Post # 1
Hi everybody! Fiance and I asked a very close mutual friend to officiate our ceremony because we feel he knows us and our relationship really well – he undersrands us. He’s fun, quirky, thoughtful, and a great public speaker! We knew right away he’ll be great. We are all excited!
I’d love to hear your experiences if you had a friend or member of the family officiate.
What went well, what didn’t? Anything you wish you had thought of prior/wish you had done differently specifically regarding the ceremony/officiant? I’m also curious about your experience leading up to the wedding. Did you meet with them to help write the ceremony? If so, how much did you plan out VS leave to them to surprise you?!
FYI, we want a short ceremony (about 20 min), not too serious, and we also want to do our own vows – and then officiant will say everything leading up to vows.
If your wedding hasn’t happened yet, also feel free to share ideas you’re considering!
Post # 2
We had my DH’s brother officiate our wedding a couple months ago. We wanted someone knew knew us and we wanted it to be lighthearted, personal and funny. We didn’t meet with him beforehand because he lives across the country, but we had one big phone call and then I spoke to him on my own a couple times. We gave him just a few guidelines: we told him we wanted it to be funny, 20 mins, some Jewish blessings, and be original. He didn’t show us or run it by us before the wedding, but he sent it to my wedding planner and she approved. he did an amazing job. It was the highlight of the wedding. It was so “us” and he made is really personal. Many people told us it was the best wedding ceremony they have ever seen. He said cute stuff about us, incorporated the Jewish stuff that I wanted, called out the couple that introduced us who were there, and did an adorable reading about dogs, I forget what it was but it was perfect because I’m obsessed with our two dogs and they couldn’t come to the wedding. It was wonderful and I highly recommended getting your wedding officiated by someone you know. Pick someone outgoing who will love doing it! I went to another wedding this year where the couple’s friend officiated but he didn’t seem into it and it ended up being really generic. If you want a super traditional/basic ceremony, you should get a pro who has done it before. if you want something more offbeat, get a friend/family member to do it. (Sorry I just wrote a novel lol)
Post # 3
Re vows: I forgot to say we wanted to write our own vows and DH’s brother read them. We felt awkward reading them ourselves and wanted them to be short so we wrote them like “do you ______ promise to always get to the airport early, [a few other funny personalized things], love _____ unconditionally, blah blah blah for the rest of your lives?” I actually wrote them the day of my wedding while getting my hair done, emailed to Darling Husband, he tweaked and emailed to his brother like an hour before the wedding lol
Post # 4
I officiated for friends once and they gave me a very loose outline of the parts of the ceremony they wanted, but ultimately wanted to be surprised. They were looking for a very short ceremony, which was good. I wish, though, that they had given me more direction about what they wanted: my speech type thing was heartfelt but fairly formal. It went over well and everyone said it was terrific, but months later I found out the groom had officiated for friends of his shortly before he’d asked me to officiate, and his ceremony was very informal and jokey. Now I’ll always wonder if they’d wanted something more along those lines from me!
Post # 5
We had my DH’s older sister officiate. We wrote out everything though and had a very short ceremony. His sister really wanted us to write it all and have it how we wanted so we blended ideas and verbiage until it felt unique and to our standards. I think this is what we would have done no matter who we asked to officiate. It all went excellently and very smoothly and was wonderful. Plus our flower girl was her daughter so no issues getting her down the aisle to mom!
Post # 6
We had my Aunt officiate our wedding. I am very close with my Aunt and she is also the person who set Darling Husband and I up (it was a blind date!). We figured it would mean a lot to my Aunt, as well as to us, having someone who knows both of us pretty well (my Aunt works with DH).
As far as the ceremony goes, my Aunt came up with her own thing and sent it to the both of us to edit and go over. She included a cute story about the two of us, how she met my Darling Husband through work and how she ultimately decided to try to set us up. She then called upon my sister to do a reading (a poem which my sister wrote). Then continued with the more traditional vows and etc. If there is anything I *regret*, it would be that we didn’t physically pratice saying the vows portion. Only because my Aunt read the lines so fast, that when it came to us repeating them, it was a little daunting. We did fine until it came to one sentence in particular where Darling Husband messed up one word, everyone had a good chuckle, and then when it came to my turn, I messed up the same word!!! We all had a good laugh and continued on. It was a little embarressing but it makes for a cute story.
I definitely wouldn’t have done it any other way. Having my Aunt, who is so important to me in general, and now even more so because she helped me find my beloved Darling Husband, was the best decision we made for our wedding.
Post # 7
My dad was our officiant. He is ordained but has never run a church. Being ordained was just a personal goal of his. It took him about 11 years to finish the process so I figured I didn’t need to tell him what to write; he knows us & our audience well enough.
It was a long (1 hour) ceremony but my dad is a wordy guy and pours his heart out into everything he does so I wasn’t surprised by the length. Most of it he wrote himself (my first time hearing it was at the wedding itself). There were two passages from non-religious texts that he selected for others to read (he showed them to us beforehand). One was read by my Father-In-Law, another was read by my SIL. My dad wanted a person of each gender to be represented. He also asked my husband and I if we wanted to write our own vows. He wanted us to but he left the choice up to us. My husband finished writing his months before the wedding; I didn’t finish until maybe a week before haha. We read them ourselves.
My dad also understands that neither me nor my husband practice any religion. We’re not necessarily atheist but I wouldn’t know what to call us either. Both of our families consist mostly of Catholics, but my dad asked if we would be comfortable with the usage of “God” in his sermon. Neither of us care one way or another so we said he could use the term since maybe it would make our guests more comfortable.
There were breaks in between all the readings and my husband’s grandmother played the violin during those breaks. At the end to symbolize our new union, my dad offered two options. We could each hold a candle and light a third one together or we could each have two containers of wine and pour them in a third container and drink from that mixed container. Since it was an outdoor ceremony, we thought candles might blow out from wind so we used wine. We each had tiny bottles with moscato. I had red, he had white, we poured both into a glass and drank the pink moscato. I was happy with everything, in spite of how long it took haha. Everyone else commented on how well my dad wrote and spoke. He has the perfect demeanor for being in front of people and chose his writings very thoughtfully, making them relevant to people from all walks of life. My dad is divorced and remarried after all.
My mom walked me down the aisle. Both of our mothers were involved by passing us our papers with our vows written on them. My dad had the rings up at the altar with him already.
Post # 8
brooklyn321: I was at a wedding where the father of the groom officiated. It was a hot mess. At one point he started to read the vows himself and the bride giggled throughout the entire thing. It was awful.
Post # 9
We had a good friend of mine from college officiate. We emailed back and forth to finalize the ceremony script. He had done other weddings so had a bit of a format for us to start with. I found some readings I like we incorporated, we each said our own vows which was not in the script and it went very well. I like the idea of using someone who is important to the bride and groom, it makes it more meaningful. Definitely rehearse to make sure things will flow how you think they will.
It was one of my favorite aspects to our wedding!
Post # 10
I had my brother officiate. It is the easily thing to become “ordained”… he went through the Universal Life Church. I think for us, the most important part was understanding the actual process of getting the marriage license and his role. While he was in charge of officiating the ceremony, me and my husband went to the town clerk office to apply for the marriage license and get the forms.The forms get completed on the day of the wedding, (officiant and witnesses have to sign), and a few days later, we returned to the clerks office to get the license.
I wrote out the script and he tweaked it a little to come off more natural from his voice. We also wrote our own vows. The only surprise was the vows from me and my husband, which I didn’t get to hear until the ceremony. I loved how personal it was and wouldn’t have it any other day. It’s more work writing your own script, but it was definitely worth it. I watched a ton of wedding videos and took snippets of scripts that I liked.
Post # 11
Our officiant was our friend and she was one of the only vendors that didn’t disapoint us lol. It was my favorite part of the day. We used the book Sacred Ceremony and it walks you through everything. we sat down with her a few weeks before and went through the book, crossed out things we didnt like and told her things we did like, she put it together from there and sent us an email with everything but the intro, which was a surprise.
Post # 12
brooklyn321: One of my best friends officiated my wedding. My husband and I talked about it for a few months as we started booking vendors and as neither of us are particularly religious we weren’t going to get married in a church. We didn’t like the idea of having a stranger marry us, so we tried to think of who could do the job and then it hit me one day–one of my best friends would be perfect. We asked her and she very happily accepted.
I did not want to leave anything up for a surprise and I very much wanted to write my own ceremony. I met with my friend several times and we wrote it together. One thing I would suggest is to see if you could do a walk through to see how your friend plans on doing the ceremony. I did not do this with my friend and I wish she had. Many of the moments where I thought she’d pause, she didn’t and the entire tempo kind of felt off and as my ceremony was kind of my baby for over a year as I painstakingly wrote it, I was hyper aware of every part she kind of “went off script” with. I was and am still so grateful for everything she did for us, but I definitely would have run through it with her first.
My entire wedding from processional to recessional was 23 minutes.
Post # 13
pickles325: Thanks for this!! That’s a great idea to show it to the wedding planner. Your ceremony sounds lovely! Sounds similar to what we’re going for
Post # 14
Do we have to have a ceremony script? Is it okay just to have the vows?
Post # 15
njbride1102: I like the idea of Fiance & I writing it but having officiant tweak it – thanks! I agree that it’s way more work but I can’t imagine doing it differently 🙂