Is Your Friend Officiating Your Ceremony? Read This First

Ceremony & Vows, Etiquette, Planning Tips
What To Know When Friend Is Officiating Wedding Ceremony

Photo: NBC/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

It's become increasing popular for brides and grooms to ask a friend to perform their wedding ceremony instead of using the traditional ordained Minister or Justice of the Peace to do the job. Couples feel it's more personal, and the ease with which just about anyone can get ordained has turned it into a trend. Let's face it — we can all thank Joey from Friends for teaching us how to do it when he married Monica and Chandler almost 20 years ago. That's where this all started.

But if you're going to have a friend marry you, there are three things you should keep in mind before the big day arrives so that you actually end up having the wedding ceremony you've envisioned:

1. Make sure the friend doesn't have to be "licensed" in the jurisdiction where you are getting married.
For example, Puerto Rico requires ministers to be licensed and registered with the government. While you can have a friend perform the ceremony, if you want to get your marriage license in Puerto Rico, you need to hire a real officiant there as well to do your paperwork and confirm your vows. It's not usually difficult process, but if you don't check it out in advance, you might have to get married for real a second time. Virginia, DC and New York are example of big cities who have made the process slightly more complicated in the past few years.

See more: Tips for Planning an At-Home Ceremony

2. Plan your wedding ceremony yourself and then let your friend who is officiating help finalize it and create his or her own section to read as well.
You know which vows, promises and words you wish to exchange when you're slipping the rings on each other's fingers. Nobody else can choose this for you.

3. Think twice before choosing your most comedic friend to perform the ceremony. Everybody likes to have a laugh, but remember, this is your real wedding.
Some funny friends are better reserved for the toasts. You don't want or need any border-line inappropriate jokes. And whatever little jokes the minister intends to share should be pre-approved by you. You don't want to do anything that takes away from the overall importance of the actual wedding occasion.

Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.

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