The Dangers of Survival Mode

How Survival Mode Can Drag Your Wedding Day Down

(And What to Do About It)


You know that show “Survivor”? That one hosted by Jeff Probst? Do you know that show originated over 20 years ago? 


Crazy, right? 


I like a good campout, but really “roughing it” isn’t my style.


I prefer a big bed with clean sheets to a sandy tent. A hot shower with an endless supply of water to a salty rinse in the ocean? And a limitless meal choice to a competition for decent food. 


But people must be obsessed with survival mode. Otherwise, why has the show lasted so long? More importantly, why do so many couples continue to ask a friend to officiate for them? More times than not, this person, no matter how confident, knows nothing about conducting ceremonies. But because a couple’s budget is so stretched they need to cut corners to survive the cost of weddings. 


It’s not doing you any favors. There isn’t a million-dollar prize if you stick with your friend long enough. In fact, seeing yourself as making the best of an unknown situation could be doing more damage than you know. 


You’re setting yourself up for a strained friendship


survival mode by asking a friend to officiate for you

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

You may have many great experiences with your friend. But if he or she feels honored by being asked to officiate for you but internally feels overwhelmed by the responsibility, they have to live with the nervousness or may disappear completely. They want to be there for you but they just don’t feel they have the skills and so in order to preserve your friendship, they hide their insecurity from you and forge ahead in survival mode.


I read online horror stories about friends leading a ceremony that was embarrassing, or their friend arrived late (if at all) or lasted five minutes. I know you said you wanted a short and sweet ceremony, but short and sweet shouldn’t be less than 20 minutes.


Conversely, allowing your friend to be your friend and celebrate with you, you’re much better off to hire a professional officiant. This means you can depend on the experienced officiant to meet with you and create a ceremony that starts your entire wedding day off with ease and humor and well, without a hitch. That’s because the professional knows what to do and when and what’s appropriate and not to include in your ceremony.


Your friend’s public speaking abilities disappeared


Sure, your friend teaches classes, or does training for their job. They may be the life of the party. But sometimes, all that public speaking you thought made your friend the ideal candidate to officiate for you disappears. They feel like a fish out of water because there IS a difference between leading a ceremony and leading a class. S/he may lose  their place in their script repeatedly, or conversely, read dispassionately from a script they could hardly see on their phone. But they only do this because in their affection for you, they do what they can in the moment because their survival mode instincts turn on.


Many times a guest compliments me after a ceremony. Once a group of guests related a story of a recent wedding they’d been to where the friend officiant stumbled over the script so much that they actually turned and left the ceremony altar. Another time guests told me about the officiant giggling throughout the ceremony because she was so nervous.


To be fair, I also hear stories of a friend officiant doing a great job. But I have never been able to determine what factors have been in place so a couple knows for certain their friend or family member can effectively do the job.


Leave the creation and delivery of your ceremony to a professional. They know how to use their script, they’ve been in the ceremony field long enough that they can absorb and manage the ceremonial process with grace and have the confidence that comes with experience.


Covering up puts you in survival mode

Wouldn’t you rather be celebrating?


People want to be gracious and they want to support you. But when you realize your unprofessional officiant, as much as you love them as a person, messed up your ceremony and now everyone is being polite by saying, “nice ceremony” instead of “that was the best ceremony I’ve ever been to!” you know they are covering up for a mediocre, uninspiring ceremony.


survival mode regret mandalaIn order for you to survive the embarrassment of making a not so good decision to ask your friend or family member to officiate for you, now you have to cover up for them too. Because again, you love this person. Now the day isn’t about you. It’s about covering up for their lack of experience.


I officiated for a family whose father took me aside as I was leaving the ceremony for home. “Two of my daughters got married recently. And I have to say that what you said and how you said it made this the best ceremony I have ever been to. I can’t thank you enough.” Later, the bride emailed me. Both her sister and father mentioned how wonderful the ceremony was in their reception speech. I couldn’t have felt happier for this family. I loved the feeling of knowing I’d done a good job for them.


You had high hopes you could survive the high cost of a wedding day. You thought you could get by with your friend officiant. But the ceremony starts your entire wedding day. Your ceremony should center around the vows that underlie your relationship together for the rest of your life. You can be proud of the words your officiant speaks on your behalf. S/he knows how to showcase your love and inspire your guests. And don’t we all need inspiration these days? Better hire a professional.



We gave you several examples of how to jump from surviving to thriving. If you are ready for some help getting there, then we’re here for you. Contact us to talk about your options and how we can help you save your friendship, and create amazing memories. We may not save your budget. But we also won’t be as expensive as that fancy save-the-date postcard you’re considering.


Happy for you!

Northern MIchigan Wedding Officiant

Rev Crystal

Contact us today
wedding officiant at NMIWO

Rev Sheila



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