Site icon Easy Event Ideas

Tips for Having a Friend Perform your Wedding Ceremony


A quickly growing trend in weddings today is to have a friend or family member officiate your wedding.  My husband and I did it and it’s not as scary as you might think! Not only is it cheaper than hiring an officiant it also makes your ceremony more personal, meaningful, and allows for more friends and family to take part in your special day… My brother and sister-in-law both continue to like to say they “married” us which always evokes strange looks from their friends and they get a kick out of it.  If you’re also thinking of having someone close to you officiate your wedding.  Here is what you need to know!


You need to make sure it’s legal.  Each state and municipality has different laws regarding marriage and officiants so you need to do a little research.  Don’t rely on blogs or word of mouth for this, go directly to the state, city, county’s website.  Laws also differ if you’re a member of that county/state or not so make sure you read all the fine print!

Some states allow online ordained ministers while others just require you register that you are performing that specific marriage.  For my wedding all we had to do for Burlington Vermont was have my brother fill out some paperwork and send it in with a check.  A few weeks later we got his official paperwork that he could legally marry us and sign off on our wedding certificate.  When we sent off the certificate we just had to include his letter and we were good to go!


Some alternatives are having a just of the peace witness your wedding and sign off on the paperwork while your friend performs the ceremony or heading off to city hall a few days early to make it legal first then have your wedding for friends and family.  Again with this make sure what ever method you take is legal within the state you are processing your paper work and the ceremony is being conducted.

Who will Perform the Ceremony

Choosing which friend or family member will perform your ceremony might be an easy or a very tough decision.  For myself and my husband it was a no brainer we wanted our siblings to perform the ceremony but only one could be the official officiant that did all of the paperwork and signed off on everything. To make our lives easier we chose the most convenient option.  My brother is the official officiant, signed off on the marriage, and was the one that pronounced us legally married.  Why, because he lives in the same city as us and we could get him to sign the paperwork and send it in a whole lot easier than sending it all the way to California and back.

Performing someones ceremony is a big deal and a huge responsibility.  There are a couple of things to consider when picking someone to perform your ceremony:

Writing your Ceremony

If you’re going with a lay officiant that means that they aren’t coming prepped with years of experience performing wedding ceremonies with 50 stored up scripts for you to chose from.  You’ve got to write your own!  When we were writing ours we googled on the internet how to write one and adapted it ourselves to meet our needs.  In the end the ceremony only ended up lasting 8 min, short and sweet I like to say! You could also chose to let your officiant write the ceremony but I wouldn’t suggest that unless they let you read it over first! Also discuss with your officiant if you’re ok with them ad libbing things during the ceremony or not.

Rehearsal and Day of Preparations

If a friend/family member is performing your ceremony it’s always a good idea to have a rehearsal!

Having a friend or family member is a great addition to any wedding!  I don’t regret my decision to have our siblings perform the ceremony for one second.  But it does require some extra planning and work for the bride and groom and the person you’re asking to be an officiant.  Make wise choices and make sure you get that officiant a nice thank you gift, it’s a scary thing to marry someone no one wants to mess that up!

Exit mobile version