Every wedding is both a time of great joy and a time of heightened anxiety, and the preparation for one is a great balancing act!  The officiant of your ceremony has a pretty hefty job when you think about it – setting the tone, saying the right things, actually marrying you…

If you are thinking of having your officiant share the ceremony with a family member or friend, here are some things to consider. The first step is to find an officiant who is open to the idea of a shared ceremony. Look for that person to see this as a symbol of unity. Find an officiant who is willing to take time for you. The more you can talk with the people who will officiate at your wedding, the more personal and meaningful you will find their involvement.  The second step is to explore the elements and how best to incorporate them into your ceremony. I suggest that the ceremony be shared enough so as not to give the impression that one is dominating it while the other is just an addendum. I prefer to share the service with the co-officiant in a way that we alternate in leading the ceremony and its different parts and address both bride and groom.

When choosing a friend-officiant, consider why they would make a good fit.  Have they ever officiated at a wedding before?  Are they a good public speaker?  Officiating at a wedding ceremony can seem like a daunting and nerve-wracking task and there may be people in your life who love you, but simply may not want to stand up in front of 100 people and perform your wedding.  Once you have a friend-officiant on board, decide who will write the ceremony and figure out a timeline. Do this early so you don’t get crazy as your wedding approaches and you have no idea what is going to be said!  Many couples with a friend-officiant will write some of the wedding ceremony and then ask their officiant to read it for feedback.  Discuss the tone and overall vibe you want for your ceremony.  This can be a collaborative process too and by keeping the communication lines clear, you can ensure that the ceremony will come together well.

When in doubt, veer towards having a professional legally solemnize your marriage.  You want to have an awesome ceremony, but you also want to be legally married at the end, too!

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