Tips for Using a Friend to Officiate Your Wedding

Many states will authorize a specific person to perform marriages on a specific date. There is typically a nominal fee and some light paperwork required for the privilege. It often takes sixty ore more days to process the application. In many states, a loved one can get a “day pass” to officiate your wedding ceremony. There’s some paperwork and a fee but it is perfectly legal and is a great way to personalize your wedding.  

My clients Andi and Meredith who were married last Saturday had a friend officiate and she did a truly excellent job! She was clear, articulate, humorous, and perfectly reverent. Here are some tips if you are using a loved one as your guest officiant: 

  • Make sure you choose someone who is comfortable speaking in front of a large group. 
  • The guest officiant should be prepared to take on all the responsibilities of a professional officiant, including coordinating with the musicians and ceremony venue and running the wedding rehearsal. 
  • Be sure to make arrangements for a sound system. I always recommend a sound system with more than seventy-five guests and this is something often provided by a professional officiant. If your loved one is officiating, make sure to rent the proper equipment so he or she can be heard. 
  • Warn your guest officiant that this isn’t a toast and that they should keep it clean, not tell inappropriate stories, and otherwise be appropriate and well behaved. 
  • Ask your guest officiant to speak slowly. Guest officiants have a tendency to get nervous and speed through a marriage ceremony. Remind the officiant to take his or time and speak slowly, not at a hurried pace. 
  • If you’re worried about any of this, hire a professional!
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