Can a Friend or Family Member Conduct Your Wedding Service?
You dreamed about your wedding day, what you are going to wear, how you gonna celebrate with the people you love and have been friends with forever. So what if that friend for life could perform the actual wedding ceremony? Some might say it shatters tradition, but hey weddings are suppose to be personal! As a wedding specialist here are my top tips how to do it your way:-
Which Friend or Family Member Should You Pick?
Ensuring you ask the right friend or family member to officiate is important. You dont want them changing their mind at the last minute if nerves have got the better of them! Think about which friend or family who would be confident at standing up, but dont be offended if they turn you down however much an honour your ask is.
Its best to work together in the planning about what you want to be said, any elements, poems, readings, exchanging rings and personal vows. Agree on how long you want the ceremony to last.
Remember as its not legal ceremony, the friend officiant shouldnt "declare you are now Mr and Mrs" at the end of the ceremony
Even if they are experienced at speaking in public, its advisable if they have the wedding script written down so they read from it. Having it written down is a good way to ensure the timing is right from the word count, just remember to add in time allowance for walking down the aisle, movement, pauses etc.
What Else Do I need to Consider?
You'll want to ensure your perfectly planned time table for the day goes smoothly, and as most weddings have the wedding service at the start of the wedding day, if it runs over time wise, this will impact on your whole day. If you have a Wedding Planner, talk to them who will guide you to ensure everything goes seamlessly!
You might want to buy your friend a gift to say thank you for officiating, and reimburse them for any expenses for the ceremony such as folder, paper etc
Will It Be Legal?
No but that doesnt mean that your wedding ceremony conducted by your family or friend will be less meaningful. And if you want to get that legal marriage certificate, just book an appointment with your local Registry Service (look out for their 2+2 basic ceremony) remember to take 2 witnesses with you, pay around £57 and takes about 10 minutes - you dont have to say any vows, but the Registrar will have to say a few legal words and thats it the functional element has been done. Admin day completed!
Why Are Personal Weddings So On Trend?
Exactly that - they are personal! Whilst the Church Wedding and the Registrar Wedding are legal ceremonies, they dont offer a personal touch. They tend to be prewritten for Registrars and you have no control of the wording, nor do you get to meet them before the day. And a Church Wedding will include religion, which doesnt always appeal to couples. And what a lovely idea having your best friend conduct your service as you stand in front of them knowing they really do wish you both a lifetime of love!
Always Consider a Plan B
As a professional Im always talking to clients about a plan b in those just in case scenarios! Consider what you will do if your friend is ill on the day, or gets cold feet etc, so consider having a backup friend to take over. Or why not have 2 friends be joint officiants?
Professional Celebrant Covering Somerset and Devon
Alternatively why not consider having a Professional Celebrant to write and conduct your personal ceremony? That way, your best friend can be a guest and enjoy the moment, or we can include them within the ceremony in a variety of ways.
Whilst many of my Celebrant Clients have their weddings in Somerset or Devon, I do work across the UK in licensed or non licensed wedding venues and locations. And being a professional, means you have reassurances that your wedding will be in your tone and style, and can include any element too. And it means I am able to deal with unexpected moments during the weddings - they do sometimes happen! I also pride myself on meeting the guests beforehand and can involve them as part of the wedding service. So happy to connect with you to discuss your options of how to be married.
How To Be the Best Officiant for Your Friend's Wedding?
If the couple have asked you, you probably feel thats quite an honour and itis! But be honest dont say yes unless you really feel you can. You will need to be sincere, able to bring some light hearted moments and of course the serious side of their commitment to each other. Of course you will need to put in some hard work writing the service, speak to the couple, find out what they would like included, and draft it out, amend it then practice practice practice!
Its not a good idea to have poor tasting jokes in the service, and the focus is on the couple not you!
Everyone gets some nerves getting up in front of those they know! Its best to have practiced reading the script out aloud before to become accustomed to when to pause, where to stand, how to hold a microphone. Remember to look up and speak clearly so those at the back can hear you, and dont forget to smile!
If you want help from a professional to ease your nerves then this is something I do offer. Ive invested in my training and been a public speaker for over 30 years, so I can have 1:1 sessions on line to share advice and you can practice your speech. And if all fails, I can write the ceremony script on your behalf, then hand it over to you to conduct it during the wedding.
My top tip though is to have fun, its a wedding of your friends and Im sure you will be beaming with pride as you stand witnessing their partnership together.
Last Word : Your Wedding Memories
Weddings are all about story telling, merry making and weaving in some traditions about love and life together as you pledge your vows to each other. Whoever you ask to officiate, make sure when you look back after 25 years marriage that your wedding ceremony was memorable for all the right reasons