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Family or Friend as Your Wedding Officiant

Day of Wedding Officiant in MA

With a desire to make one’s wedding more intimate and special, there is a trend to ask a friend or family member to officiate the ceremony. This decision is a highly personal one and can be wonderful or end up presenting unexpected challenges. So here are just some of the unexpected occurrences and challenges:

  • The trusted person got “cold feet” or ended up with a conflict...I know, how could this happen? I have stepped in on more than one occasion for these reasons and as this trend increases, so do the panic calls I receive.
  • The designated person “read” from the page and did not have the skills necessary to personally connect to the community while trying to officiate the ceremony; or they became nervous and began to make mistakes and were not able to regroup quickly.
  • In creating a unique ceremony, many couples realized that while they could pull templates from the internet and scope out idea’s, writing their own ceremony was a bit more complicated. The ability to have a ceremony that was seamless and unique was more challenging than they thought.
  • The couple and designated person was unaware of the need to work with other wedding professionals and there were glitches in the music as well as the photographer was unprepared to capture a special ritual that was crafted into the ceremony.


But fear not because it can be a wonderful experience and you just need to be careful with your selection. As a professional who also is a ceremony author and day of officiant coach, here are just a few tips I offer my couples:

  • Make sure your designated day of officiant is use to public speaking and comfortable speaking from their heart. These are two very different skills. By the way, it really is okay to show emotion during the ceremony!
  • Select a person who naturally connects 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!  
  • Ensure that everyone’s role is clear in both the work leading up to your wedding, your rehearsal and on your wedding day.
  • Remember that the ceremony sets the tone for the entire day...it should be a joyous co-creation and a stress free process!


Disover more on wedding officiants + how to designate an officiant for the day >


Article contributed by Rev. LisaAnn DuKaten, officiant and interfaith minister, Ceremonies from the Heart