Asking a Friend or Family Member to Officiate Your Wedding? Read This First...
If you and your significant other are considering asking a certain uncle, a college roommate, or perhaps even your college professor to perform your wedding ceremony, here are some important points to keep in mind:
Don’t ask a friend or family member to officiate your wedding just because they have experience speaking in front of people, or because they are “funny.”
You want an officiant who is compatible with you, your significant other, your unique story, and can deliver the telling of that love story in a compelling way. That means asking someone who is articulate, who is not afraid to speak in front of an audience, and who understands the honor of being asked to perform your ceremony. This isn’t a toast or a roast (that's what the reception is for!) - this is your wedding ceremony.
Do ask a friend or family member who is going to create and deliver a wedding ceremony that fits you.
There may be family pressure to ask Uncle Joe because he’s a great public speaker, but if Uncle Joe is a Baptist preacher and you are non-religious, that is not a good fit. It’s likely that the ceremony will not be meaningful or personal to you. Instead, consider Cousin Sally, who has known you since you were both kids, has grown with you, and who (very importantly) shares your vision and spiritual disposition.
Officiants: the unsung heroes of weddings!
Do give the family member or friend time to think about their answer.
Being asked to officiate is a great honor, but preparing for and delivering a wedding ceremony requires work, and doing it right means being comfortable in front of an audience. Not everyone is cut out for this, and plenty of folks get cold feet along the way. If you start early, your officiant will have time to get comfortable with the idea of performing a public speaking role - and you will have time to find a replacement if they decide to back out.
Don't feel offended if the person you ask opts to decline.
Perhaps the person you asked does not feel they are an adequate public speaker, or are afraid of disappointing you. Pressuring or forcing the role of officiant on a loved one will only lead to frustration and disappointment. No matter the reason, respect their decision to say ‘no’ and understand that it’s for the best!
Do seek guidance and assistance, especially if this is the friend or family member’s first time delivering a wedding ceremony.
AMM understands how new the idea of officiating a wedding ceremony can be to first time officiants. Our newly revised Asked to Officiate workbook is the best place to start - we guarantee that utilizing it will lead to a better ceremony. And even if you are sure you’ve got this on your own, we still recommend starting preparations early! Even professional officiants start the ceremony creation process a few months before the wedding.
Spend time learning about how to create and deliver the ceremony with our Wedding Officiant Training, review local policy and officiant registration laws in the state where you will be performing marriage, and browse our store for additional resources that will make your ceremony memorable, meaninful, and one-of-a-kind.
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