Photo: Amber Gress Photography
Yes, the bride and groom are the main event but sometimes the best wedding story is about who said: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today..." Here, real brides share their totally unique wedding officiants who helped them tie the knot.
"My mother-in-law was a notary and she married us on a stone path near Daytona Beach, with the ocean lapping in the background. We've been married nearly 30 years!" —Sherry
"My husband of nine years and I struggled to find who should marry us. Since neither of us are church-going folk we were stuck on it for a bit. Then I thought about positive influences in my life. And violà! My high school art teacher! Yep. There I was at 26 years old being married by my high school art teacher. She had helped me pick my college and I had always dropped by and visited her every year after graduating. She is the kind of teacher who has countless ex-students drop by her classroom to say hello. We had her deputized by the County so she was official for the day. She had great public speaking skills and read from a ceremony we wrote ourselves. Worked great. —Kristen
"I had my best friend from my PhD program marry us. We got engaged on his rooftop and then he performed our ceremony. He was so good that he has done two more weddings since then! —Marni
"My uncle married my husband and me, and it was extremely special! He married us in the exact same spot in a church where he had baptized me 24 years before. It was very sweet to have someone so close to us perform the ceremony. It was personal, thoughtful, and full of love. It meant so much more to have a family member play that role on our wedding day!" —Hannah
"We booked a minister through an online service. Two weeks before our wedding she cancelled and set up someone else. One week before our wedding, he cancelled. We found someone else through the service and he showed up to marry us in what appeared to be a purple and black Halloween costume, complete with cape! Very fake and cheesy looking. He looked more like a vampire than a minister." —Sara
"My husband is Southern Baptist, and I'm Jewish, and we got married by our family friend Joe Watkins who is an Evangelical Lutheran Minister — and also a political commentator on MSNBC. We incorporated Jewish elements to the ceremony including stepping on and smashing the glass and having a Chuppah." —Allison
"My husband and I got married at a country club in North Carolina in an outdoor ceremony. My mother, an ordained AME Zion minister had us recite our largely untraditional vows. She was reluctant to marry us. She didn't want to feel responsible if things turned out poorly! But I shall never forget the look on her face after she pronounced us man and wife and my husband gave me a big back dip and kissed me full on the mouth. My mother, a conservative woman, almost squealed in delight." —Crystal
"My husband and I got married three times last year. Two of those times were by a man Adam met about 10 years ago through a mutual love for Halloween. Adam was watching a local TV channel about local Halloween celebrations and Billy (our now dear friend, in his sixties, a musician playing 300 gigs a year and now Justice of the Peace) was featured for his 500+ pumpkin display at his house in Bethel, CT. My (now) mother-in-law called Billy and asked to have lunch together and the rest is history. Adam and Billy regularly collaborate on his Halloween display and Adam builds sets to intertwine with the pumpkins. Before we were engaged, I asked if when the time came if he would marry us and naturally Billy said yes. We then called him in June of 2015 and asked if he'd meet us at the Danbury, Connecticut courthouse at 8:00am before work on a Wednesday to perform our first ceremony... He showed up in his suit jacket, jeans and leather tie with a smile. We got married with ring pops, as our rings weren't completed yet! We then had a church ceremony in Pennsylvania in August, and my husband's cousin who is a Monsignor in Pennsylvania married us. Monsignor Michael also married my mother and father-in-law!" —Savannah
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.