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Asked to Officiate a Friend’s Wedding? Ask These 5 Questions to Plan an Unforgettable Ceremony!

Published Monday, May. 15th, 2023

Photo: Stephen Leonardi / Unsplash

A first-time officiant shares the first five questions he asked after being approached to officiate a friend’s wedding…


and you should take notes!



Listen now: 

AMM Audio Articles · Asked to Officiate a Friend’s Wedding? Ask These 5 Questions to Plan an Unforgettable Ceremony!




When Matt’s former student Ryan asked him to perform his marriage ceremony, Matt was thrilled! 


The two men had become good friends in the years since sharing a classroom, and the bride-to-be, Katie, was a fellow alumnus of Christopher Newport University (in Newport News, Virginia). All three had graduated with history degrees from the university, and the couple wanted to have their ceremony on campus where they met. 


First, Matt got ordained online with American Marriage Ministries.


Then, to make sure he did a fantastic job performing the ceremony, Matt set about answering a few very important questions…


Questions that every first-time wedding officiant should ask! 


Here are Matt’s first 5 questions after being asked to officiate, in his own words. 


To hear more about his exciting experience as an officiant, check out his TikTok below.


AMM Minister Matt performs a wedding ceremony for Katie and Ryan at Christopher Newport University

AMM Minister Matt Brent performs a beautiful ceremony for Katie and Ryan on campus at Christopher Newport University. (Photo taken from wedding video, courtesy of Matt)



1. "Are you sure about this?!?!" 


“I think my first question was "Are you sure about this?!?!" Kidding, of course!”


Matt might be kidding, but this is a valid question! First time officiants and to-be-weds should make sure they’re ready to take the responsibilites of officiating seriously, and talk about the details to ensure they’re a good match. It’s not personal – it’s just smart!


Related: Asking a Friend or Family Member to Officiate Your Wedding? Read This First...


2. "What kind of ceremony do you want?" 


“My main concerns were about making the ceremony what they wanted, so my first [serious] question was ‘What kind of ceremony do you want?’ 


I've attended my share of weddings, including those involving a Catholic mass, ones with a plethora of readings and music, and some that were civil in nature that focused on the union rather than religion. I wanted to make sure I was capable of doing what they wanted.”


YES! This is one of the most important questions any officiant can ask, whether it’s your first time officiating or your hundredth. Each couple has their own idea of a ‘perfect’ ceremony, and it’s important to set aside your assumptions of what that might be and ask them. 


Like Matt points out, it’s essential to ask the couple if they want religious or civil ceremony, what types of readings or music they want to include (if any), how many people will attend, and how long they want the ceremony to last (weddings with a mass last MUCH longer than a typical civil elopement, for example). 


Related: Your Religion, My Religion, or No Religion - Make Sure Your Officiant Knows!



Photos of AMM Minister Matt with the bride, Katie, and the groom, Ryan, posing for selfies at the wedding reception following the ceremony

Matt poses with newlyweds Ryan and Katie at the reception. (Photo taken from TikTok, courtesy of Matt)


3. "What resources are available to help me plan this thing?"


“Once I had an idea of what they wanted, the next question was ‘What resources are available to help me plan this thing?’ 


I had to search for potential scripts and determine if I needed to write it up myself. From what I recall, I wrote most of what I said after reviewing samples I found online.”


Yep, another excellent question! One with an easy answer:


AMM offers tons of online resources for first-time wedding officiants, including a large Wedding Ceremony Script Library filled with sample wedding scripts, blog articles and advice, and officiant training materials that cover everything from minister registration to signing the marriage license. 



4. "How can I personalize this ceremony?”


“Another question, which ties into my previous one, was ‘How can I personalize this ceremony and connect it to Ryan and Katie?’


I met with them via Zoom a few times to hammer it out, and using information they gave me, and my own relationship with them, I was able to add personal stories and touches to the ceremony.”


You guys, Matt is the perfect example of an invested wedding officiant. Follow his lead! Meet with the couple to talk about the details of the ceremony, learn more about their relationship, and personalize the wedding script. 


One of the best parts of officiating a friend's wedding is your close personal connection with the couple. Take advantage of it! 


Related: Tips for Personalizing a Wedding Ceremony



Photo of the wedding party and the bride and groom with the officiant during the ceremony

The wedding party! (Photo taken from wedding video, courtesy of Matt)


5. "How do I do this officially?" 


“Although not directly related to the ceremony itself, I also had to figure out how to register with the state to perform the ceremony. So the question of “How do I do this officially?” was certainly an important one, too!”


Yes! Each state has its own ‘registration’ requirements for wedding officiants to ensure they’re legally qualified to marry people. 


After you’ve become an ordained minister with AMM, you might need to register your ordination with your local government before performing the marriage. This can take a few days, or a few weeks, so don’t leave it for the last minute. 


Keep things legal by checking your state’s requirements here:



And don’t forget to reach out to your local county clerk for guidance on returning the marriage license on time in your county or municipality. 



Hear about Matt’s first time officiating in his own words - watch the video below! 



@profmattyb I officiated a wedding today! Congrats to the newlyweds! Love you guys! #greenscreen #wedding #teacher #professor #college #christophernewportuniversity #cnu #friends ♬ original sound - Matt Brent, Ph.D.





Read Next: 



Close up illustration of a wedding officiant on the wedding day, wearing a bowtie.

Illustration: Jessica Levey

Officiant checklist: What to do right before delivering a wedding ceremony & performing marriage to avoid mishaps, mistakes, and accidents. Read the full article. 




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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