Chicago Tribune Article (10-24-16) by Rev. Marian Hale, All Ceremonies Beautifully Done
You want your wedding day to be memorable. I have done more than 1,200 ceremonies since 1998, and learned something new from all of them. That depth of experience enables me to dance lightly with whatever happens, and to create gold from every moment.
A friend or family member will not have that experience. They may wind up making the day about them – unintentionally, but it happens. If you accept their offer to officiate, you will have to be involved throughout their process of preparing. Ouch!
What I have heard from people who have had amateur officiant do their wedding is that they (the couple) had to make all the important decisions about the script, planning the rehearsal, even oversee what their officiant was going to say – by which I mean they had to write everything.
In the two instances where this was not the case, both brides told me their officiant was nervous in the moment, and made questionable jokes about them, trying to lighten things up, but doing it badly. A professional would not do this, or at least, I hope they wouldn’t.
So if you have had an offer from a dear friend or family member to do your wedding, you want to let them down lightly. You can say:
- “Thank you. But we want you to be able to enjoy the day as our guest, not wound up in the details.”
- Some can accept this gracefully. If they can’t — here are some suggestions:
- “We already have a contract with an officiant. It’s irrevocable.”
- “Thank you. We’ve already hired Rev. ______ to do our wedding. If you’re willing, we would love to have you share a reading/blessing as part of the ceremony.”
- If all else fails, just be firm: “Thank you. But Rev. _____ has already written our script, and it’s just what we want, sorry.”
I wish you all the best with your wedding, however you decide to do it. Blessings!