Yay, you’re engaged! Congratulations! You’ve saved the date, secured a wedding venue, and locked down other big-ticket vendors like your photographer and videographer, but there’s one major decision you haven’t nailed down. Who is going to officiate your wedding ceremony? Are you thinking of asking a friend or family member to officiate your wedding, or do you need a professional wedding officiant?
Deciding who’s going to perform your marriage ceremony is a deeply personal decision and one that should be made by both you and your soon-to-be-spouse. Your wedding ceremony is more than a formality. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime emotional opportunity to share your love with the people who matter most to you in a “that’s SO THEM” kind-of-way.
If you’re thinking about asking a friend or family member to perform your wedding ceremony then we already have at least one thing in common: it’s what my husband and I chose for our wedding.
Long story short: when my husband and I were planning our own wedding, we’d been guests at enough weddings to know we wanted something personal and special to us. We’d witnessed wedding ceremonies that were overly religious for our non-religious friends. Or so short and careless that they were borderline offensive. Or my personal nightmare: one where a total stranger arrived five minutes before the ceremony only to read a generic script and mispronounced the newlyweds. It was impersonal and, frankly, it left me feeling embarrassed for our friends!
So, we knew we wanted something as unique and real as our love. Something modern that reflected us and our values – as individuals and as a couple. Something warm and inclusive. Spiritual, but not religious. Something lighthearted yet reverent. Something short-and-sweet but with enough substance to create and hold space for the magnitude of the commitment we were making. Something to SLOW down time and allow us to hit “PAUSE” for the sweetest moments of the day. And, importantly, something that brought us AND our community closer. We wanted the comfort of a loved one and had the PERFECT person for the job. Luckily, he enthusiastically agreed. We couldn’t have been happier! Our ceremony was hands down my favorite part of the day.
So, as you prepare to make this decision for yourself, I’ll walk you through the pros and cons of asking a friend or family member to officiate your wedding ceremony vs. hiring a professional wedding officiant.
Questions to ask yourselves before asking a friend or family member to officiate your wedding
Do we have someone who’s willing and able to do the “job”?
Aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, former coaches, colleagues, and friends are ALL great candidates to officiate your wedding ceremony. Choosing someone who’s charming, relatable, and warm is always a good idea! And, of course, asking someone who’s comfortable speaking in front of others is key.
Are you navigating different religious or cultural backgrounds?
You’ll want to be sure that whoever you chose to officiate your wedding ceremony is capable and willing to honor your shared and individual histories. If this feels tricky, you’re not alone. Swoon Union is here to help you strike a balance that’s genuine and feels good for both of you.
Do you have delicate family relationships to consider?
Finally, it’s important to be honest about any delicate relationships or family “politics” that might impact how you think and feel about your ceremony. For example, if your parents are divorced or you have a deceased parent then finding ways to properly articulate and express this is important to consider when making the decision about who will officiate your ceremony.
As a professional wedding officiant, I’m no stranger to navigating tricky family dynamics. If you find yourself needing support or help on this front, please book a complimentary consultation and we can chat!
But back to the pros and cons of asking a loved one to officiate your wedding ceremony.
Pros and Cons of asking a friend or family member to officiate your wedding
Let’s start with the pros.
The way I see it, it’s pretty simple:
- You’re comfortable in the presence of your friend or family member
- It adds more depth and meaning to your memory and overall wedding experience
- You love this person and they love you.
Now onto the cons:
- Officiating a wedding is a lot of work
- Your loved one may feel pressure to make it “perfect,” but have no idea where to begin
- Your friend or family member has a huge responsibility and role on your wedding day
- They don’t know how to “run” a smooth rehearsal
- They might not know the ins and outs of what will make your marriage legal
The good news? Swoon Union’s Wedding Ceremony Writing service eliminates the cons. The big takeaway? You shouldn’t have to choose between the comfort of a loved one and the ease of a professional. Let Swoon Union take the pressure off. Let your loved one SHINE. Swoon Union’s ceremony writing service is pressure-free: professionally written to be personally delivered.
Your wedding ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime emotional opportunity, and with the right tools and preparation your “inexperienced” but totally capable friend or family member wedding officiant can pull it off like a professional! In fact, performing a marriage ceremony for a loved one is how many professionals got their start.
I offer a complimentary 2:1 consultation to learn more about your ceremony hopes, dreams, and needs.