Are you looking for a professional Officiant? Or do you have a Friendiant? Here are some minuses — and pluses of the latter!
First of all, let me cut to the chase. Don’t make this event — your wedding ceremony — TOO CASUAL. As a culture, a society, we’re definitely moving into a time of challenging norms and reinventing roles. But there are some norms that deserve preserving (wow a rhyme!) One of them is the brevity (and yes, of course, the joy) of the event.
By the way, a Friendiant is a friend or family member who’s been asked to take on the role and responsibilities a professional officiant is usually hired to do.
There is a responsibility taking place via your ceremony that is going to sign you up (literally and figuratively) for a lifetime of wedded bliss. Make sure the friend Officiant you choose knows this is a responsibility. Make sure she or he will treat this event with a loving hand but at the same time, a respectful hand.
To Party or Not to Party
For example, it’s too casual a relationship with your ceremony if your chosen / friend Officiant is partying with you beforehand. Especially they should not be drinking with you and just hanging out prior to the ceremony taking place. They have tasks to do (see below) that they’re responsible for. Make sure they know you expect them to be the host, the director of your ceremony and they need to have it together
Getting to the Site EARLY
While you hope everything is in place, there are plenty of reasons things might not be coordinated but can be handled before the ceremony so everything IS together. Your Officiant should arrive at the wedding site at least half an hour ahead of time. That way he or she has time to
- Connect with the venue coordinator or wedding planner.
- Check in with the photographer or musicians about any requirements he or she might have and vice versa
- Check out the exact place where you’ll be standing together as you share your vows. Are the chairs close enough to where your Officiant stand with you so your guests can hear?
- Do a sound check to make sure the sound carries well or that the microphone has been set up properly.
- Also make sure there’s a microphone for any readers if needed
- Make sure everything that is needed for any special ceremony you want to participate in is there (the Wine Box or Sand ceremony elements, a table to put them on).
- There’s always more details to take care of last minute than you’d expect. Sometimes it’s the officiant who’s the only one to catch what’s missing and can get the ball rolling to put everything together last minute!
A Team Effort
Remember, your wedding ceremony is a team effort. If your friend or family member doesn’t take it seriously, the other professional people who are there to do their jobs can’t do their work as well either. Everything is connected on your wedding day so each person has to do his or her part.
The Big Plus
Your friend or family member knows you. They may know you too well — but your connection is the big plus that no matter how much a profession Officiant like myself can bridge the gap between knowing and getting to know you. Yet be careful — such knowledge is NOT a guarantee things will go well beyond your shared familiarity.
You can avoid many mistakes if you make sure, really sure, your friend or relative knows they are the conductor of the whole ceremony, not just the sharer of a few words, meaningful and fun-filled as they may be.
Insuring Your Officiant is Ready, Willing and Able
If your new Officiant friend or family member needs help understanding all the ins and outs of conducting as well as delivering a wedding ceremony, have them check out the very helpful Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Training program. The RW&A program is a very affordable, easily accessible program of 7 lessons that are delivered within a week. They’ll get the basics of how to run a ceremony, how to stay organized (like a great checklist to make sure they have everything covered when they get to your wedding site early), even ways to elicit and enhance the stories they have about you that will make your ceremony uniquely your love story.
Every couple and every Officiant deserves to create great memories they’ll always value. You of course, deserve this too.
Rev Crystal has been officiating weddings as a professional since 1990. She loves doing weddings (and comes highly recommended) and wants to make sure your officiant loves doing YOUR wedding. Find out more about her on her “Meet Rev. Crystal” page.