(Closed) No officiant? Is this okay?

posted 11 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 17
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

We’re having a friend ‘officiate’ our wedding, but my dad (ordained minister) will sign the paperwork, which is what makes it legal in my state. You could easily do the courthouse in the morning (that was our back up in case dad said no – not that we anticipated that, haha) and have someone else stand up to sort of facilitate so you don’t have to turn around and be like, “Okay ya’ll, now we’re gonna read our vows”, you know?

Post # 18
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Close friends of mine made the decision to get married at the court house on a day just prior to their wedding.  The day of their “ceremony” and reception, a family member was the “officiant”, had friends do “readings” (non-religious excerpts from favored books) and they exchanged their vows, etc.  It was a wonderful celebration. 

Post # 20
79 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Hey, just thought I’d throw this in….

I did what you’re thinking- my first marriage, we had less than 20 people there, in a park, we wrote our own vows, and got married earlier in the day privately.

It was soooooooo very very awkward!!!!! People were just standing around, and then we walked up, stood at our designated spots, and said our vows, kissed, hugged, and then turned around and everyone was like “…. was that it? What are we supposed to do NOW?”. Someone actually said “Oh, is that IT?” (I don’t think she realized I could hear her, lol). Then they realized that we were apparently DONE, and so a couple brave souls came up to hug us, then everyone joined in.

I would recommend having SOMEONE up there, at least for the comfort of your guests, not to mention YOUR comfort. Even if they just say some variation of “hey everyone, thanks so much for being here to celebrate and support (your names here)’s marriage! They’ve written their own vows, which they will now read.”. Then when you’re done, they could just step forward, hug you both and say “Congratulations!” which would signal to the others that it’s now socializing time.

Or, I had a friend who gave everyone little bubble containers, and the person who was standing up in front of everyone urged the guests to join him in blowing bubbles as the bride and groom kissed. It was a nice way to signal the end of the ceremony!

Hope this helps… good luck with your planning! 🙂

Post # 22
3941 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@elusivephoto, which civil officiant did you end up going with?  I’m getting married in Leesburg as well and was hoping to find some insight as to who on the Loudoun County list is a good choice!

Post # 23
1 posts
  • Wedding: November 2013

In Vrginia, an officiant is required for all ceremonies!


Getting married at the courthouse prior to your ceremony is generally not going to happen, since most Virginia courthouses (Including Loudoun County) don’t perform marriage ceremonies.


Getting a civil marriage celebrant is a bad idea because they many times show up late, or not at all because they schedule too many other weddings. Also, many of them cancel on you at the last minute because they take weddings in Maryland, West Virginia, or North Carolina as ministers for a much higher fee. Finally, most civil marriage celebrants are not trained wedding officiants.


Don’t try online ordination, since no Virginia Courts accept it.


You can get a trained wedding minister for less than $300.


Finally, get someone you know to perform your ceremony. HLAM Ministries utilizes cooperating churches to issue ordinations that are accepted by Virginia Courts.

Once your minister is authorized by a Virginia Circuit Court, you can utilize he/she to perform all of your other weddings for family and friends.

Post # 24
551 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

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@CorgiTales:  +1.

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@elusivephoto:  Have a close family or friend officiate 🙂 Ship captains and judges can also officiate ceremonies!

Post # 25
5892 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

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@greatwedding2013:  Virginia is the worst about getting legally married–so difficult. Wish I had known about HLAM Ministries. But in the end, we had my best friend officicat the non-legal wedding (with friends and family) in VA. Then on our Honeymoon in Las Vegas, we got legally married by Elvis under the Las Vegas sign. More expensive, but so much fun!!

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