Who Married You?


We’re 70 something days away from our wedding, normally I wouldn’t know that, but I’m somehow signed up for pesky reminder emails. So far everything is coming together, but we are still in need of an officiant. This is a little bit of a touchy subject as my extremely Catholic family is already not fond of the lack of church and priest.

I thought maybe an older gentleman would somehow ease the blow. Plus I have a soft spot for little old men. Finding said gentleman has proven to be quite difficult. Most officiants we come across tend to seem insincere and a little weird. On the other hand, we have a friend who is ordained (through one of those crazy named online churches). He is well spoken and I have known him for many years, he would do a wonderful job.

Would a young friend seem unofficial? Is it really worth the $300 to pay a stranger to talk for 15 minutes? I’m very torn. What are your experiences?

Photograph: Our Labor of Love via DesignSponge & OnceWed


  • Sarah

    My parents really wanted a Rabbi to marry my husband and I, but as we didn’t have any one particular in mind and didn’t like the idea of hiring someone who didn’t know us, one of my husband’s best friends officiated instead. He’d had experience as an officiant before, so we already knew that he know what he was doing, and he knew us both already, so he was able to make our short ceremony that much more special. My advice is to just not agonize over it too much. As long as you meet with the person first, whether you know them or not, and make sure they know what kind of ceremony you’re looking for, I’m sure it will be wonderful. Congratulations!

  • nic

    I totally empathize with your desire to “ease the blow” for your family–you must really care about them! Our wedding was officiated by my uncle, who is also the pastor of our church. Uncle Mark has known me all my life, and known Jake and I as a couple all of our dating lives–as a family member and as a faith-community-leader. He made our wedding ceremony perfect–it was personal, unaffected, and touching. I say that to say, I’d go with the more personal officiant: even if the person is “young” and may seem “unofficial” in whoever’s mind–he *knows* you and your guy. That personal, sincere vibe is what you probably want, more than an “official-looking” officiant. And, ultimately, you probably would rather remember your wedding ceremony as being sincere and sweet rather than awkward and stiff. But, what do I know? Go with your gut–trust your intuition on this, and I’m sure it will be lovely!!!

  • Kaira

    Congrats! I definitely feel you! I’m set to get married 37 days from now. My fiance and I have been to a number of weddings in the past two years. Those where the officiant or person giving the ceremony seemed to know the couple quite well, and those where the officiant could barely pronounce their names. And you best believe the couple spent $500 or more on the officiant services. Not only because we have a smaller budget for our wedding, but also because we thought the ceremony would be more meaningful, we decided to have a friend of ours deliver the ceremony. We picked someone who we feel is articulate, intelligent, and knows us as a couple. I’ve read a rough outline and so far I’m in love with the ceremony! We’ve also sat down for dinner to really make it a collaborative process and to create a ceremony unique to us. Now of course he’s not legal, so we have to figure out the details of signing the legal documents, but truly does your family watch you sign the papers anyway? Not often. Whatever you decide, your day will be truly amazing because you’re marrying the man of your dreams. Happy planning! xo

  • Zoe

    Go with the guy you know and that you like!!!! It your day not your family or friends.

  • Suite Henry

    I was very insistent on no religious overtones… we managed to find an officiant who talked a lot about relationships and patience and ended weaving a lot of almost, existentialism into it. It was beautiful and felt like us. I think that is the big deal. Talk to the officiant and make it feel like the two of you.

  • joan

    I agree with NIc, but can you just get the guy in the picture please?

  • Sage Parker

    I vote to have your friend do it.
    I’m a wedding photographer and have been to 100’s of weddings and I always love the weddings that are performed by a friend because they are so much more intimate (it is afterall a union of love.) I think the most important part of the ceremony are the words that are spoken and the vows (make sure everyone can hear them.) You could even do a practice run so everyone is comfortable on the big day.
    Have fun and congratulations!!!

  • Lindsey

    i think our friend would do an amazing job. I think you should do what you want to do, what your heart tells you and bub thinks whats best. The best part about “our friend” is that he is an amazing friend… That knows us, your family, and best of all you guys as a couple.

  • claire

    Thanks for the great advice everyone! I think we may go with the friend 🙂

  • Denise

    The guy in the picture is pretty cute! But I think it should be perfectly alright for you to choose your friend! It might even be better!

  • Hillary

    If you decide not to go with your friend – shoot me an email and I’ll get the name of the guy who officiated my friend’s wedding this past weekend. Everyone LOVED him. He was fun and funny and nice. He’s based out of MKE, I’m not sure if he travels or not, but he was really really great.

  • Erin

    We’re right behind you with about 90 something days til our wedding. We’ve had the same problems since we’re getting married on a farm and my family grew up somewhat Catholic. We ended up asking my fiance’s sister to marry us since she knows us the most as a couple. I think it’s better to have someone you know since it will make it much more personal. Either way though it will be amazing! Can’t wait to see pictures!

  • joanna goddard

    my uncle got ordained (online:) and officiated our ceremony, and it was wonderful. it felt so heartfelt and personal. it was incredible to hear his voice saying “i now pronounce you husband and wife!” so i love the idea of having someone you know marry you. but i TOTALLY understand how you want to make sure your family is happy, too. weddings are so nuanced in that way…good luck with the decision! i’m sure whatever you decide will turn out beautifully. everything can feel intense leading up to the day, but once everyone is together (and drinking wine:) those nerves/concerns/etc. all melt away and everyone is wonderful and teary and fantastic. xoxo

  • Karly

    This amazing woman married us: http://ceremoniesofgrace.com/
    Read the testimonials. Gina Zimmerman’s got that something special.
    I’m not sure where you are, but she’s in California.

  • Natalie

    Because I am mormon and a lot of my family is not, they couldn’t see me actually get married. To ease the blow (for all of us) we opted to have a ring ceremony that was presided over by an older judge that my father happened to know. It was incredibly touching and totally worth doing. He had a lot of wise things to say which made the ceremony feel like it was being presided over by a well-worded grandparent that happened to be a government official as opposed to a stranger.

  • suzy

    unitarian minister is the way to go. my family is catholic too but we had the nicest old man do our cermemony outdoors. it was quick and everybody loved it.

  • jen smith

    hi! i always thought it would be so fun to have our funniest friend marry us. (whomever that was at the time;) but i am from st.augustine, fl, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be married in an OLD church, with beautiful wooden beams, overflow of stained glass, and gorgeous lighting. oh, and a pipe organ. it was beautiful.
    but, the clincher is that we had to use the minister that came with the church. HAD to. and he was kind of nasty. made me cry at my own rehearsal! just not a warm old man that you dream of.
    all that to say, make it count! enjoy your entire day! thankfully, ours was beautiful despite his ‘tude. but find me ANY occasion that isn’t more fun when you’re laughing!?
    have a great wedding!!!! i know you’ll love it!

  • Keegan

    My husband and I actually had his little brother do the ceremony. My husband’s family is very religious, but we do not agree with their views though we respect them. My brother-in-law minored in religion, is well-spoken and very thoughtful. Since we wrote our own vows we really only needed someone to sort of frame the ceremony. Though he did get ordained online the laws were difficult to interpret so we ended up getting “pre-married” at the courthouse on the date we met a couple of months before the wedding just in case. The day of still felt like the real wedding in front of family and friends. We also did not get married at a church but rather outside at my parents cottage. The day was perfect and meaningful and I would not have changed a thing. I say go with your gut, you are the one’s who need to feel that the wedding is special.

  • Lindsey

    Omgosh! I was in the same boat as you are in right now when I got married! My family is Catholic and I was so angry when I called around the diocese of the city where I was born, baptized and my father buried and got really rude responses. So I said forget the church and it’s stuffy, rude receptionists, I’m getting married outside because that is what I have always wanted anyway. We had my brother-in-law marry us and he is ordained through an online church.
    There is NOTHING better than having someone who knows you – well or just personally – marry you. I know my brother in law of course, and he knows my husband, but he chose an angle and had us fill out a blind questionnaire (without looking at each other’s) that was so fun with queries like, Bach or Mozart? Mountain or Valley? and then he wove our answers (sometimes the same, sometimes not) into his speech. It was fabulous and I’d never take back a single bit. Then my older sister read some poetry from Rumi, which was also beautiful, but did nothing to quell my Catholic mother’s nerves. 😉
    Now that we’ve been married three years and have a baby due in September, I plan to baptize the baby and all of that and I still feel a certain I-don’t-go-to-church-regularly-but-I-still-appreciate-God-and-everything loyalty to the church. I think you can have it both ways. And, when you have your online church ordained minister officiate, you don’t have rules like no bare shoulders and no outdoor weddings to contend with. 🙂
    I can see your wedding is either super close or already happened, but I hope you’ll get this and that it will make you feel good about whatever you decided! xo

  • claire

    Thanks for the support Lindsey! We’re a couple weeks out now and decided to go with a friend. I truly hope that my family can see through the formalities and appreciate the day for what it is.

  • The Senses Five » Blog Archive » I do! - See it, Hear it, Touch it, Taste it, Smell it…

    […] Week is overflowing into this week with the ceremony. As you may recall, I had a hard time choosing an officiant, we went with the consensus and choose our friend. It was the right decision. Our ceremony was very […]

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