7 Things to Keep in Mind When a Friend is Marrying You

Hiring a professional officiant isn’t for everyone. My husband and I chose to go the route of a pro (and were very glad we did), but the majority of my couples who are not hosting their ceremony in a house of worship will ask a friend or family member to play this special role.

chicago weddingsPhoto by Spark + Glow Photo

Don’t tell any of my professional officiant friends this, but I do kinda love it. There’s just something very intimate and meaningful about including someone who really knows you both so well and asking them to preside over this very special and life-changing moment.

If you are considering going down this path for your “I Dos,” it is important for you and your officiant to have all the info you need to make sure you don’t mess this part up, because it’s pretty much the most important part of the whole day. (I mean, it’s the reason we’re throwing this whole big shindig.) 

Below are 7 steps to preparing you and your friend for such an important role they’ll plan in your wedding day.


1. Will You Do Us the Honor?

Photo by Pen/Carlson Photography

First things, first—ask. This can be harder than you think. You might even find yourself a little nervous. (What if they say NO?!) Well, get over it and just ask them already. In person is great, but if that’s just NOT doable for whatever reason, a phone call, a card, a messenger pigeon—all great ways to ask, “Hey, you’re super important to us… will you marry us?”.

2. They’ll Need to Get Ordained

Photo by Ed & Aileen Photography

Man, what did we do before the internet? You got it—getting ordained is free and as easy as spending all of 10 minutes on the internet. We recommend Universal Life Church. Just be sure you’ve carefully read the requirements specific to the state where your wedding is taking place.

3. Writing the Ceremony

Photo by Tuan B & Co.

Asking your uncle to marry you will make the ceremony feel so special, and, on top of that, it will save you a little money. It might not save you time, though, since it’ll be necessary to devote time to write the ceremony either for or with your officiant. We help our clients with some guidelines and templates, but we encourage the couple to make it their own. (See #4)

4. Making It Your Own

Photo by Pen/Carlson Photography

The beauty of having someone you know marry you and working together to create your ceremony is that it can be all yours. There are very few rules you have to follow, so you can do or not do pretty much anything your little hearts desire. Some things to consider: Will it be faith/spiritual-based or not? Will you have any readings? Will there be a unity candle or other “unifying” element?

5. Running the Rehearsal

chicago wedding venuePhoto by Pen/Carlson Photography

Your brother is marrying you … but he’s never even been a guest at a wedding, so how is he going to run a rehearsal (with all 18 members of your wedding party)? If you’re working with us, you’ve got nothing to worry about—we’ll work closely with your brother to make sure he’s comfortable with the flow of the ceremony and walk him through what to expect during the rehearsal and on the wedding day itself. We’ll be there to run the rehearsal and there on the day of, too.

6. Marriage License

Photo by Spark + Glow Photo

Yeah, we cannot lose that piece of paper. Typically, the license is handed over to your officiant, rabbi, priest or minister at the rehearsal, and they handle the official business of mailing that bad boy back to the county. If your friend feels comfortable handling this, great! If not, you’ll need to work out a plan ahead of time so that it gets signed, sealed and delivered.

7. Say Thank You

 Photo by Ed & Aileen Photography

You know and love your Officiant and they just married you — how special is that? Providing them with a meaningful and thoughtful gift is a great way to show your gratitude.

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