Should you ask a friend or family member to marry you or hire an officiant?

Weddings can be expensive and most couples today will seek creative ways to cut down on costs. Some of the most popular recent trends is to ask a friend or relative to DJ, take photos or even officiate the wedding ceremony to save those dineros.  As an experienced professional Wedding Officiant in New York for the past 10 years, I have seen many versions of this plan work successfully, however I have noticed a recent increase in being called in at the last minute to come to the rescue because the couple’s alternative “money saving” plan fell apart, which ultimately costs engaged couples even more in stress and time. 

Since officiating is my personal expertise, I have put together a list of things to research and consider before you decide to ask your friend or relative to officiate your wedding: 

  • Does my friend/relative have any experience with public speaking?
  • Does my friend/relative know me and my partner well enough to truly represent us?
  • If they do a “not so great” job will it damage our relationship?
  • How does my friend/relative view marriage? Are they happily married?  (Note: This matters in case they try to throw in some unsolicited advice during your ceremony and believe me, THIS HAPPENS!!
  • Can my friend/relative handle any last-minute changes or requests either made by us, the venue, or the other vendors?
  • Does my friend/relative have an engaging, welcoming personality to make our guests feel included?
  • Does the location where I plan to wed allow non-professional clergy to officiate weddings and sign legal documents?
  • Will my marriage be legal?

When you hire a professional wedding officiant or celebrant, they bring a level of expertise and experience to the most important day of your journey as a couple.  Many Officiants (specifically the ones who have attended seminary) are also ordained ministers and pre-marital counselors who can offer you the support and valuable tools needed to start your marriage on the right track. Also, when you develop a relationship with your officiant, you gain a counselor, a friend and neutral guide to support you through the many challenges and offerings that marriage inevitably brings. 

As an Interfaith Minister and Wedding Officiant in New York, I have developed long-lasting relationships with my couples and I often have the privilege to perform Baby Blessings for their children, Vow Renewals and other big celebrations in their family and friend circle.  Most importantly, as a professional Pre-Marital Counselor, I assist in building a foundation for success which begins before the wedding and helps you through the planning process.

For bookings and more information about my officiating and counseling services, please contact Rev. Samora Smith at rev.samora@gmail.com

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