(Closed) OMG! Officiant basically quit!

posted 10 years ago in Secular
Post # 32
106 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this. My Fiance is not religious and I was raised both religious and non (long story LOL) …anyway, it was really important to both of us NOT to have a religious ceremony.

My advice is 1. Look for another officiant who definitely has no problem with a non-religious ceremony. We found ours on theknot.com list of officiants. I think your closest area is Detroit Metro, right? Here is the link:


Did you contact all 9 of those people to see if one is available for your date??

Or, even better, I just found this: do a search on weddingwire.com for officiants in the Detroit Metro area : this search returned 50 possibilities!!! —


Start contacting them, set up meetings,etc. Once you find a new one…politely “fire” the other one. Just calmly and politely say you are very sorry about the misunderstanding but it’s really a better choice for you and your Fiance to have a non-denominational service.

I hope it works out, let us know what happens. Best of Luck!


Post # 33
487 posts
Helper bee

I agree with Future Mrs. Martin- do not apologize for not being religious!

My fiance and I are running into the same problem.  Neither of us are religious (certain members of our families are though) and have run into a few problems when talking about the ceremony.  We have avoided this somewhat by having the ceremony outside (avoids some of the, “What do you mean you aren’t getting married inside a church?” comments )but are still kinda stuck on the officiant issue.

I agree that if he isn’t comfortable omitting god from the ceremony then he shouldn’t do it but he really should not have agreed to in the first place.

I second love2lol’s comment. Try more people! Also, a lot of officiants will travel (some for free up to a certain amount of miles then a small fee for over that amount) I would search for any officiant within a 2 hour drive.  Good luck!

Post # 34
247 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2011 - The Viceroy

@  lilyfaith I thought a friend could marry you in IL as long as they were ordained?  Do you know if the laws changed?  Here’s a thread that discusses it http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/online-ordination

I don’t know what the laws are in MI, but there are a lot of good ideas here, good luck!

Post # 35
5262 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2012

@Genesee – when I looked up the law a few months ago, it said that the ordained individual had to have a congregation that met a certain number of times per year/month, whatever – not sure if that’s changed? I looked into it because we do want a completely secular ceremony, and I had hoped that’d be an option. 

Perhaps there is a loophole with some of the online sites? Such as they have actual churches, but ordain people for money?

Post # 38
732 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010 - The Tower Club

So, if I’m reading this correctly, he’s not uncomfortable performing a secular wedding, he just won’t do it.  ??

Well, I’m glad everything worked out!

Post # 39
6593 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

I am glad you found a new officiant!


Post # 40
2820 posts
Sugar bee

Glad you found someone you’re comfortable with.

I’m not sure how his two statements are inconsistent though.  You two have different ideas of what a wedding is so good thing you looked elsewhere.

Post # 41
965 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I think the best thing to do is take a DEEP BREATH! And think about the facts.

1. Is it possible that you made a mistake in hiring him? Obviously you many not have know that a Christian minister would be unable to do a secular service, but from my point of vier (nonreligious) I would have suspected such.

2. You have WEDDING BEES helping you! I bet you can find someone to do it quick! I found my secular officiant on Craigslist.

Good luck!

Post # 42
612 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@future_mrs_kirsch: Honestly, you have absolutely no right being mad or upset with this guy at all. Zero. He is a minister and his first obligation is to God, no matter what he thinks is a secular ceremony. It baffles me you even asked and more so baffles me you are even slightly upset at his attitude.

I am glad you found a new minister. MT is really lax about the marriage laws. It even says “The solemnization of the marriage is not invalidated by the fact that the person solemnizing the marriage was not legally qualified to solemnize it, if either party to the marriage believed him to be so qualified.” So,,,,basically as long as the Fiance and I “believe” my cousin is able to marry us then it is A-OK. He still got ordained online, but he didn’t need to. 🙂

Post # 43
1426 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

It seems like there was just a misunderstanding on both parts with the first officiant.  He probably thought you wanted to keep it non-denominational (to accommodate a diversity of beliefs) but still with Christian overtones, because that’s typically what people want when they contact ministers.  You however thought you had made it clear that you were looking for a secular ceremony.  I don’t think either one of you was intentionally misleading each other, it was just an unfortunate miscommunication.

I’m glad you found someone else who better fits your needs.  However I wouldn’t spend any more time being upset about the other guy, it really doesn’t seem like he was doing anything to try to trip you up.

Post # 45
2186 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

i think greenleaf is right – he probably thought “non-religous” meant “non-denominational” and you meant “non-religous” as “secular”

simple misunderstanding it seems like – and it also seems liek his reasoning for not doing a secular marriage is exactly what i described. his defininition of marriage as an officiant is religious, therefore he can not swear and sign paperwork that doesnt involve those things because he would be lying.

and just FYI – just because its not your “full time job” doesnt make you any less of a minister. my father is technically not a full time minister, hes both a cop AND a minister, but that is because he cant support himself on what the churhc pays, so he preaches on sundays, and works patrol full time. doesnt discount his ordination any less, it just means the amount of hours you work the job.

Post # 46
516 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

I am glad you found someone willing to perform your ceremony!

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