(Closed) Pros and Cons of a friend officiating your wedding

posted 8 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 4
3526 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

We asked a very close friend of ours that we have both known as long as we have known each other. She did a FANTASTIC job. When we planned to ask her we knew she would do a good job. We knew that she loved us as we love her so she won’t mess it up. But what I didn’t know is how much time and effort she would pour into it. We expected her to take cues from us, show up, and marry us. We did not expect any more from her. But she gave WAY more. She researched online, looking into readings that were not religous, thought to ask us all the questions a officiant would. Found readings that she thought reflected us as a couple. Shared a personal story involving the three of us that to her was the moment she knew that my husband and I had something special.

All in all she way exceeded all our expectations. We’re so happy we asked her to marry us. It meant way more that the person who married us is someone who really knew us both as individuals and a couple.

That said we knew before asking her that she would have no problem speaking in front of a crowd. And that the very least she will take the job of an officiant seriously.

I think if you don’t think your friend can do that it’s probably best not to ask him.

DEF check with your local town hall and the local town where you will be marrying about the laws of having a friend marry you.

Post # 5
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I would reinforce the message to check on local laws.  In at least four states, having someone who gets ordained online marry you will invalidate the marriage.  In many others, the legality of having someone ordained online marry you is unclear.  And unfortunately, you are not likely to find this out at the time, when you could still correct it.  Instead, the issue may never come up until a spouse dies, or there is a divorce or bankruptcy.  At that point, you may discover you don’t have the rights you thought you did, and it will be too late to fix the issue.

Here is a New York Times article on the subject.  Personally, I would not chance relying on an online ordination unless there is specific case law in that state allowing it.  In some states (such as Massachusetts), there is a specific provision for a one-day officiant, that lets you skip the online ordination and be assured that the officiant is legal, which I would see as a much safer alternative.

Post # 6
2889 posts
Sugar bee

I see you are getting married in RI. Since Fiance and I were having some issues that made us afraid our priest would not be able to marry us (his health, etc.) I asked a friend of mine to be back up. He was ordained online and has married another friend in CA. We looked up the laws for RI and it seems to be legal. Basically the law says anyone who is part of a religion that grants them the right to marry can legally do so in RI. Since his online certificate is from a religious organization, my friend and I bouth understood this to mean he could marry people in RI. I would suggest you read the law yourself, just google and it is pretty easy to find.

I can also tell you that if you don’t live in RI you have to pull your marriage liscence from the city or town in which you will marry, it costs $25 and you will both need long form birth certificates. I believe it is only good for 60 or 90 days and both people have to be physically present which is why we will need to pull ours 5 days before the wedding when we arrive in RI.

If you are using a friend, I would want to be sure the friend is comfortable speaking in front of people and also good at it. I would ask someone because of their abilities, not just their relationship.

Post # 7
593 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I had a great experience with a friend an our officiant. We live in MA so we did the “one day” application discussed above and there was a $25 fee.

She was married two years before us and had a wedding ceremony that would be somewhat similar to ours so she was a great help in planning. Her job also required her to public speak all the time so we knew she wouldn’t have a problem with that.

If you don’t have the sense that this guy will do a good job or be comfortable with what it entails…I wouldn’t ask him.

Post # 9
2090 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

We’re having a friend marry us, and I think it’s going to be great (he’s a lawyer, and lawyers can marry couples in our state so did not need to get ordained or anything).

He knows us both, and has been friends with us (well, mainly my FH) before we got together, so he’s seen our entire relationship develop and grow.

He isn’t shy (at all!), so there’s no concern that way for us. It’s also been easy to meet with him, we just grab coffee or dinner or whatever and also discuss the vows.
If you don’t feel comfortable, I would definitely tell your FH that, and maybe meet with the friend and make sure that he is really comfortable doing that too, and isn’t just offering, as a friend.

Post # 10
3526 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010


Another option is to call the local & surrounding town clerks and ask for a list of officiants. I was able to get the names of about 3-4 dozen judges, clerks, officiants to call up.


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