So you've been asked to officiate a friend's wedding. Congratulations! Even if you're someone used to exciting things happening all over the universe, someone like, say, Darth Vader — that's still pretty excited! That said, unless you've done this before, you're probably a little overwhelmed… never fear! We've got step-by-step advice for how to officiate a friend's wedding — complete with links to TONS of wedding ceremony scripts.
Step 1: Know the laws in your region
Every city and state has different laws when it comes to who can officiate a wedding. Our Offbeat Bride City Guides: the nitty-gritty of how to get married in your city: Atlanta • Chicago • Dallas • DC • Houston • LA • NYC • Philly • SF • Seattle
Step 2: Make sure you're legally ordained
- There are tons of options online — just make sure you go for a non-profit who feels aligned with your values
- If you're in California, we've super got your back there: How to have a friend legally officiate your California wedding
Step 3: Build your ceremony
So the first thing you need to figure out is how to order the different aspects of the ceremony. You need to make sure you've gotten a lot of input from the couple you're marrying — they may have a LOT of ideas for you. If they don't, here are some questions to ask them:
- What are your priorities?
- Do you want the ceremony to have a theme?
- How long you want your ceremony to be? (Tell them they don't feel pressured to have a long ceremony if they're not into being the center of attention!)
- Are you interested in traditional elements?
- How much humor do you want?
Ask the couple to save every snippet! If they see a song lyric, a line in a poem, an excerpt from a short story, or even a quote on Instagram (we all fall for them), tell them to save it! This can help your friends shape their ideas and even give you some highlights to fill in your general structure. You might even want to ask them to check out our ceremony scripts, and ceremony advice and wedding planning basics if they seem super lost.
Now, what if your couple is like “Meh, you can do whatever you want,” and you're like “Oh shit, I have no idea, where is Admiral Motti when I need him”?? We've got great posts to get you started:
Step 3: Help the couple select some readings
Ooh boy, do couples LOVE them some readings. First, read this post on how to find and include readings in your wedding ceremony. Here are a few of our favorite posts where you're sure to find the perfect readings for your peeps:
- Awesome wedding readings for bad-ass couples
- Sweet and silly wedding readings from children's books
- Lighthearted wedding readings that'll make you laugh AND cry
- Wedding ceremony readings for polyamorous couples
- Sweet, serious, and non-gaggy: a few of y'all's very favorite wedding readings
- OVER 50 MORE READINGS RIGHT HERE!
Step 4: Look at ceremony scripts
This is where things get really fun. You can peruse or straight-up steal from our every-growing tag full of ceremony scripts. That said, here are some of our very favorites for you to borrow from:
Step 5: Sign and returns the marriage license!
After the wedding, it's YOUR JOB to send the signed marriage license and return it to the state within the required timeline. Don't forget this very important part of your responsibilities or else your friends' marriage won't be legal.