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April 3, 2020

Wedding Planning 101

Wedding Planning 101: Having a Friend Officiate

Having a friend or family member officiate your wedding ceremony has become much more popular over the last few years. It’s an opportunity to have someone who knows you and your relationships be able to really personalize your ceremony in a unique way. If you are planning on having a friend officiant, here are a couple of things to keep in mind to help it go smoothly, so here are our best tips!

Make sure it’s legal.

Laws vary state by state with regards to if your officiant has to register themselves with the state to perform marriages, but in CA they just need to go online to be ordained. We recommend American Marriage Ministries because it’s free online, and the easiest/most inclusive we have found.

Work out the details.

Make sure they know what you want. Just like you would with a pro, sit down and have a chat about the vibe you are going for. Hopefully you’ve chosen someone who knows you well enough to know this, but just cover your bases so you don’t end up with a ceremony you’re not comfortable with.

There are lots of resources out there for how to build a ceremony script – a simple online search will get tons of results. The only thing your ceremony MUST include to be legal in CA is both parties verbal agreement (‘I do’, ‘Yes’, ‘I will’, etc.) and the pronouncement that the couple is now married. That’s it. Everything else is up to you, your partner, your family, your faith or whatever else you want.

Practice makes perfect.

Make sure your officiant attends the rehearsal – this is so important for people who don’t do this on the regular. Who hands what to whom and when needs to be on lockdown. Same with them showing up a bit early to connect with your DJ, MC or whoever is running the sound for your ceremony to have a sound check, ensuring everything is good for sound.

Take pointers from the pros.

Have your non-officiant officiant take a few pointers from the pros: after announcing the kiss, take a step out of the photo for a clear shot. Speak directly into the mic so people in the back will be able to hear you. Bring a nice book with a cover or a nice leather portfolio or something to put your notes in as they look waaaaaaay better in person and in photos later than loose paper or (heaving forbid) cell phones.

Photo credits from top: Miki and Sonja, Amy Van Vlear, Jon Cu Photo, Meghan Christine Photography, Logan Cole and Caca Santoro.