Can a friend or family member officiate your ceremony?
Yes, in 47 of our 50 states. Online ordinations are widely recognized, with Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Tennessee being notable holdouts. Check your local laws here. Some states require your ordination credential to be filed, so be sure to check with your county. What about other countries? At the time of this writing, online ordinations have been recognized in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK.
Many couples are now having their ceremonies officiated by a close friend or family member, assuming their ceremony will be nonreligious. Maybe you’ve seen the ads in the back of Rolling Stone magazine offering online or mail-in ordinations, and there are plenty of celebrity wedding officiants out there too.
Many times the ceremony is officiated by someone who barely knows the couple, like a clergyman or justice of the peace and so the words spoken are often generic. Officiating a wedding is no small thing and that’s what persuaded me to write contemporary ceremony material. It should be memorable.
Hopefully you’re comfortable speaking in front of a crowd and will be able to rise to the importance of the occasion. My advice is to be careful with sarcasm during the ceremony and anything that might offend. I’m speaking from experience after a few jokes that sunk like stones on the audience.
How should you dress to officiate a ceremony?
You may be wondering how you should dress to officiate a wedding. Men should normally be wearing a suit. I always ask the couple what their flower, dress and tie colors are, so I can coordinate with my tie/suit combo.
A female officiant could wear something a fairly conservative guest might be wearing. Avoid attention-grabbing colors, or anything that shows too much skin. You want the guests focused on the couple. A dark dress, accented with tasteful jewelry is a great choice. If the groomsmen are wearing tuxedos, match their vibe and dress for a formal event.
If it’s a morning or early afternoon ceremony and the groomsmen aren’t wearing jackets or ties, dress down too. If your appearance is markedly different from the couple and their bridal party, you’ll distract from the couple and potentially hurt your confidence and stage presence.
Officiating a wedding ceremony as a personal friend of the couple’s can be a wonderfully memorable experience. Your attire can coordinate with theirs and help make their big dау еvеn mоrе ѕресiаl.
You might not have to buy your ordination credential after becoming ordained. Call your county clerk’s office to see if your municipality requires you to file anything. Many counties do not, so you can save a few bucks by not buying the card that says you’re an ordained minister.
Some of these online churches offer ceremony material, but the material is standard and generic. If you want current ceremony material and to know how I officiate weddings, check out my process and click here!
Can anyone officiate a wedding?
Yep, anyone 18 or older can officiate a wedding in 47 United States and several other countries. Getting ordained has never been easier. I hope you check out my ceremony material and video training before officiating your first wedding and allow me to guide you.
Matt T. Nathanson, 1st Officiant
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