Post # 1
My fiance and I are inclined toward a secular wedding. We’ve looked into a few options that we’d be happy with, but we’re also wondering about the idea of having a friend or family member perform the ceremony, through one of those ordaining services. I’ve read a lot of stories about people who went this route and found it to be especially meaningful. However, I’m wondering if there are any downsides. Would a more “professional” celebrant do a better job? Does running a wedding take any particular skill set, other than talking in front of a crowd? I’m very interested in your experiences!!
Post # 3
Well, my Future Mother-In-Law had a lot to say about why it could be a bad idea (we’re having one of our friends marry us, and he’s never done a wedding before). I think the main idea is if they don’t have experience, they may not know how to handle pitfalls, and you might have more fumbles/awkwardness than with a pro. Also for us personally our friend is 23 so some older guests might not take him seriously.
In the end, I think it’s worth to take the chance, but I would make sure your officiant is 100% committed to doing this and practicing a lot. I would be interested to hear more about potential downsides too, though.
Post # 4
@lazylazywoman: what a good topic! I’m interested to know if there are pitfalls too!
Post # 5
We are having a non-secular ceromony. I was raised Catholic yet my fiance had no religious affiliation. My brother will performing the ceremony. He has been ordained via the internet but has been mentored by an ordained minister in preparation for our wedding. Obviously we are non-traditional in this approach. But I am so excited to have my big brother, someone who knows us personally to conduct the ceremony. I think it makes it more personal and intimate. Some may find it weird or inappropriate but in 60 years when we look back on our wedding day, standing at the alter, I would much rather remember the words of my brother than a minister/priest/stranger.
And if there are flubs or fumbles, they are just more moments to remember your wedding by 🙂
Post # 6
Negative – you probably have to write your own ceremony 🙂
But, for us, this is far outweighed by how much more personal our ceremony will be.
Post # 7
Hmm….I would say that if something were to happen between the friend and you or the groom beforehand it could get ugly but if it is a good friend then this is probably not likely to happen. Or maybe they arent the best at public speaking and mess up a little bit. Honestly though who really cares about that?? Were having a friend officiate and I havent even thought about pitfalls!
Post # 8
We are having a friend perform our ceremony, but he is already an associate pastor of a church. He has not done any weddings, but is comfortable in front of crowds and publicly speaking. To avoid any issues, we are writing the entire ceremony for him and letting him read from a script.
The possibility of a “mistake” is less important to us than having a meaningful ceremony.
Post # 9
My G’ma is a minister of the Universal Life Church and we had her perform our ceremony. It was very personal and a lot of our guests thought it was a great idea. She was dressed like the minister and she even gave me a ceremony template for couples she has married.
She did stumble through one part at the exchanging of rings, she had me repeat “I take you as my wife” instead of husband but the entire crowd loved it.
I have to say that even with the ceremony details it was a little unorganized but no one including myself really minded. It all turned out well.
Post # 10
My Fiance performed both his sisters’ weddings after being ordained online, and the only downfall was that he was really emotional the whole time. He said that being that close to his sisters while they went through this incredibly significant moment, and knowing what a huge part he played in it, was just a lot of emotion for him. He definitely cried straight through both ceremonies–tears pouring, nose running. He was embarrassed, but I’ll be honest, I think everyone in attendance loved it all the more because it was so personal. And it reminded me of exactly why I’m marrying him–he has a beautiful, loving heart. His brother in law will be returning the favor and performing our ceremony, and we’re very excited about it. Yes, you have to write your own ceremony, but that’s the fun part!
Post # 11
My stepfather is a Methodist minister and performed our ceremony. It absolutely meant the world to me to have someone so special to me fill that role. There were so many priceless little moments that we wouldn’t have had during the ceremony if we weren’t close to our officiant. As pps have pointed it, your friend or family member won’t have the experience of a professional, but I believe the benefits outweigh the potential errors. And even if you use a pro, there are still lots of chances for snafus – I’ve been to a wedding where a priest skipped over a section of the ceremony, which resulted in a soloist not performing a song, and a wedding where a minister forgot to tell the bride and groom to kiss. If you’re prepared to relax and roll with whatever happens, it’s definitely worth having someone you’re close to perform the ceremony.
Post # 12
The biggest pitfall? It may not be legal–and you may not find that out until one of you dies or wants out of the marriage, and you don’t have the rights you thought you had. See this New York Times story.
In some states, it is possible for anyone to be authorized to perform weddings for a day. If that is an option in your state, it may be a lot safer than an on-line ordination.
Post # 13
We are having one of our friends who has a master’s in divinity and is an ordained minister marry us 🙂 It will be his first wedding so we have told him what we want in terms of the order of the ceremony, etc. It will be so special to have it be personal and even if there are flubs during the ceremony, it will make it that much more memorable!!!
Post # 14
I am having one of my friends who just got ordained do it…my Fiance is not happy about it…he thinks people won’t take it serious enough. I would rather have a friend do it than a justice of the peace from the courthouse do it. A friend can make it more special and personal than an outsider. We are having a summer wedding outdoors and I think our friend will add a touch of humor too.
I don’t think it matters as long as you give them the direction you want the ceremony to go in.
Post # 15
My grandfather who has been a minister since, well, basically the beginning of time… is officiating for us. 🙂 So not only is it neat because he’s my grandfather, but he’s also a ‘trained professional’ (lol). We’re excited!!!
Post # 16
@2dBride: Point well taken, but I don’t want brides whose friends are getting ordained to marry them to totally freak out. The best thing to do, what we did, and what my FI’s sisters did when he performed their wedding, is to call whichever agency issues marriage licenses in your area, tell them your situation, and make sure you’re good to go. In my county, the County Clerk issues marriage licenses, and they told me that they really don’t look at all into the credentials of the person who performs the ceremony. Because I’m a worrier, I found the state law about the issuing and validation of marriage licenses, and it said something to the effect of: “The county clerk is not allowed to question the ordination of a minister that performs a ceremony.” So we’re good. The only rule is that your officiant has to be ordained, or another authorized person, and they can’t question the ordination. Each bride just needs to do their due diligence, research the laws in their area, and they won’t get “duped” as the article said.