Who Will Officiate Your Wedding? Friend? Dad? Religious Figure?

Would you ever consider having a friend or family member officiate your wedding? Our friends Leigh and Taro got married in the Hudson Valley, and their dear friend Everett performed their ceremony. “He actually surprised us in the middle of the ceremony by singing a beautiful song he wrote just for us,” said Leigh.

Jen and Patrick had their fathers officiate an impromptu and totally unscripted ceremony. Then the dads pronounced them “husband and wife” in unison!

Here are six more couples who did the same…

mountain-top-wedding-At their mountaintop wedding, Tera and Mike were married by a close friend, who just happened to be a magician. He even performed a card trick during the ceremony.


backyard-wedding-california-receptionLily and Scott met in college, so their officiant was the professor of the class they met in!



max-margaux-wanger-weddingMax and Margaux chose one of their closest family friends, who was like a “second dad” to Max when he was growing up.

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Heather and Michael asked her best friend to officiate their secret elopement.



Lou and Sarah asked their friend’s dad to perform their hilltop ceremony.

hamish-joanna-goddard-weddingAnd when we got married, my uncle Hamish married us. He got ordained online and wrote a beautiful, funny and very personal service.

Would you ever ask a friend or family member to perform your wedding ceremony? If so, who would you choose? I’d love to hear…

(Wedding photos, from top, by Robert Mayer, Chenin Boutwell, Jonas Seaman, Sweet Little Photographs, Our Labor of Love, Steph Fowler, and Max Wanger (x2))

  1. ellen says...

    we got the best of both worlds, because our friend is a pastor. It was so special that he knew us but I also really appreciated having a professional! He helped us prep the ceremony, ran the rehearsal like a champion and knew just how long to make his sermon. So many times I’ve been to weddings where the friend officiating talked to quietly or made awkward jokes… maybe it was great and special for the couple but it makes you appreciate someone with experience.

  2. My cousin is getting married in a few months, but still hasn’t chosen an officiant for the ceremony. I like how Max and Magaux chose a close friend who was like a “second dad” to Max when he was growing up. I think choosing someone who has influenced your life would be a great choice.

  3. I’ve actually been a marriage officiant for a few years now, I became one almost on a whim because it seemed like such an incredibly fun job. Now I know it was so I’d be prepared – I’m marrying my daughter and her fiance this summer!

  4. My Aunt officiated our wedding – we knew she would be up for all the craziness of our wedding (my husband and best man skydived in) and the non-traditional ceremony we wanted (we used song lyrics, edited, for our vows). She was the brains behind and original owner of the Chapel of Love in the Mall of America after all.

  5. A friend who had been there the night my husband and I first met officiated our wedding. Only three people at that party didn’t know it was being thrown so I could meet my future husband — him, my officiant, and her husband. She spent the entire night talking his ear off and texted me the next morning to say that I should date him, which I had been trying to do!

    When we got engaged, asking her to officiate was the first wedding decision we made together. And a good friend — she flew back to the US from Germany or the wedding! Having someone who knew us so intimately, and had been witness at such a key moment in our relationship, made the ceremony so much more personal and really gave our guests a view into our relationship.We were so glad that she could usher us into the next chapter of our lives together.

  6. my best friend steve is going to be marrying me and my partner kristie in may. i can’t think of anybody better. he’s a very talented writer. i don’t want to know ahead of time what he’s going to say, but told him that all he has to do is make everybody laugh, and make everybody cry.

  7. My dad, grandfather, and uncle who I’m very close to, are ALL pastors. My sister married a pastor’s son, so it was quite the spiritual wedding :) They all prayed a blessing over the couple during the wedding ceremony.
    I think when it come’s my time, I’ll ask my grandfather. I’m his youngest granddaughter, so it would be fitting. Plus, my dad is a ball of emotion- it would not be a good idea to ask him to officiate anything. :)

  8. My husband and I are high school sweethearts, so we got married a block from our school by our favorite English teacher!

  9. My husband and I were married by my mom. She is not a justice of the peace but in Santa Clara county they have a “deputy” for a day program where you can have anyone officiate your wedding. We got married in Carmel but our license is through Santa Clara so it didn’t really matter. She did a wonderful job and since we were having a very intimate ceremony to begin with, it made it all the more special.

  10. That’s such a sweet idea, and makes a wedding more intimate.

  11. My husband and I were married by a close family friend of my husband’s who got ordained in order to marry us. Neither my husband nor I am religious, so having someone special in our lives perform the ceremony was incredibly meaningful.

  12. My husband and I got married last June, and we had our good friend officiate the ceremony. That made it so much more meaningful, and he was able to share things about us to our friends and family.

  13. its wonderful to have a friend or someone who knows you officiate – but its not legal in many states.
    Celebrants take the time to know the couple and create something really personal and meaningful.
    Its even better than having a friend or family member because we have the knowledge and experience to write and officiate in a dynamic way.
    just sayin’ :)

  14. My husband’s best friend officiated. The BFF and I have known each other much longer than we’ve known my husband. We were bus buddies, band buddies, science partners, locker neighbors, etc., so we’re also very close. He was the perfect choice and did a fantastic job!

  15. One of our dear friends (also a Jo) married us- she happens to be a reverend of the Uniting Church and we were her very first wedding! It was sooo special to have her do it for us and her words meant so much

  16. I love it when friends and family become the officiant of weddings! It makes it so much more personal. Today my husband and I have been married for 2 months! We had his “uncle” who is really his father’s cousin marry us. He met me early in our relationship (of over 7 years). He is dear to both of us, and is just one of those guys that nobody cannot dislike! We couldn’t have asked for a better person to marry us =)