Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2nd, 2019
If you and your significant other are considering asking a certain uncle, mutual friend, or perhaps even your college professor to perform your wedding ceremony, here are some important points to keep in mind:
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.
Ask someone who gets you, who understands you and your partner's shared values, and who will create and deliver a 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're non-religious, that's not a good fit. It’s likely that the ceremony won't be meaningful or personal to you. Instead, consider Cousin Sally, who's known you since you were both kids, has grown with you, and who (very importantly) shares your vision and spiritual disposition.
Choose someone who understands what the committment of marriage means to you.
Give your friend or family member 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 take it personally if the person you ask to perform your wedding says no. Perhaps they don't feel they're an adequate public speaker, or maybe they're 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!
Especially if this is the friend or family member’s first time delivering a wedding ceremony! We understand 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.
Once you've found your perfect officiant, 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.
Updated April 2022
AMM offers a very special ordination package that couples can purchase as a gift for the friend or relative that will be officiating their wedding. This package builds on the tradition of choosing gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen (or bridesmen and groomsmaids), and allows couples to share the excitement and honor with their officiant!
The package contains everything a loved one needs to perform a ceremony, including minister credentials and licensing materials, the AMM Minister Manual, our step by step ceremony creation workbook, Asked to Officiate, a satin wedding stole, enamel minister's pin, and more. Learn more and order a gift box for your officiant here!
Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!