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Is Wedding Officiant Becoming a DIY Role?

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As more and more people move away from religious weddings, the idea of asking a friend or family member to officiate at the wedding has become more and more popular.

There are some pros and cons to hiring a friend for this important role.

Pro: You have more control over the ceremony.
Con: You have more control over the ceremony, meaning you have to write it yourself. All of it.

Pro: Your friend is a friend, no chance he’ll mispronounce your name, or include a religious sentiment you fine offensive.
Con: Your friend is a friend, meaning he isn’t an objective professional. Really, is he going to tell your fiancée that having three readings, a sand ceremony, and a unity candle is too much?

Pro: No unwanted, unsolicited advice about your relationship.
Con: Um, actually this is pretty much just a pro. Unless of course, you think you could use some help in this area, in which case, no reason not to consider couples counseling.

If you do decide to ask a friend to perform your wedding, make sure to choose wisely. Choose someone who is comfortable with public speaking, knows how to ad-lib when necessary, and takes direction well.


Connect with post author Marta Segal Block on Google+ and Twitter.

Are you considering using a friend or family member as officiant? Wedding officiants: how do you feel about this trend? Let us know in the comments section below.

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6 Responses to “Is Wedding Officiant Becoming a DIY Role?”

  1. ben the groom Says:

    I’m actually performing my 4th Ceremony this Month. Turns out if you do one well people find out and have no one else to do it.

  2. Ed Wilson Says:

    Obviously I’m a little biased here, but I do agree with your list of pros and cons to consider. However I think it’s a list that applies to any officiant, friend or hired professional. If the bride and groom have a friend or family member that is comfortable performing the ceremony, it is quite an honor and can be a wonderful experience for both the happy couple and the person officiating. However, if those resources aren’t available, I would encourage folks to review your list above as they look for an officiant and if any of the Pros don’t apply to the professional they’re considering, they should continue looking.

  3. Celebrant Venus Says:

    A PRO has the benefit of (hopefully) having:

    1) Experience- He/she remains calm and collected in case anything unexpected happens. A pro most likely has been in all sorts of circumstances, from having car races in the background or the Goodyear blimp flying overhead…and will know what or what not to do.
    2) Knowledge- He/she will know the legal ins and outs of the marriage license and associated paperwork.
    3) Training- He/she will have learned how to craft the ceremony and possess public speaking skills so he won’t have to rely on having a few drinks to calm nerves…!

    BTW i find it refreshing that saving $$$ was not mentioned, above. In the end, a few hundred dollars paid to a professional is not a tremendous cost, considering the headache you can avoid by having your marriage recorded properly.

  4. Alan Viau Says:

    Certainly going the officiant route is becoming more popular. In the Ottawa, Canada area only 40% of weddings are performed in a church. As an officiant, I do NOT comment on your relationship and will conduct a ceremony that you want. In addition, I’ve conducted ceremonies in most of the venues in the area and know how to work them (sound, lighting, positioning). I’ve also worked with most of Ottawa’s photographers and wedding planners/ coordinators so that I can create the best wedding for the couple. This comes from years of experience and hundreds of weddings. So I believe you have understated the value that a pro can add.

  5. Maureen Thomson, Lyssabeth's Wedding Officiants Says:

    This is a great list of pros and cons (although most professional wedding officiants don’t interfere with relationship advice anyway). As a wedding officiant in the San Francisco Bay area, I’ve helped many couples write their own wedding ceremony and then have it performed by a friend or family member. For some couples, it’s a great idea; for others it would be a disaster. If a couple is very laid0back and doesn’t feel that a ceremony glitch would ruin the day, then go for it. If however, a bride has dreams of a fairy tale ceremony where everything goes perfectly, then a pro is the way to go.

    I’ve written an article on this same topic. Enjoy!

  6. Ariella Says:

    I just asked a good friend on mine to perform my wedding ceremony. As my fiance and I are not religious we knew we would be going the civil route. I had some great recommendations from friends, but ultimately I felt weird having a stranger pronounce us husband and wife. What does that stranger know about our love or our relationship? How can he/she speak for what we’ve been through as a couple? I always found those ceremonies to be so impersonal whereas when it was done by someone the couple knew (even if it was professional officiant, like my friend’s grandfather-in-law who is a pastor) it seemed so much more meaningful. That being said, it’s a personal choice and it really depends on what a couple wants from their ceremony. I don’t think asking a friend or family member is a better way to go, just the way I’d like it to go for my personal day.

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