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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Who will officiate your wedding? Friend? Dad? Religious figure?

Would you ever consider having a friend or family member officiate your wedding? Our friends Leigh and Taro got married in the Hudson Valley, and their dear friend Everett performed their ceremony. "He actually surprised us in the middle of the ceremony by singing a beautiful song he wrote just for us," said Leigh.
Jen and Patrick had their fathers officiate an impromptu and totally unscripted ceremony. Then the dads pronounced them "husband and wife" in unison!

Here are six more couples who did the same...
At their mountaintop wedding, Tera and Mike were married by a close friend, who just happened to be a magician. He even performed a card trick during the ceremony.
Lily and Scott met in college, so their officiant was the professor of the class they met in!
Max and Margaux chose one of their closest family friends, who was like a "second dad" to Max when he was growing up.
Heather and Michael asked her best friend to officiate their secret elopement.
Lou and Sarah asked their friend's dad to perform their hilltop ceremony.
And when we got married, my uncle Hamish married us. He got ordained online and wrote a beautiful, funny and very personal service.

Would you ever ask a friend or family member to perform your wedding ceremony? If so, who would you choose? I'd love to hear...

(Wedding photos, from top, by Robert Mayer, Chenin Boutwell, Jonas Seaman, Sweet Little Photographs, Our Labor of Love, Steph Fowler, and Max Wanger (x2))

181 comments:

Kim said...

LOVE the college sweethearts one. My boyfriend and I met in an English class and are both very close with the professor still. I'd love him to be our officiant but I doubt he would. He hates being the center of attention.

Donna said...

Love this!! My girlfriend had her husbands granddad do it and it was so touching and sweet. Makes me think who I'd pick.

www.soyouagree.com

Malia said...

I didn't but wish I did! Also love Margaux's dress!

Shelly said...

While my husband & I are very religious, we didn't have a pastor who we BOTH knew well. Instead, we decided to be married by a friend who had led us in a Bible study a few years before, and felt like a spiritual mentor to us. He even did some pre-marital counseling with us! It was a nice compromise for having a personal, yet religious service.

Deborah said...

My dad married us, and I can't imagine anyone else having done so...

Deborah

Unknown said...

My fiance and I are about to ask my brother to officiate our October wedding. Neither of us are very religious so this just makes more sense and I can't wait to hear the not too serious but personalized words my older brother comes up with.

AVY said...

I will never marry.

/Avy

http://mymotherfuckedmickjagger.blogspot.com

Leah PS said...

Judge Jon Wisser performed our perfectly personal wedding last July in Austin, Texas. I would HIGHLY recommend him to those who don't have a charming uncle/BFF/grandpappy available.

Jenny Adams said...

One of our best friends performed and wrote our ceremony! It was perfect and I wouldn't change a thing.

none said...

We had my aunt's life partner officiate our wedding. It was so wonderful. We are both very close with her and share similar beliefs so it was a no brainer to ask her when to officiate. She did a wonderful job. She is a buddhist, artist and author so she really added some creativity into the ceremony. We found some great traditions and readings that gave everyone a bit of insight into our beliefs and marriage. We had several people come and compliment us! It was so meaningful. I am so glad we asked her to do it.

xo
emily
http://couldbeinteresting.com

Kelly Lee said...

Yes! Our good friend Jon (my husband's college roommate) officiated our ceremony in Central Park. We got married at dusk in February, literally on a block of ice as a blizzard had swept the city a week prior, surrounded by 25 of our nearest and dearest as they held candles and hot chocolate, and as the city lights twinkled behind us. It was perfect.

We're not religious so it made sense and felt much more intimate to have someone we knew officiate.

Circa Style said...

I loved the idea of having a friend or family member marry us,but my fiance was very uncomfortable with the idea. Instead, we found a professional officiant who writes personalized ceremonies from the heart. I can't wait!

Lindsey McLean said...

My brother in law married my husband and I. He is a renowned poet and professor of poetry so it goes without saying that the ceremony was a total tear jerker! I loved it and wouldn't change a thing! It was personal, beautiful and flawlessly written.

LK said...

I want my dear friend Andrea to do my wedding. I've known her for a long time and it would be entertaining because you never know what she'll say. And while I'm not religious she is so it would be meningful. Both of my sisters had our childhood pastor so their weddings but they were way to formal and religious for my taste. I know he'll be expecting to do mine so I have to prepare myself to offend some people :/ it would just mean more to me to have my friend officiate.

Mo (New on U) said...

My fiance's brother will be officiating our wedding in just 23 days! Since we aren't religious, it made so much more sense to have someone who really knew us officiate.

The Sauchaks said...

I met my husband at a friend's birthday party, and five years later he officiated our wedding. He's our good luck charm!

J+H @ Beyond The Stoop said...

my boyfriend and his brother made a pact to get ordained and officiate each others weddings. it's totally fine with me (if i end up being his bride to be, that is :P) because neither of us are religious. a wedding in my eyes is the joining of two people amongst your closest family and friends, so bringing a stranger (i.e. random officiant, whether he/she is religious or not) seems odd to me...

alice in nomansland said...

Getting married in 30 days! My minister is officiating, but he doesn't feel distant from us at all. I'm lucky to say that we've been good friends for years and I feel welcome to email him any time (and I do!). It would have been lovely to have someone in the family so inclined...but I'm very happy with our choice. It still feels like a friend.

Jess said...

I would love to! (My partner and I are struggling with this right now) But it's not legal where we're from in Canada. It's also pretty difficult to get 'ordained' online. Alas!

Jennifer Wubbels said...

My husband and I had a really good friend of mine officiate our ceremony. It just seemed to make the day all the more intimate when someone who we knew so well, and who knew us so well officiated. I recently went to a friend's wedding, and the priest called her by the wrong name at one point!

Jo said...

In my wedding my best friend and my husband best friend did the ceremony (with the help of all the bridesmaids and the groomsmen). It was so personal, and beautiful and awesome! After, I had family members ask how much was the ticket to my wedding because it felt like theater. The best kind. ;)

Catherine Masi said...

Gosh, these are beautiful. We had our friend marry us and it was perfect.

Jen said...

My husband and I had his great aunt officiate our small wedding. She was the first woman to serve on the South Dakota Supreme Court. We felt we wanted a family member or friend to officiate our intimate wedding. Plus, neither my husband nor I are religious, so we appreciated a personalized ceremony focused on the two of us. If we were to do it all over again, we'd still have her officiate!

NYC Recessionista said...

My old boss (who not only introduced us, but happened to be going through the process of becoming an ordained minister at the time!) married us, and it was the most beautiful, personal ceremony.

Chelsea MacMeekin said...

We had a college friend of ours marry us. He also happens to be a pastor. It was so wonderful to have someone who knew both of us so well officiate our ceremony. Even more heartfelt was that we are the first and only friends he has ever married. He told us that people had asked previously and he had graciously declined. It definitely made our day even better!

Chelsea
Haute Child in the City

Cortney said...

My fiance and I are getting married in September and one of our dear friends will be officiating. We just know he will do a wonderful job and it will make it that much more meaningful and personal!

Meg @ Mr.C and Me said...

We did! We got married at the courthouse in secret a month or so before (due to moving & insurance reasons). Then at our actual wedding we had my best guy friend from preschool officiate. He and I wrote the ceremony together and had a blast. It was sweet since he added a few surprises in that we didn't know about. Then at the end we had everyone in the audience pronounce us married (put instructions in the programs for this part). It was the absolute coolest. You can read more about it here: http://mrcandmeblog.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/we-did-the-return-of-mr-c-me-new-mrs-c/

Lindsey said...

We were married by one of my father-in-law's oldest friends, who so happens to be a pastor. We are not religious, but my family is, so even though the ceremony did not mention a deity, it pleased everyone. He did a beautiful, personalized, and sometimes humorous ceremony. During his sermon/speech/words of wisdom, he presented us with a wooden lemon reamer that he carved himself so we could forever turn lemons into lemonade.

Kate said...

These are so cool! We had no ideas about who should marry us, and one day we were talking about it and my parents were going on an on about how much they loved the pastor who married them. My mom decided to Google him on a whim, and we managed to track him down and he kindly agreed to marry us. He was really funny and it was so cool to get married by the same guy who married my parents!

Krysta said...

Our best bud, who introduced us years ago, performed our ceremony! We gave him full control over the ceremony (just requesting it not be too serious) and gave him a copy of the poems we had friends read and the whole thing was very lovely and personal and not too too serious!

cozbi hultz said...

I recently photographed a wedding where they had a small ceremony of about 30 people and they had their friend officiate. Their friend wanted to include all the close friends and family into the ceremony as well, so prior to the wedding she sent out note cards to around 3/4's of the group asking if they would write down either serious or jovial advice for getting married or a favorite quote on love and marriage. Then she collected all the cards {and they were Pantone themed notecards; the wedding was all about color and graphics since the bride and groom are both creatives} then mixed them up and handed them back out to the audience before the wedding started. Half way through the ceremony she asked those with cards to please stand and the bride and groom looked {and listened} in amazement to the unique next few minutes where those closest to them also got to be involved in their ceremony in such a beautiful, genuine way. I've never seen anything like it and I have photographed a lot of weddings! It was so heartfelt and special and completely in tune with who the couple is and their friend and officiant knew how meaningful it would be both to the bride and groom, but really too for all in attendance. It will be one of my all-time favorite memories from photographing weddings!

lollingabout said...

We had a friend perform ours! It's still one of my favorite things about our wedding. After the ceremony we had to sneak around to a back room and have one of our actual pastors perform the legal bit, but in our hearts, David was the one who married us!
http://lollingabout.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/things-we-love-anniversaries/

GirlieBlogger@Beauty Fashion Blog Seattle said...

Unscripted weddings are much more fun. What a lovely wedding.
Girlie Blog Seattle | Casual Clothes for Less

JEREMYandCHELSEA said...

My husband's father performed our ring ceremony. I loved it because it made it that much more personal. He'd known me since I was 9 and his son since well, birth :) It was lovely.

slip4 said...

Well, this was an eye-opener for me! Call me traditional/stuffy/whatever, but it never occurred to me to have someone other than our pastor marry us. A very cool idea, though! Are all the people you mentioned ordained or is that even a requirement? Stupid question, but I never looked into it before.

e said...

I LOVE Jen's dress! Do you know where it's from/who it's by?

carolyn said...

Yes yes yes! We are in the midst of our engagement and just asked my fiance's (and soon to be my) sister-in-law to officiate the ceremony. We wanted someone special to us, who knows us well, who could articulate a great service and work a crowd. With roles for almost all of our other family members figured out, this also ended up being the perfect way to make her a special part of the day. I was really surprised at how momentous it felt to actually ask. Lots of happy tears and warm fuzzies!

Christie said...

Oh you should ask! You never know. He might be so honored to be asked that he would agree!

Carolyn Tate said...

This is so wonderful! I love all of these photos and stories.

My uncle performed our marriage ceremony. He is a judge in Indiana, we live in Virginia, and we got married in Maryland. The county in which we married did some special paperwork to allow him to legally marry us (without needing a second MD officiant). My husband and I wrote much of the ceremony ourselves, but my uncle added his own edit, and he was the one who forced us to memorize our vows. We still try to repeat them to each other to make sure we still remember them!

During the ceremony, my uncle surprised us at the beginning with a short homily on his thoughts on marriage. It was so wonderful to be married by someone so important to me my entire life, and it gave my husband and uncle a special connection, too.

Photos here: http://www.amandamcmahonblog.com/maryland-wedding-photographer-dave-and-carolyns-rustic-barn-wedding/

Lindsay said...

We had a friend of the family perform it, he was wonderful. Even though he wasn't really "officiating" (we got married at at the clerks office in Brooklyn a few days prior, shhh don't tell anyone!) he took it very seriously, sending us questions we had to answer about our relationship & he reviewed our vows for us. It was lovely. Plus I think he likes that he can add it to his resume!

Xx

letsbeamie said...

His uncle will be marrying us, if we can figure out how. The laws to do it are very convoluted in Ontario.

He is the fiancé's mentor, and he means a lot to him. He is a wonderful, kind, caring man who is so full of love for his family that he was overwhelmed when we asked him to do us the honour.

If anyone from Ontario has had a non-religious, non-civil servant marry them, let us know! We would love to learn how to get Uncle Jeff to do the ceremony.

openid said...

I just went to the most amazing wedding. It was VERY intimate (only 15 people) and VERY spontaneous. We marched to the Brooklyn Bridge with noisemakers and champagne. The bride and groom had a close friend officiate. He was wearing jeans. His ceremony was very much "Look at these kids! Aren't they great? Isn't it great they're getting married?" Then we went and sang karaoke all night. It was so nice because it was so the opposite of what weddings usually are. It was super casual and just about having a great time.

Pamela said...

Lol, we officiated our own wedding. Not that we don't have close family and friends, but we felt this was right for us, so we went with it. It was such a success and everyone complimented us on what a "pure and sincere" ceremony.

Joanna said...

Cute! We did a combo of the first 3.

Our friend got ordained online and married us, but we had an 'interlude' we titled "Mom Words" where both our moms came up and gave us marriage addresses, and then we had a magician roaming the area doing tricks right after the ceremony ended.

Hannah Q. Parris said...

My father is a Lutheran pastor, and he did my older brother's and sister's weddings. I wanted him to just be my dad at my wedding, though, so my husband's mentor (another pastor) officiated at ours. Now my husband is a pastor and several of our friends have asked him to officiate at their weddings!

Orchid Grey said...

We asked our funniest friend to be our officiant. He was the friend who my husband and I both knew the longest separately before we started dating, so he not only knew us well as individuals, but as a couple as well.

He wrote a funny, charming, and meaningful ceremony. Perfect for the two of us- who hate overt displays of affection, especially in front of a crowd!

This collection of photos is beautiful, I especially like to two college sweethearts who were married by their professor.

Rachel Powell said...

We had my college mentor/best friend who also happens to be a minister officiate our wedding. It was so special to have someone who knew us as friends and also as a couple and someone who'd seen me through so many formative experiences. The whole ceremony was so beautiful and personal- I can't imagine it having been anyone else!!

Amy Powell said...

our "officiant" knew both of us since we were 15 and helped us through high school and college. so it was a no brainer he'd marry us! (helps, though, that's he's a pastor:)

gaelan said...

We had our friend Gary perform our wedding ceremony. He's known my husband for almost 20 years and it made the whole thing even more special. Where we live though, he couldn't get ordained so it was really a sham wedding and we secretly eloped two weeks before the wedding in Niagara Falls which was special in its own way!

Karaugh said...

Wow! I have never heard of anything like this-what an interesting idea.

Rachael said...

This couldn't have come at a better time! My brother is marrying me and my fiance. We can't wait and he is honored to do it. We're having a destination wedding and just couldn't come around to the idea of having someone we never met marry us. With my brother, it will be very personal and he'll bring a few jokes in the mix. We're so excited! I love the idea of the two dads performing the ceremony :)

Angry Asian said...

my beloved proposed to me 10 days ago and this is something that i have given serious thought to. we are going to have a very small wedding, and i'm thinking one of my close friends could officiate, they're already there, i'd love for them to participate in our union too!

Betsy said...

My husband's mentor/second dad did our wedding but also happens to be a pastor (as well as a former police officer.) I can't imagine being married by someone whom we didn't know well.

Karaugh said...

My fiance and I are going a slightly more traditional route. We are both really committed to our premarital counseling, so having a minister provide us with both practical and spiritual guidance as we prepare for married life is important to us. We decided to personalize the service by having friends and family participate-reading scripture, poetry and my dear friend is going to sing to us. Best of both worlds!

Melody Rowell said...

My dad is a pastor and I've always wanted him to do my wedding. I'm hoping to have someone else up front, too, just in case my dad gets too emotional and can't handle it :)

gigi said...

My fiance,a journalist, officiated several of our friends weddings, which has been so special and personal to witness. He even wrote about the process of becoming ordained for a piece in the NY Times, which lead to a couple from Atlanta emailing him and asking him to officiate their elopement in the middle of Grand Central Station (!) - the sweetest wedding I have ever been to.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/fashion/weddings/09fieldnotes.html?_r=2&ref=weddings&

Mrs. White said...

Uncle Hamish is a hottie. ;)

Kate said...

Awwwwww, I got to officiate my friends' wedding this fall (I was the reason they met) and it was SO incredible. Such an honor to be asked. During the ceremony, I just kept thinking, I have the best seat in the house!!! I held it together, but bawled like a little baby afterwards. It was all too beautiful.

Αρμονία said...

Lovely post, photos & comments to!
My husband's father performed our ring ceremony.It is tradition in Greece.

Katharine Wright said...

I actually had my godmother officiate our wedding. She is a wonderful, fascinating woman--a Pilates instructor, a licensed psychotherapist, concert pianist, composer, glass artist--who has been a dear friend to our family for years. Just before the wedding she was so nervous, which was ironic for someone who has been a master performer for decades. But when the big moment came she played her part beautifully and the ceremony was so much more meaningful with her in it.

schroederae said...

My dad is a pastor and when I was a teenager, I figured he would just "be my dad" and walk me down the aisle and then another pastor would be the actual officiant. I figured, wouldn't it be hard to give your daughter away AND give a sermon? Plus, as much as I am a daddy's girl, I don't want my mom left along without her husband sitting next to her during the ceremony. Obviously, I'm now well past my teens and am now open to the idea of Dad officiating, but where does that leave Mom? :)

Bivins Fink said...

We had my brother officiate our wedding. It was magic. Here's a snapshot http://flickr.com/gp/68004792@N00/CN7xjw.

Erica C. said...

My uncle performed our ceremony, and he is an ordained minister. My husband and I wanted to have someone close to us perform the ceremony so it had that intimate, personal element that we feel so many of the weddings we've been to lack, but it was really important to our parents to have someone who was an actual ordained minister (not someone who just got ordained online). Luckily, my uncle fit both of those wishes and our ceremony was beautiful. One of my friends parents came up to me in tears after the ceremony saying he couldn't remember the last time a wedding touched his soul like that. Awesome. :)

Aya said...

I'm officiating my sister's wedding in March. While honored, I am also quite nervous. :/ I hope I can keep it together and not bawl until after their married!

Erica C. said...

My uncle performed our ceremony, and he is an ordained minister. My husband and I wanted to have someone close to us perform the ceremony so it had that intimate, personal element that we feel so many of the weddings we've been to lack, but it was really important to our parents to have someone who was an actual ordained minister (not someone who just got ordained online). Luckily, my uncle fit both of those wishes and our ceremony was beautiful. One of my friends parents came up to me in tears after the ceremony saying he couldn't remember the last time a wedding touched his soul like that. Awesome. :)

Michelle Justine said...

My uncle performed our ceremony. He got ordained just to do it. He nailed it. It was goofy, romantic, and perfectly us. Best decision we made besides the one to get married! :) I just wrote a post about my wedding on my blog.

www.theluckypennyblog.com

Ashlee Spear said...

We were en route to our wedding rehearsal when my fiance got a text from our pastor, saying he had a terrible case of the flu and would do his best to get well in time for the ceremony. As we were officiant-less at the rehearsal, my older brother (a former minister who happened to be ordained)jumped into the role of officiant. The rehearsal itself was so poignant and special with my brother up at the altar, we ended up asking him to marry us. He sprang into action, staying up until the wee hours of the working on what he'd say at the ceremony, and even went out and bought a new suit. The programs we'd printed were a little off, as one of the groomsmen was now the officiant, but I can't imagine having anyone else marry us.

Flo~ said...

I loved the professor one! So sweet.

My dad actually performed our ceremony--he's an ordained pastor. He began asking way back when I was a teenager (in a just kidding kind of way) if I'd let him officiate my ceremony. As a bratty teen I said no (because I thought he'd cry, and then I'd cry), but when the time rolled around I changed my mind. I think he was actually a little nervous, me being his firstborn daughter.

Kirby said...

My fiance and I have no idea who will officiate! We're getting married in September and know we don't want a religious ceremony but aren't sure who we would have officiate if we chose a friend or family member.

Natalie Lynn Borton said...

Our friend Dave (who also happened to be my maid of honor's husband) married us. It was important for us to have someone close to us do the ceremony—it made the whole thing more special, intimate and personal. Great post!

Lilia said...

We are lucky to have a priest in the family, so we had something similar =)

catbee said...

fortunately the friend that introduced my husband and myself was articulate, witty and already ordained so we asked him.
to prepare for the ceremony we each wrote an account of our quick and funny courtship and then had him surprise us!

michelle marts said...

We had a Catholic wedding, so our officiant was a priest. My sister and our friends did readings. While the priest wasn't a friend or family member, it still felt very intimate. He was sweet and funny - and having a religious person officiate gave a sense of importance to the ceremony. At just under an hour, the length of our ceremony was something I was nervous about. Would people get bored? But it turned out that the ceremony is the only part of my wedding that wasn't a whirlwind. It was beautiful.

Caitlin said...

my dad is a pastor and so he did our wedding. It was really small, so it was lovely to have him do it rather than someone we didn't know as well. He did a great job, it was so special!

Gina said...

My godmother is officiating our wedding next October. I asked her to do it over Christmas; she was floored and completely honored to do it. I know she is the best person for the job and will make the ceremony all the more personal and wonderful :)

Pumpkin Loves by Steph. said...

We had our friend Brian marry us. He was in radio and has an act for being in public. My husband wrote the ceremony with brian and it was beautiful and amazing. Neither one of us are religious and wanted something non-denomilational. I could not have asked for a better ceremony in less than 10 mins.

Stephanie said...

a good priest friend of ours who was also one of our all-time favorite college professors!

Elle_dee_em said...

We had the same problem (also in Canada), as we wanted my fiance's sister to officiate. We resolved this by having a simple civil ceremony the day before at the courthouse with just our parents, and had her officiate a non-legal (but totally personal and meaningful) ceremony, where we'll exchange the rings and say our vows. The only thing missing is the legal paperwork.

SPL said...

We had our friend marry us. He's a professor and wrote us the most amazing ceremony. It was incredibly thoughtful, insightful, funny, and even philosophical. Very personal. We had a somewhat nontraditional wedding and he captured the feeling and intent of our celebration perfectly. I couldn't have imagined a better officiant!

Laura Pierce said...

I'm getting married in September and a very close friend of ours is officiating. Her husband and she had taken us to dinner to celebrate our engagement and were joking about the ceremony (as we are fairly non-traditonal) and we kind of just looked at her and said "Well why don't you do it?!" As she is a book reviewer and editor we're already planning out a very 'literary' themed ceremony. I always knew I wanted someone who knew us well to do it, I just don't see how someone who has no essence of the real "you" could perform a ceremony meant to bind your lives together!

mich ruby said...

I got engaged in october and my fiance and i decided, before we even got engaged, that we wanted our good friend kyle to marry us. we're both not very religious and we know we want our ceremony to be intimate and we know we'll feel comfortable with kyle doing it. he's also very funny, so we're looking forward to that for easing our nerves!

Mieux said...

We wanted to have a friend marry us, but the rules in Canada are so much more strict! We were so disappointed when we realized!

abby said...

the close mutual friend who introduced us, who also happens to be the associate pastor at our church back home, was the only person we could imagine officiating our ceremony. if not for him, we probably would have never dated in the first place!

Hayley said...

My husbands best friend quickly became one of my best friends after we started dating. He's super funny and probably knows us together better than anyone! He performed our ceremony and it was perfect. He put so much thought into it and really went the extra mile to make it perfect because he knew us so well. We got so many compliments on how personal the ceremony was. It was definitely the right decision for us!

valerieannpeterson said...

i'm very family oriented so i asked my cousin to perform mine and my husband's ceremony. he and i have always been close so having him up there with us made our special day even more special. he added a personal touch to our day, and made us both feel comfortable. i recommend having a close friend/family member officiate the wedding- one of the best decisions we made for our wedding day!

weaser said...

I think it is a wonderful idea! I'm considering having two of our best friends (they are the reason we met!) do our ceremony. I'm just trying to figure out what the ceremony will look like :)

Liz said...

Here in Colorado you don't have to be ordained to officiate a wedding (you can even technically perform the ceremony yourselves if you want to!) so my fiance and I asked my two brothers to officiate ours next fall. They aren't going to be groomsmen so I thought it was a nice way to include them in the ceremony, and I know it'll definitely calm me down to have my brothers standing there with me!

NKA said...

My husband's uncle married us. It was great to have a wonderful, spiritual man, who knew us well and was so close to our family marry us!

rachel said...

My older sister was the one to marry us. It was perfect it was a way to keep her from crying through the ceremony lol.

Stefanie said...

We had my future father-in-law officiate our wedding. This added a very personal touch to our wedding. The most memorable part was my father-in-law was nervous and kept calling my husband Zachary instead of Zachariah. When he pronounced us man and wife, he stumbled again and I ended up saying our full names. Our photographer caught this moment where we are laughing! It was so great!

HannahT said...

My sister had a family friend who has been married to his childhood sweetheart for 50 years do their ceremony. He had some beautiful insights on marriage and how love changes & grows over the years. My other sister and her husband had the professor of a law school class they took together officiate -- apparently, on the first day of class, he told them they would have beautiful babies together... they weren't dating yet but were already crazy about each other. I would love to ask a family member but we're all big crybabies -- I could barely make my toast without weeping all over the mic.

S.Monty. said...

I'm going to be officiating my best friend's wedding come June. It was one of the most flattering and touching requests ever made of me, and I'm SO excited (but also SO scared--I want to give them the PERFECT ceremony)! Any advice to the officiant as to great ideas or pitfalls?

reread said...

No religion for me - a family friend would be my pick.

Lauren Doxey said...

I am Mormon and we get married in a temple for not just time, but for all eternity. It is beautiful. The person who officiates the ceremony is ordained in our Church (our very dear family friend officiated all my siblings weddings, sealing husband and wife together for all eternity. Guests can only be in the room if they are "endowed" (wear those funny underwear everyone talks about :))There is a separate ceremony to "take out your endowments" and is very special and sacred. Mormons do not typically get endowed until they have gone on a mission (year and a half or two year stint where someone spends that time preaching our gospel) or if they are getting married or have been married. I am not endowed and therefore was not there for any of my siblings weddings. Guests who are not endowed wait outside the temple and greet the happy couple when they exit the building. It is a beautiful and spiritual service and am excited to witness one.

Lomagirl said...

My best friend had gotten ordained online for another friend's wedding the year before ours. HE was the perfect pick for the two of us- and we did it in his apartment in a private family ceremony before going downstairs to the building's social room for our reception with lots of friends.

Nina said...

That's so beautiful!

We didn't want a friend to officiate. There is something special about a pillar of the community giving words of wisdom and blessing you. But, hey, to each his own. As long as you get to pick your spouse, what else matters. Right?

JLW said...

We are getting married in September and my brother-in-law is marrying us! I am so excited just thinking about how much more special the ceremony will be for us! My sisters are my maid and matron of honor and my fiancés brother is his best man and all of our nieces and nephews are junior bridesmaids, flower girl and ring bearers. It is such a huge family affair and I wouldn't want it any other way!

Cindy said...

My older brother officiated our wedding this past August. It couldn't have been more touching, emotional and meaningful. Just perfect. We had no idea what he was going to say until we were standing there and we had our breath taken away along with all of our guests at his beautiful words.

Jane said...

I think it's a great idea. My husband and I got married at city hall first in april of 2009 and had our official ceremony with friends and family in August. Our officiator was the honorary board president of a non-profit we both used to work at! It's a small community organization, a very family like atmosphere and it was just really important for us to have someone who knew us. He literally watched us grow up (my husband volunteered there since he was in HS and it was my first job out of college) to be adults, maturing while working for community improvement. It was a very special moment that I'll never forget.

Hannah said...

My husband proposed to me on a mountain hike with my mom, his brother and brother's wife. He had arranged the entire wedding then and there (guess he knew I would say YES). He had had his brother legal to officiate weddings in our county and he married us then and there at the top of a waterfall in the Sierra Nevada Mtns. It was a complete surprise to me but perfect and far more memorable for my brother-in-law to officiate then some strange person.

Alexa said...

love the college professor story!

i'd love to be married by someone with an intimate tie to us. but i've no idea who i'll marry yet, so details remain to be seen :)

Elysha Ardelean-Krische said...

One of our closest friends happens to be a pastor who gifted us the most beautiful wedding ceremony we could ever ask for. It was so intimate and personal that he quoted a poem I wrote years ago that he still had lying around his house. It was just so perfect. :)

Lexie said...

I love the idea of a college prof marrying two people who met in his or her class! Really cute. I am not engaged, but I really want my older brother to officiate for my future husband and me!

Brandie Fountain said...

My uncle (who is also an ordained minister) married us. It was perfect.

Kim Cannavale said...

My husband and I just got married last October in Hawaii. My younger brother married us and he did a great job. It was funny and it meant so much because he knows us both so well.

megan said...

Mine and my fiance's best friend will be marrying us. The best part is that everyone will find out at the ceremony.

emily said...

We were originally married by a city clerk in Brooklyn, but for our real wedding our entire 14-person bridal party married us! Alex and I wrote the ceremony ourselves and each member of our party read a portion of it. It was so incredibly meaningful to have our siblings and best friends in the world marry us.

eileen ragan | leanerbythelake.com said...

we're not engaged yet. but someday, we will be and since i was a little girl i've known that my uncle who is a priest will marry me. he baptized and gave me first communion as well. not to get all catholic up in here, but its always been special for me to know he'll be part of my next biggest step in life (& love).

http://leanerbythelake.com

Pamela said...

It was really fun! Short, simple, to the point, and completely so so heartfelt. I mean, it had to be, lol. We were talking about each other! I had a lot of ppl who admitted afterwards that they were highly skeptical of our idea, but loved it once they saw how it all played out.

Jessica Butler said...

We flew to NYC to elope and were married in Central Park by a concierge at the Plaza Hotel who moonlights as a episcopalian minister. Our wedding was witnessed by a homeless man and two Japanese tourists. And we all cried during the ceremony. It was perfect.

Katie said...

my grandpa married my husband and i!

Unknown said...

My husband and I had our flyfishing guide (and long time family friend) marry us in Montana after a week-long family fishing trip. He wore his fishing hat while officiating and all the groomsmen had on handmade flies. The ceremony was beautiful and I love that we get to visit him every year when we go to Montana on family vacation.

Britt Gwinn said...

we are planning to have my best friend, who is a comedian, do our ceremony. it will be light hearted and special! how better to ease nerves than with a few laughs!

that tall girl said...

we are having our friend marrying us. He is in his seventies, gentle and connected to earth in a deeply spiritual way, and of course, terrified to have to speak infront of our huge group (and by huge I mean we are only having around 50 people). Love that guy.

Lauren Gordon-Thomson said...

These weddings are all so beautiful! I would love to have my Dad perform the ceremony, but my mother in law is very religious and would be terribly upset if we weren't to have our wedding performed in a church by a priest. So it's a big fat greek wedding for me! Who would have thought? I always envisioned a small outdoor wedding by the water. I suppose all that matters really is the person waiting for you at the end of the isle, not the where or the how.

Lauren x
Gordon + Gold

Lauren Gordon-Thomson said...

This is so beautiful. What a wonderful, touching idea.

Lauren x
Gordon + Gold

Kristian said...

Oh, these are all very sweet. We are having our regular minister marry us this June though. We both go to church regularly and are even facebook friends with her (she surprised us by announcing our engagement in the middle of prayer!) And, honestly, I'm not sure I can picture any family member or friend doing that/ being comfortable doing that -well, except my childhood best friend's father who was a minister too. But each family and circle of friend are different.

Kristen from Try, Try Again said...

I've actually officiated 2 of my friends' ceremonies (one in a living room!) and have another one coming up in May. I think it's really sweet and personal, but then again I'm biased!

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Unknown said...

I officiated my sister's wedding, and my high school English teacher officiated mine!

Vicky said...

During the last wedding I went to, the bride's father and grandfather were both Methodist ministers. Grandpa started the ceremony (and was the cutest old man ever! He kept forgetting what he was supposed to do and was really sweet when he was giving the couple advice.) Dad finished the ceremony (also really sweet. He was typical dad when he told the groom there was still time to run and rolling his eyes on a "couple thing" my friends wanted to do, which was to plant a tree). It was so personal and unique.

My dad is a deacon in the Catholic church, and could be the officiant at my wedding (whenever that may be), but I like the idea of my dad being my dad and walking me down the isle.

celesteandpearl.blogspot.com said...

How ironic you posted this today, Joann!! My fiance and I just met with his priest tonight. We are split faith, so both a rabbi and priest will marry us. But I love the idea of their fathers! That is amazing.
xox Liz (celesteandpearl.blogspot.com)

shawn said...

Absolutely to asking a friend or relative to officiate. Before my guy and I decided on a City Hall wedding, we entertained the idea of asking either his mother (a Unitarian minister) or a good friend (the girl who introduced us) to marry us. It worked out a little different, but I loved the idea of a special person marrying us.

shawn said...

Absolutely to asking a friend or relative to officiate. Before my guy and I decided on a City Hall wedding, we entertained the idea of asking either his mother (a Unitarian minister) or a good friend (the girl who introduced us) to marry us. It worked out a little different, but I loved the idea of a special person marrying us.

Sandra Carson said...

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Eliza Jane said...

My boyfriend and I have a mutual friend who's a very good friend of ours, plus an old flatmate of his. We all met each other at the same time, when we were on working holiday visas in Scotland and working in a cabaret night club. We've discussed getting her to get ordained and to marry us.

Amber said...

Such sweet and heart warming photo's, truly beautiful...xxx

lilyvale said...

We had my husband's best friend officiate our wedding. It was really wonderful, and what he said really was so sweet and kind. I can't imagine it being any other way.

My husband has two siblings, and come May will have officiated both of their weddings. Its such a sweet tradition in his family now!

edp said...

I think getting married by friends is more like a charada than an actual ceremony. I even thought this was not a legal marriage!

Giulia said...

well, in Italy you can be marrried by a priest if you choose e religious ceremony or by mayor if you choose a "civil" ceremony. May be it's not my tradition and certainly I never considered being married by someone else, but I think I couldn't take as serious e ceremony celebrated by a friend, a relative or anyone else who's not officially in charge.

agapelife said...

Our pastor married my husband and I,
but my friend from Seminary is having me officiate her wedding this June, and no I'm not ordained -I'll do a phony ordination online.

KristinL said...

My husband and I were married by our college graphic design professor. He knew us both before we got to know each other. Our ceremony was a "lesson plan for a good marriage" with supplies, process and final expectations. The ceremony was full of old classmates and mutual friends and everyone found it sweet, fun and romantic. It was just perfect.

Johanna said...

One of my husband's best friends officiated and wrote our ceremony. He's usually a very stone faced, stoic type of dude, but when he began his speech, his voice cracked and he started to tear up a bit. Instantly my husband and I started to cry too. We were all a mess. It was a sweet moment of weepiness.

erin said...

So sweet! We had my uncle officiate at our wedding this summer and a family friend who's a justice of the peace came over at 7:00 am to make things legal! The very best wedding decision we made.

Mommys Memory Lane said...

I'm getting married (TOMORROW!) in a tiny church owned by my fiance's grandparents. His uncle is the Pastor there and he will be marrying us in front of our parents, his grandparents, and his 2 year old daughter. It's casual- I'm not walking down the isle or holding flowers, but I AM wearing white, having my father give me away, lighting the unity candle, and we've ordered a small wedding cake to feed the 10 of us! It will be so special to return to the same place every Sunday with the same man preaching who married us, so his uncle was a natural fit for us! - Taylor

Jenny said...

I'm getting married TOMORROW and our two best friends are officiating!

Stephanie said...

My fiance's cousin and his wife are rabbis and will be co-officiating our wedding this November! It will be so great to have close members of our family leading the ceremony and officially welcoming us to married life!

Elise said...

It depends where you are in Canada. I'm from Quebec and it's incredibly easy here. You just send the name of your chosen officiant (can be a friend, family member, etc.) to the Ministère du Justice and they pay a small fee $75 and have a 5 minute phone interview (to prove that they know you.
We had my dance teacher (and very close friend) marry us. It was the best decision we could have made. The ceremony was incredibly personal and it's something we'll never forget.

Devon said...

So sweet :) The pastor from my church agreed to perform an outdoor ceremony, so we went with the traditional in a not so traditional way. It made my Catholic school husband feel better. BUT after not one, but TWO phenomenal speeches by our dear friend, we have already secretly decided that he will be the one to renew our vows :)

Elise said...

It depends where you are in Canada. I'm from Quebec and it's incredibly easy here. You just send the name of your chosen officiant (can be a friend, family member, etc.) to the Ministère du Justice and they pay a small fee $75 and have a 5 minute phone interview (to prove that they know you.
We had my dance teacher (and very close friend) marry us. It was the best decision we could have made. The ceremony was incredibly personal and it's something we'll never forget.

Lauren Knight said...

In a few states (PA and CO, for instance) you can get a self-uniting marriage license (a Quaker license) which is what my husband and I did. Then his aunt married us on top of a beautiful hill with all of our family and friends watching and bagpipes playing. It was so much more heartfelt than I ever could have imagined!

Mona peacecabona said...

my dad, who happens to be a pastor, married us in the carribean/dominican republic on a beach. It was an 5pm wedding, pictures right before sunset. we loved that my dad could do it. We had only 12 guests, and each guest was 'incorporated' into the ceremony. Each had a task or part to play: whether it be turning on the music, reading scripture/poetry, playing guitar, singing a song. We loved that our closest family and friends were all apart of 'marrying us' :)

Mona peacecabona said...

my dad, who happens to be a pastor, married us in the carribean/dominican republic on a beach. It was an 5pm wedding, pictures right before sunset. we loved that my dad could do it. We had only 12 guests, and each guest was 'incorporated' into the ceremony. Each had a task or part to play: whether it be turning on the music, reading scripture/poetry, playing guitar, singing a song. We loved that our closest family and friends were all apart of 'marrying us' :)

Julia said...

love this! we had my cousin, who is a wonderful speaker and writer, officiate our wedding. she did a beautiful job and even wrote a custom poem just for us to close out the ceremony. couldn't have asked for a better officiant! we also had our friends & family who did readings come up with their own- we just said don't go over 2 minutes and otherwise let them do what they wanted. i was so happy we did because it was a surprise and they each did something totally unique and meaningful.

jenni said...

Yes! We had a family friend, who knew my husband since he was six years old, marry us. Though I have to admit there were a couple of rocky moments during the planning, she did a lovely job in the end. :)

My sister in law had her cousin, ironically a San Francisco divorce lawyer, marry her. It was amazing and everyone got a good laugh out of the disparity between his role in the wedding and his "day job."

Kim said...

our good friend married us and our ceremony was BY FAR the best part of our wedding day. it was so personal and full of laughter and tears... pure magic!

www.blendingbeautiful.com

b2ccbd88-5c13-11e2-9c81-000bcdcb8a73 said...

We live in PA, and for our first wedding, and my husband and I had married each other. It was a secret wedding, attended only by my best friend and his. We dressed up, and had the ceremony in our candle-filled living room. It was so personal, and we both cried the entire time. Our guests said it was the most beautiful, meaningful ceremony they'd ever witnessed. Afterwards, we had a champagne toast, and then we (foodies all) had the chef's tasting menu (with wine pairings) at one of the best restaurants in the city. It was perfect.

Our second ceremony will be in June, with 20 of our closet friends and family in attendance. We will marry ourselves in that one as well, but will ask a special friend to "host" and encourage our guests to share readings and thoughts during the ceremony.

Sarah said...

My dad officiated our ceremony, and it was awesome!

Rev. Carleen said...

I think that any wedding DIY a personal choice per couple. If going this route, each couple needs to decide which things are the most important to them. Anything that they are going to try on their own should only be attempted if it won’t “crush them” if it doesn’t go as planned, or if they have a KNOWLEDGABLE family or friend member willing to help. Ask to see examples of their work to be certain they are going to do things your way. If you don’t like how they do it, you aren’t locked in. Deciding to go with a professional will save you heartache, because it can’t be redone. However, if Aunt Paula is awesome at cakemaking and wants to help, by all means, take advantage of that opportunity! My own wedding was officiated by my husband's uncle, my daughter married by her husband's uncle, and I have officiated for my niece and cousins. The difference being that each of these family officiants had been ordained prior (not just for this wedding) and had plenty of experience to handle the task.

I hear horror stories about couples that tried to save money by having a friend ordained online to marry them. This is fine if your friend is a great public speaker and writer, with some knowledge of how to put a ceremony together, and how to complete the legalities. However, I have bailed out a couple that had the person back out a month before the wedding with nothing done; and heard about the cousin that had a “couple of nerve calmers” before the ceremony and had to leave during the service for a minute to use the facilities!

Realize your limitations both talent-wise, cash-wise and time-wise. I think every aspect of the wedding can be a DIY, but not every aspect for every wedding.

Chaplain Patrick said...

As a wedding officiant. This topic is very near and dear to my heart. I have heard of many couples who were wed by their friend, brother, uncle, or significant something. These weddings fall into three categories: 1) Completely flawless and amazing, 2) inappropriate and uncomfortable or 3) Complete disaster.

Sadly, the chances of falling into the first category are not in your favor. Before you consider being married by a friend or relative, ask yourself:

How many wedding has he/she officiated? The person officiating your ceremony MUST be a good writer and storyteller. They must have a grasp on managing a room full of guests. Stage fright is not an option.

How is he/she going to react when something "off the script" takes place? What if a bridesmaid passes out? What if a guest makes an inappropriate comment? What if Mom faceplants on her way up the aisle? Being prepared and quick to respond is imperative. A room full of people is relying on your officiant to lead the way.

In the wedding industry, the officiant is usually one of the least expensive vendors. Yet, he/she is the most important. You can't get married without an officiant. The ceremony (the getting married part) is the entire reason for the party!
You will be in a far better situation if you relax your floral or hors d'oeuvres budget to allow room for a qualified and experienced officiant to deliver your personalized wedding ceremony.

I am a wedding officiant. I am also engaged. I wouldn't dream of asking a friend to officiate my wedding. I want an officiant who knows what they are doing and will deliver a ceremony that I can look back on fondly, for many years to come. There is no room for error or disappointment.

Chaplain Patrick Anthony
South Jersey Officiants

Katie said...

This post couldn't be any more timely! We are getting married in April and have been thinking about this decision for the past year! Two of my fiance's cousins are ordained, and we also entertained the idea of asking his father to officiate. I think we'll be going with one of the cousins-- the other cousin volunteered to be our DJ and my Fiance's father has a history of breaking down ;].
Yes, choosing an officiant is a big decision and going with someone that is not a "professional" might come with more risk, but from my experience there is also a greater reward in using someone close to the couple. I imagine that preparation is among the biggest factors in a successful ceremony!

Cris said...

First, I want to say that I am thrilled to read of so many happy experiences. I am glad these ceremonies worked out so well. As my fellow officiants above stated, there are often times when it does not work out that way.

So often I find that the ceremony is the last thing that is planned, with officiants being booked long after the venue is chosen and the florist hired. Without the ceremony though, the wedding day is just a party.

I think part of the issue is that people don't know what their options are when it comes to officiants. I am a Life-Cycle Celebrant®, for example. I and my colleagues are trained to create personalized ceremonies.

We work at the couple's behest, including whatever elements they wish and can even write the ceremony to give prominent roles to friends and loved ones. Some of us even write ceremonies for others to officiate.

Whatever the couple's wishes, there are no surprises. Our couples get full approval of the ceremony script.

The advantage to all this is having a trained and experienced professional help you create one of the most important events of your life.

VintageDanielle said...

I'm such a sap, I was even getting teary eyed reading about the weddings. My favorite one was of the professor. I havn't decided who will be officiating my wedding but this is a good idea.

Sarah D said...

Why not have your Mom walk you down the aisle and have Dad officiate?

Sarah D said...

When I got married, we had a justice of the peace officiate. I had never met him before the wedding- had only spoken to him on the phone! But, he was fabulous. Super nice and laid back. When we showed the video to relatives later, an aunt thought he was related to my husband b'c he seemed so happy to be with us and so friendly. We totally lucked out! :)

All of my siblings had friends who got ordained online officiate.

Kerstin Lock said...

That's something I've always wanted to do, when my special day comes. I just think it's so much more personal, and we're not very religious. I think we'd have a close friend or family member do the ceremony.

ashley said...

The officiant for our November wedding will be my roommate from college and my fiance's high school friend (who will be getting ordained online). She introduced us years before we started dating and was the one who encouraged our relationship once we realized how much we cared for each other. My fiance and I thought it would be lovely if she was the one who brought us together once again, this time in our marriage. :)

Heather said...

We asked my brother to marry us - I didn't want a stranger to do it, and knew he would go along with just about anything and add his own flair. It was perfect.

p S h A o R t A o said...

I love it when friends and family become the officiant of weddings! It makes it so much more personal. Today my husband and I have been married for 2 months! We had his "uncle" who is really his father's cousin marry us. He met me early in our relationship (of over 7 years). He is dear to both of us, and is just one of those guys that nobody cannot dislike! We couldn't have asked for a better person to marry us =)

kate of little adelaide said...

One of our dear friends (also a Jo) married us- she happens to be a reverend of the Uniting Church and we were her very first wedding! It was sooo special to have her do it for us and her words meant so much

lewis said...

My husband's best friend officiated. The BFF and I have known each other much longer than we've known my husband. We were bus buddies, band buddies, science partners, locker neighbors, etc., so we're also very close. He was the perfect choice and did a fantastic job!

Lois Heckman said...

its wonderful to have a friend or someone who knows you officiate - but its not legal in many states.
Celebrants take the time to know the couple and create something really personal and meaningful.
Its even better than having a friend or family member because we have the knowledge and experience to write and officiate in a dynamic way.
just sayin' :)
www.loisheckman.com

Tim said...

Thanks for including us in the post, Joanna!!

Tim
Sweet Little Photographs
www.sweetlittlephotographs.com

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melissa said...

My husband and I got married last June, and we had our good friend officiate the ceremony. That made it so much more meaningful, and he was able to share things about us to our friends and family.

Jules said...

My husband and I were married by a close family friend of my husband's who got ordained in order to marry us. Neither my husband nor I am religious, so having someone special in our lives perform the ceremony was incredibly meaningful.

Sabaa said...

That's such a sweet idea, and makes a wedding more intimate.

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dollstudios said...

My husband and I were married by my mom. She is not a justice of the peace but in Santa Clara county they have a "deputy" for a day program where you can have anyone officiate your wedding. We got married in Carmel but our license is through Santa Clara so it didn't really matter. She did a wonderful job and since we were having a very intimate ceremony to begin with, it made it all the more special.

Unknown said...

My husband and I are high school sweethearts, so we got married a block from our school by our favorite English teacher!

Dani said...

My dad, grandfather, and uncle who I'm very close to, are ALL pastors. My sister married a pastor's son, so it was quite the spiritual wedding :) They all prayed a blessing over the couple during the wedding ceremony.
I think when it come's my time, I'll ask my grandfather. I'm his youngest granddaughter, so it would be fitting. Plus, my dad is a ball of emotion- it would not be a good idea to ask him to officiate anything. :)

the homesteady said...

my best friend steve is going to be marrying me and my partner kristie in may. i can't think of anybody better. he's a very talented writer. i don't want to know ahead of time what he's going to say, but told him that all he has to do is make everybody laugh, and make everybody cry.

nicole s. said...

A friend who had been there the night my husband and I first met officiated our wedding. Only three people at that party didn't know it was being thrown so I could meet my future husband -- him, my officiant, and her husband. She spent the entire night talking his ear off and texted me the next morning to say that I should date him, which I had been trying to do!

When we got engaged, asking her to officiate was the first wedding decision we made together. And a good friend -- she flew back to the US from Germany or the wedding! Having someone who knew us so intimately, and had been witness at such a key moment in our relationship, made the ceremony so much more personal and really gave our guests a view into our relationship.We were so glad that she could usher us into the next chapter of our lives together.

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Joan Price said...

Recently, my best friend from kindergarten asked me to get ordained online, so I could officiate her wedding. I thought it was sill, at first, but I now feel very honored. Love is what marriage is about, and I cannot think of anything better than two people being married by another person they also love dearly.

Sarah said...

My Aunt officiated our wedding - we knew she would be up for all the craziness of our wedding (my husband and best man skydived in) and the non-traditional ceremony we wanted (we used song lyrics, edited, for our vows). She was the brains behind and original owner of the Chapel of Love in the Mall of America after all.

Kate Frishman said...

I've actually been a marriage officiant for a few years now, I became one almost on a whim because it seemed like such an incredibly fun job. Now I know it was so I'd be prepared - I'm marrying my daughter and her fiance this summer!

Cecilia Tyson said...

Two of my closest friends recently got married. Initially they wanted to use a local priest or minister, unfortunately they were not part of any churches. I was lucky enough to get ordained online by my friends at Universal Life Church and conducted their ceremony for them. It was great for them because they were comfortable with me and what is more special than being married by your best friend?

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Audrey Bush said...

Decision between your bride and also the groom is important no matter the option of wedding song they'll be getting-whether it's a classical or perhaps a contemporary piece. A custom wedding songs is something that should be added to spice up a newlywed experience.

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