Unconventional wedding officiants

September 06 • 2012

Parents officiating at York Harbor Inn wedding<br><a href=http://www.emilieinc.com target=_blank>emilie inc. photography</a>

Many couples are drawn to the idea of a loved one serving as their wedding officiant. If you don’t have a minister or other traditional officiant already in your life, choosing a friend, cousin, or other relative can feel much more natural than opting for someone you’ve never met.

But while the person guiding your “I dos” might know you well, they may not know the ins and outs of a ceremony all that well.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Nerves. Not everyone is comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. Inform your chosen officiant of the head count, so they know what they’re getting in to.
  • Fumbles. A lack of experience with wedding ceremonies can lead to little stumbles, awkwardness and less finesse dealing with unexpected moments. For plenty of couples, it’s a small price to pay for the intimacy of a loved one standing at the altar with them.
  • Emotions. Confident your stoic big brother will keep it together on your wedding day? Don’t be so sure. Weddings are an emotional event, all the more so for someone who has been honored with performing the actual ceremony. Your officiant has a front-row seat to the big moment — don’t be surprised if they struggle to maintain composure.
  • Expectations. Who will write the ceremony? Are you comfortable with your officiant reading from a script? Who will run the rehearsal? What will your officiant wear? Be sure you’re on the same page about the tone, length and content of the ceremony, as well as your officiant’s personal investment in preparing it. And keep in the inside jokes to a minimum.

Last but not least, make sure your officiant can legally, well, make it official. If your friend or relative is a notary, judge or lawyer, they must be a resident of Maine for your marriage to be recognized. Religious officials such as priests and ministers, on the other hand, don’t have to be licensed in the state.

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