Will YOU MARRY US?
I bet that is something that you never thought would come out of your mouth. Before everyone gets weird, we’re not talking in a polygamous kind of way, but in the, “we love and respect you as a friend or family member, will you officiate our wedding ceremony” kind of way.
The last several generations have seen a fundamental shift in the United States regarding the role of religion in people’s lives. This reframing of religion has led to two distinct discussions:
- A shift in thinking on how couples view who is best qualified and most relevant to officiate their weddings.
- New conversations on religion and spirituality.
What does this mean for those planning a wedding? This means that the sooner the discussion on who will perform your ceremony happens, the better off you will be. The minute the word religion enters a conversation, one of two things happen; it either unifies or divides. It may or may not be divisive for the two of you, but let’s layer on two sets of parents, several grand parents, a couple of opinionated aunts and things get complicated fast.
WHO SHOULD PRESIDE OVER YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY?
- Are you getting married locally or is it a destination wedding?
- Are either or both of you practicing in your established faiths?
- Are your established faiths present and apparent in your day-to-day lives?
- Have your religious practices played a significant role in your relationship and your lives together?
- Do you practice the same faith as your partner?
Once you have considered these questions, the answer may be very apparent. Perhaps you are getting married in your hometown where you both grew up and attended the local church. On the flipside, perhaps your path forward is less obvious…destination wedding, differing faiths, and religion in its traditional sense is less present in your everyday lives. You may consider yourselves spiritual, but not religious. Maybe you have not put that much thought into your spiritually lately and you believe how you find your center, your clarity is your business and no one else’s. You are not alone; two-thirds of America’s millennials have been raised in a religiously unaffiliated household.
SHOULD YOU ASK FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER TO OFFICIATE YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY?
- Do you have a friend or family member that you both love and respect?
- Does this potential officiate know you as a couple? How have they been a part of your journey as a couple?
- Does this individual have stage presence, charisma? Can they “bring people with them?”
- Is this person someone you want, literally, in your personal space on your special day?
- Is this friend or family member vested in your path forward? Are they someone you can turn to for advice and guidance?
- Are you in absolute agreement on who your officiate should be?
- Is this friend or family member likely to not just say yes, but #%% YES?
IS THIS WEDDING ABOUT THEM OR US?
If you choose not to elope, no matter how you look at it, your wedding day is not your own. You are also celebrating your tribe. Although this is your day, it is also a tribute to everyone you love. Having them in your lives has helped to make you who you needed to be to find each other. That being said there are a few last things to consider:
- Are there religious or family traditions that you should honor during your ceremony
- Can you honor these traditions in a ceremony officiated by an ordained friend or family member?
If the answer is yes to question one, then the answer to question two can also be yes. Using a non-denominational ordained minister does not mean you have to have a pagan wedding where everyone renounces all things holy. A ceremony performed by an ordained friend or family member can be whatever you want it to be.
Planning a wedding is a wild ride, particularly if you have a destination wedding. We are often so focused on logistics and taking care of our guests that the ceremony takes a back seat. It is important that you select a wedding officiate that you are not only comfortable with, but trust to advise you as you create the ceremony and the promises that will be the roadmap for the next phase of your lives.
If you have decided to have your friend or family member officiate your wedding ceremony, the first step is for them to apply for ordination.