  • Friend officiant


Your officiant is the person who conducts the wedding ceremony and signs your marriage license. 


Ask a close friend to be your wedding officiant. Choose someone who can think on their feet, loves to meet new people, and knows how to meet a deadline. Choose one of your most responsible friends for this role, since they’ll be the one signing your marriage license. 


They’ll just need to get ordained online and register before it’s time to officiate. 


+ Get ordained online here and learn how to officiate a wedding today. 


+ How to Officiate a Wedding For the First Time


+ Propose to your wedding officiant : This gift box has everything they’ll need to officiate 




Wedding officiant performs an alternative outdoor wedding ceremony for a young couple

Your officiant will be one of the most important people at your wedding. 

Choose wisely! 



  • Friendly walk down the aisle 


It’s customary for someone to accompany a marrier down the aisle during the procession at the start of the ceremony. 


Choose a friend who’s always ready to go on an adventure with you for this role. And if that friend just happens to be your fiancé, the two of you can walk down the aisle together! Or walk down the aisle alone to celebrate your independence in love on your wedding day. 


+ Mix things up with 7 Alternatives to Walking Down the Aisle




  • Friends of Honor


Your ‘friends of honor’ are your wedding attendants. These people might be tasked with bringing supplies, keeping things on schedule, and trouble-shooting if anything goes wrong on the wedding day.


Choose one or two of your closest friends to serve as a Person of Honor on the big day. This person will help you get dressed, hand you that mimosa or coffee, and talk you off the ledge if you start to feel stressed. They might also hold the rings or give a reading during the ceremony (it’s up to you!). Choose someone who’s punctual, organized, and makes you laugh for this role. 




A group of friends stand in a circle at a wedding wearing matching pink dresses, with their feet all extended into the center of the circle in matching white tennis shoes.

Who will be your 'friends of honor' on the wedding day?



  • Wedding Readers


Wedding readers are those special people who step on stage to read a poem, letter, or a meaningful literary passage during a ceremony. Sometimes, this person will play an instrument or sing a song instead of reading.


Choose a friend who’s genuine, entertaining, and confident in front of a crowd. This is the friend who speaks from the heart, who knows both you and your partner well, and who doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing feelings. This sweet friend will deliver a reading that brings happy tears to everyone’s eyes, including yours! 


+ Browse Wedding Readings here




Need a wedding officiant script? 

A Simple Wedding Script
to Use When a Friend Officiates Your Ceremony

This simple template makes it easy for a couple and their friend officiant to write a custom ceremony. Just fill in the blanks with details from your love story to create a sweet officiant speech and personal vows.

See the full wedding script. 

A wedding officiant performs a ceremony on the beach, he is laughing with the bride and groom and holding up a microphone

American Marriage Ministries logo with two gold rings below three blue stars


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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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