Friend Performing Your Ceremony?

There is a trend toUse-on-Friend-Marry-Youday to have a friend or rel­a­tive offi­ci­ate your wed­ding. This can be a nice touch but is also fraught with poten­tial issues. Here are some things to con­sider:

Officiating a wed­ding is much more than just read­ing from a cer­e­mony script and offer­ing some inspi­ra­tional words.

Your offi­ciant will need to do many things. From coor­di­nat­ing all the ele­ments of your cer­e­mony — music, read­ings, rit­ual ele­ments — to orga­niz­ing the pro­ces­sional, reces­sional and inter­fac­ing with your maître d’, as a pro­fes­sional wed­ding offi­ciant I am skilled in mak­ing sure all parts of your spe­cial day flow into one seam­less whole.

There are legal require­ments. Several ele­ments need to be included for your cer­e­mony to be legally sanc­tioned. I am a pro­fes­sional, expe­ri­enced offi­ciant edu­cated and legally sanc­tioned to per­form your cer­e­mony in the state or county in which that you will be mar­ried. I know what to include to make your union legal.

IMG_6515Your wed­ding is a once-in-a-life­time event. This is a moment in which friends and fam­ily gather to mark and cel­e­brate you and this life event. Your wed­ding cer­e­mony forms the foun­da­tion for your mar­riage and cre­ates your new fam­ily unit. It is impor­tant that the rit­ual that unites your lives has the depth and mean­ing needed to take you through a process to a new place — your mar­riage. This rit­ual is a peak life moment and trans­forms the two of you and the lives of your fam­ily and friends. You enter the cer­e­mony as sin­gle peo­ple, and move toward the altar ready to be trans­formed through the words and rit­u­als, recess­ing from the altar mar­ried and for­ever changed.

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Photo by Kristy May

Ritual has existed for a long, long time and wed­ding rit­u­als are a part of every faith and cul­ture. I believe in order to cre­ate some­thing per­sonal, touch­ing, and mem­o­rable it is nec­es­sary to under­stand how and why these rit­u­als and tra­di­tions came to be — to know the start­ing point and evolve your cer­e­mony from there. If there is a cer­e­mo­nial ele­ment you would like to include in your wed­ding — some­thing from your fam­ily tra­di­tion, –I am skilled in explor­ing the deeper mean­ing with you, anchor­ing the ancient in today. Understanding the tra­di­tional and then diverg­ing from there. This is essen­tial in cre­at­ing a per­sonal cer­e­mony that will res­onate with you and your guests.

Have a pro­fes­sional with years of expe­ri­ence on your team. As a legal wed­ding offi­ciant, interfaith/interspiritual min­is­ter I have worked with hun­dreds of cou­ples to cre­ate cer­e­monies that are mean­ing­ful to them and their fam­ily. My train­ing and years of expe­ri­ence allow me to deeply hear you and under­stand your needs.

What I Strongly Suggest

Signing marriage license. Friend marrying you?Have a friend or fam­ily mem­ber par­tic­i­pate in the cer­e­mony. Having some­one who knows you inti­mately speak dur­ing the cer­e­mony is a won­der­ful touch. Ask a friend to tell your love story, offer a read­ing, or speak about your love and rela­tion­ship. You can have a cer­e­mony that is deeply per­sonal with a pro­fes­sional who will get to know and accu­rately rep­re­sent you.

Here is what some couples I have worked with have said:

“Our guests felt as if Susan knew us.”

“Susan was our offi­ciant for our wed­ding at the Gramercy Park Hotel. We met with her a few months before the wed­ding to talk about how we met and to learn more about our rela­tion­ship. She used this infor­ma­tion and beau­ti­fully incor­po­rated it into our wed­ding cer­e­mony. She was extremely atten­tive and respon­sive, very respect­ful of all of our ideas and open to any sug­ges­tions which were great. We felt she under­stood the tone and style of the cer­e­mony we hoped to have and on the wed­ding day every­thing went smoothly. We are grate­ful for her efforts and would highly rec­om­mend her to cou­ples look­ing to get mar­ried. Thank you Susan!”

“During our ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion, Susan spent nearly an hour and a half on a skype call with us, and in this time we quickly saw what sep­a­rates her from oth­ers in her indus­try. Susan was the first offi­ciant we inter­viewed who made the con­ver­sa­tion about US! She asked us ques­tions that we had not even asked each other — about our rela­tion­ship, fam­i­lies, goals for the future, how we met, why were get­ting mar­ried, etc. It was insight­ful and made us feel like a team for the first time in the plan­ning process. Although she was more expen­sive than oth­ers we inter­viewed, we knew her ser­vice would be worth it because she was bring­ing such a great value and tal­ent and atten­tive­ness to our wed­ding day that no one else seemed to be able to offer. The cer­e­mony itself was truly unique to us. Most offi­ciants we inter­viewed crafted their cer­e­monies from tem­plates and had us fill in the blanks, so to speak. Susan, instead, used the con­tent of our con­ver­sa­tions and inter­views to write an orig­i­nal cer­e­mony that cap­tured our rela­tion­ship.”