As more and more couples elect to have a secular wedding, choosing a friend or family member to officiate the ceremony continues to be a popular option. It’s one way to add a personal touch to your vow exchange, and saves you from having to search for a professional officiant that feels right to you and your future spouse. The biggest downside is that, unless the person you ask is a popular choice in your circle, they are likely to be inexperienced in presiding over a wedding ceremony.
Whether you have recently been asked to officiate a friend’s union or you want to help the loved one you chose prepare, these tips will help make sure the ceremony is as beautiful as the love of the soon-to-be-newlyweds.
- The tone is as important as what you say. Make good eye contact, try to smile, and maintain positive body language.
- Get ordained sooner rather than later – just in case something goes wrong. The Universal Life Church is the most common choice, but check with the couple to see if they have a preference – there are many options!
- Triple check all of the requirements of the state and municipality of the wedding to make sure the marriage is legal.
- Make sure the expectations of the pair are clear. Are they writing their script, are you responsible for it, or will you be writing it together?
- Keep the focus on the couple. No matter how well you know them, it may be helpful to ask them a few questions about their relationship to fill in the gaps.
- Add personal tidbits – that’s the whole point of having a friend officiate!
- Practice, practice, practice. Say it in the mirror; say it on camera; read it to a couple of friends. You want to be super comfortable with your speech.
- Ask for a copy of their vows, in case either of them forgets their copy. You can also use them as inspiration and make sure your planned service is not redundant.
- Have a printed copy available in case technology fails you.
- Remember to tell everyone to be seated once you begin the service.
- When the big day is all over, mail the marriage certificate to make everything official!