#34 Unofficial Officiant

May 24th, 2017 · 41 mins 32 secs

About this Episode

More and more couples are choosing someone very special in their lives to officiate their wedding ceremony. We want to tell you about those very special people out there and how that all works. Officiating weddings when you’re not really an officiant? How does that work?

It used to be that couples who were not getting married in a House of Worship would have an “Officiant For Hire” marry them. These are seasoned professionals who put a lot of work and time and thought into writing a ceremony for their clients. When you hire them to be your officiant, they take the lead on writing your ceremony script which is one of the hardest parts.

Christy is going to be a guest at 3 weddings in the next 6 weeks and all 3 have friends as their officiants. Not only that but 2 of these ceremonies will incorporate a “Toast” to their guests as part of the ceremony. Drinks in hand.

Big Takeaways
Choose the right person. Someone you trust and cares about you as a couple. Someone who believes in marriage.

  • This is not just about public speaking: Don’t make the mistake of choosing someone because you think they are good in front of people. Remember that you who choose is the “ringleader” of the ceremony. - They need to be level headed and able to stay calm. Think scorching heat, think a screaming baby in the audience. They need to be able to go with the flow, but still demand everyone’s attention.
  • A Big Ego need not apply: If you have a good buddy who really makes people laugh, who is always the life of the party, who jokes around and really know how to let loose and encourages other to do so in their presence. Don’t ask that guy! He may be the best one to get people dancing, but he’s not the best option to officiate the wedding. The day is about the couple.
  • Engaging / Comforting: Someone who not only engages your loved ones, but someone who will be able to speak to you and your partner directly. Someone who will look into each of your eyes and encourage you at that moment that you may not really be “in your body”, to look into each other’s eyes and really enjoy this once in a lifetime moment.

Once you ask this person, be realistic and let them know how much work it will entail and how much you expect from them.

  • It’s not a small ask. You expect them to be there for you. To help you write the ceremony. To come up with some beautiful words and thoughts.
  • There will be lots of emails back and forth
  • There will be a couple of times you get together and work on the ceremony
  • They need to be there for the rehearsal
  • They need to wear appropriate attire or maybe even something specific that fits with your theme or colors.
  • They need to arrive early and on time on the wedding day.
  • They need to get ordained

How does one become a legal ordained minister?
Whomever you choose must get ordained to legally perform a wedding. Christy will be officiating her cousin’s wedding and is using Universal Life Church . ULC is a an online non-denominational, non-profit religious organization. And guess what? You can become ordained in a matter of minutes for free! But be aware that depending on where the ceremony is going to take place, you may need to register with the city or county as well. You can easily look this up here.

You need to compensate that special person!
It is customary that you, the couple give this special person a thoughtful gift for doing this. Not only that, but if they do not live local to the wedding location, you should offer to pay for their travel costs and hotel.

The Ceremony Script:
One of the pros is the freedom to write your own script, but it can also be a con because of how hard it is to do and especially if you are asking that of your friend who is officiating. It’s like 10 times as hard as writing your vows. Since Christy is officiating her cousin’s wedding in September, she is asking her cousin to email the story of how they met. What are their favorite books, movies and artists so she can start thinking of ideas of perhaps quotes to put into the ceremony.

The couple getting married should create an outline of the order of events for the ceremony script. There are lots of books and articles. Just ask Google if you have questions about the type of ceremony you want whether religious or otherwise. Remember, there MUST to be a place in the ceremony script where you are pronounced married.

Here’s an idea to make your life a little easier on the wedding day
Some couples choose to take care of the legal part prior to the wedding date. In other words, just the two of you can go to your local courthouse and get legally married. If you do this, you do not have to worry about any legal logistics on your wedding day. Whomever you choose to be your officiant, does not have to be legally ordained and it’s really up to you as to when you celebrate your anniversary.

Links we referenced

Universal Life Church
Dr. Lawrence Krauss
Love Wins Texas (the only same-sex wedding magazine).


  • “If you think about it, that’s THE most important part of a wedding. You’re not married until you exchange those words and I feel like some couples are super, super into that and some are like you know what, I want it to be really super fast because I want to party…

  • I love it when a couple is really conscientious about what goes into the (ceremony) script and the words that they say…

  • We are all children of the same Universe
    ~ Universal Life Church

  • We need a minister stat! You can park in the red zone!
    ~Michelle & Christy wondering if you really can park anywhere as an ordained minister if you have the placard hanging from your rear-view mirror.

  • So wait. Does an ordained minister get free parking? If I can get free parking at a meter..I’m gonna get ordained!

Get In Touch
Let us know if you have any questions you need answered on the show or if you want to share your own wedding planning experiences!
EMAIL: thebigweddingplanningpodcast@gmail.com