Post # 1
We decided on a nondenominational custom ceremony since we’re an interfaith couple. Instead of paying several hundred dollars for a nondenominational minister, we asked a friend to get ordained. This guy is an amazing public speaker, and I have been in love with his voice for years (Seriously, I would always tell him to get a job that involves lots of public speaking).
FMIL is really not a fan of this idea. She says he will make repeated mistakes since he’s never married anyone before and that older guests won’t take him seriously because he’s “just a kid” (FI, me and our friend are all 23.) I am worried that she could be right. We are going to write out the whole ceremony word by word and run through it a few times together. And he’ll have the text to read from at the ceremony, but probably no other prep.
Has anyone been to weddings where a friend of the couple marries them? Do you think he won’t be taken seriously and/or mess up the ceremony?
Post # 3
We are doing the same thing. I’m sure some people disagree or will disagree with it. I’ve discussed with a close aunt and she says, “In the end, it’s your wedding. If they want to have a priest officiate a wedding, they can do it at their own wedding.”
For your reference, I am 24 and FI is 25. We were both raised Catholic but both do not practice. Our friend is 23. It’s $50 to have him become a Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriages for one day and it is a legal civil ceremony. Rather than pay about $50-100+ to have a stranger do the same thing.
We wrote out our own ceremony word for word and are going to go through it with him. He’ll have the text to read from during the ceremony. He’s a good public speaker.
Post # 4
If he’s a fantastic public speaker, then he’s probably not going to make repeated mistakes. As for the issue of older guests taking him seriously, you have to ask yourself – does it matter? I’m reminded of when my parents got married, my dad’s brother had just been ordained as a Baptist minister, and my parents were the first couple he had ever married. I think he was 28. My mom’s parents were incredibly anxious; they wanted to see a copy of his papers, they wouldn’t believe the marriage would really be official, they didn’t take him seriously! Everyone can laugh about it now, especially since my uncle is now retired from being senior pastor of a church for something like 30 years, and my parents have been married for 38 years.
You should be married by someone you feel comfortable with and whom you feel will do well, and it sounds like you’ve got him. Your parents will probably feel better about it if you have the ceremony language finalized very early on and allow them to be present for the zillionth time you all run through it before the day of the official rehearsal.
Post # 5
I’m also asking a friend, though we and she are older. She has done a couple of commitment ceremonies for the same-sex couples in our circle of friends, and I saw her first one. It is just like any other public speaking, with a few “action” moments added in. If he is a confident public speaker and can roll with any small bumps, you guys will be fine. The number one thing is to do everything slowly: speaking, transitions, actions, etc. Hurrying causes confusion and problems.
Post # 6
I’ve been to a wedding where the friend officiated. He happened to be a bit older than 23 but that doesn’t really matter, in my opinion. I think if you express to your friend how important this is to you, he’ll understand that he has to take it seriously. If he means a lot to you, and you’re confident in his ability to perform the ceremony, I’d suggest you still do it. I definitely understand your FMIL’s reservations and she may be right. But if his hearts in the right place, a few lil mess up’s won’t be so bad. At least he’ll get your names right! 🙂 I’d also suggest you go over it with him a lot, and give him the text to study on his own time.
Post # 7
We did this exact same thing – and it worked out perfectly! He was amazing, he didn’t miss a single word. As a matter of fact, he’s the only one of us that didn’t flub up, lol! And he’s only 26. It really depends on the person, but if he’s a good public speaker and not made nervous by crowds, he’ll be fine. And no one will think he’s not serious because of his age! I doubt anyone will really notice!
Post # 8
Don’t let you FMIL bully you. My mom told me to say this to my FMIL whenever she rolls her eyes at one of my ideas “Oh FMIL, I understand. Back when you got married that is how they did things but now people are much more open to the idea of _____ and I know that they’ll understand. And if they don’t, they’ll have to get over it because its my wedding and I’m the bride” Of course I’ve never said that word for word it has helped in a few sticky situations!
(On that note, I vote GO FOR IT! Your friend will make things even more special and if your older relatives are too old to understand that love doesn’t need a 60 year old guy who has been ordained they can get over it 🙂 )
Post # 9
We didn’t have a friend do our ceremony, but I honestly see nothing wrong with your situation, and your FMIL should just chillax about the whole thing.
As long as your friend includes the required legal stuff, you guys will be fine. In NYS, where we g ot married, our officiant told us that all the ceremony has to include is like five minutes of legal stuff and that’s it. The rest is up to the couple. So just make sure that’s all covered and you guys have yourselves the best darn ceremony your guests have ever seen!
Your friend sounds like a great person to do this. If your guests don’t like it or take it seriously, well, that’s on them. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t though.
Post # 10
My sister was married by our uncle. Besides the budget friendly benefits, it made for an extremely personal ceremony that was very meaningful. She is a huge Beatles fan and he tucked all of his notes into a Beatles album cover, which was a fun surprise.
Do you really care of the older guests take him seriously or not? If you and your future husband take him seriously, who cares!? Even if he stumbles over his words once or twice (which it doesn’t really sound like he will), having him marry you will probably be more meaningful than any officiant that doesn’t truely know you. You might even want to see what he can come up with on his own before you write him a whole “script”, you’d be surprised how amazing the things he’d like to say might be.
Post # 11
i cant recall ive ever sat back and looked at a young minister and decided not to take him seriously based on his age or lack of. and as far as making mistakes, youtube and you will see alot of older and more experienced ministers making mistakes – it happens
i think your FMIL is over thinking the entire thing and needs to be told thank you for your concern but shut the heck up 🙂
Post # 12
Stand your ground. My dad wasn’t at all happy when I told him we wanted a friend to perform the wedding. We are both practicing Christians but it made sense for us to have a close friend do the marrying. In fact, I thought it would be more special but this is because we don’t have a pastor that knows both of us well only pastors that know one or the other better. Our friend was concerned that she would mess up but I told her honestly that didn’t matter and it just mattered more having her do it. I wanted someone who couldn’t marry people in their sleep because we wanted an original ceremony with our closest people standing with us. My dad even played the “I’m paying for it so what I want goes” card but my mom reminded him nicely it was my wedding and they are paying for what their daughters wanted regardless if they didn’t like all the decisions. It wasn’t the pastor that makes the marriage works. Your friend will do great and I’m sure they recognize what an honor it is.
Edit: Yes, shut the heck up. 🙂
Post # 13
Thanks for the advice everyone – I feel a lot more confident after hearing your experiences. I think we’ll be sticking with our friend, and I’m not having any more second thoughts about having him marry us =)
Post # 14
I think it’ll be fine! Go with your gut 🙂
Post # 15
One of my best friend’s recently went to a wedding where the bride’s brother and sister officiated the wedding. She (as well as others in attendance) said it was the most awkward and strange ceremony they had been to. This may be a reflection of the couple, and I doubt they had any reservations about making the decision they did.
I guess my point is – not everyone will see eye to eye with any decision, let alone who officiates. If it makes sense to you and FI about having your friend do it – and you will be happy having that person (regardless if they mess up!) then move forward. I’m sure experienced officiants mess up from time to time!!
Also – re: the age factor – if you and FI are ok with it – then don’t worry about.
Post # 16
Friends of ours did this last year for their destination wedding and it was fantastic! If this is what you and your FI want, then stand up for yourself! if, of course, this is one of those “pick your battles” type situations worth fighting for.