When a friend or family Officiates your wedding
Many young people these days are opting for friends or family to Officiate their wedding. As a professional Officiate I want to try to explain the pitfalls involved. Firstly, we can start with the paperwork. In many counties and states you have to be registered somewhere at the courthouse. Otherwise the marriage may not be legal. In order to registered, you can't just go online. You need a legal ordination from some religious body or the other. As well in regards to paperwork, if it's not filed correctly again, the marriage is not legal. It can cause thousands of dollars to rectify in the event of a mistake. There are many situations that arise that a friend or family member would not know how to handle. What do you do with unruly guest members who insist on photographing, using flash, disrupting the service? How do you handle drunk or unruly participants? I remember one particular wedding where there was a frail old woman with a walker. The man in front of her took out his cellphone to photograph the couple up front, stepped back, and stepped on the older woman who lost her balance and broke her leg. How do you handle the cues for the processional to go off with a hitch, and the recessional? How do write custom vows, or truly give a real picture of that particular couple when you have no idea of the structure of vows? What happens if you misread a sentence? What happens if you lose the vows, or the papers necessary to send in to the courthouse? Did you know that if you are married in a certain county you must get the papers from THAT courthouse only? What happens if you get it from the wrong jurisdiction? Basically in that case, that couple is not legally married. These are just a few of the issues that come up with someone who is completely untrained and unqualified. Most people would NEVER pick a bridal dress off the rack and then give it to a friend to cut up now would they? By the same token a wedding is a beautiful dress, expertly fitted by professionals who know what they are doing.