I meet with couples that are exploring what a “professional” can offer versus a friend or family member. Nine times out of ten my couples make a decision to work with a professional..and this is why:
1) They found out when talking to others that at the last minute or a month or two before, the person that was suppose to officiate got “cold feet” or ended up with a conflict…I know how could this happen? Yes it is true. There are those couples who have called me last minute because this had happened to them. I have stepped in on more than 1 occasion because their “special person” couldn’t do it.
2) In creating the ceremony, the couples realized that they only knew what they knew…while they could pull templates from the internet and scope out idea’s, writing them or implementing them seemed stressful and difficult.
3) As they spoke to couples or read about using a family member or friend, there were a other problems: a)The person “read” from the page and did not know how to connect to the community or couple while trying to officiate the ceremony. b)Their officiant did not know how to work with other wedding professionals so the music was off-cue, or the photographer/videographer did not know about any of the special rituals occurring and were not prepared to capture them. c)They were nervous and you know what can happen when nervousness sets in - almost anything! In my humble opinion it is ok for the bride or groom to be nervous, that can lend itself to very special moments. The officiant on the other hand needs to be calm and reassuring.
d) they had no public speaking experience.
4) They never actually realized the effort that a professional officiant puts into the creation of a unique and personalized ceremony, nor all the small details that a good officiant will handle.
When this happens a bond begins to form, I know it does with me, where I become very motherly protective over my couples and other times a real friendship forms.
If you make the decision to have a family member of friend officiate at your wedding it can be more than lovely. A few tips in choosing that person that will help make your ceremony seamless:
Make sure they are use to public speaking and comfortable speaking from their heart.
They naturally connect with people but also can cast the focus on others versus themselves.
The person you select should have the ability to co-create the ceremony with you...they should be fairly good writers and understand the power of words. Mostly, they should be excited, not nervous, about being such an important part of your day!
If you are going to go this route, make sure you use a day with your coordinator or wedding planner so that bridging the ceremony seemlessly with the photographer, videographer, musician or DJ.
Remember that the ceremony sets the tone for the entire day...it should be a joyous co-creation and stress free process!