"Our friend, Joe"

Updated: Mar 17

One of the first questions I ask my clients is "who is going to marry you?" The answer is usually interesting. There's usually a smirk, a head nod, and then the reply "Our friend, Joe, is getting ordained. He's (She's) really good in front of people. He'll (She'll) do great!"

I just looked up "how to become an officiant in NJ" and received the following information:

Become Ordained Online

Check County Marriage Requirements

Order Supplies

Obtain Valid Marriage License

Prepare for the Wedding

It seems simple and now it all makes sense.....

Many couples these days are asking a friend to marry them to bring a more intimate touch to their weddings. Surely your buddy, Joe, knows more of the details of your relationship. He has seen the groom go from being interested in the bride to hanging out with her... a lot.... to freaking out that he is buying her a ring that costs THAT much. He's probably seen the good, the bad, and the ugly... and then the pretty again. I get it! He's been there for you that good old Joey.

However, I urge you to make sure that the person you trust to officiate your wedding is more than just a good speaker and a really good friend. This person is literally in charge or whether your wedding is official or not. It's not a small task. I suggest that you personally sit with the officiating friend to go through the process online. You (and the officiant) will need to know the answers to all the questions - which forms are needed when, where and when do we get those forms, what information needs to be on them, who signs what and where, when does it get dated, what do we do with the form after the wedding, who gets a copy, where does it get mailed, how does the couple know it's been submitted, when and how do they get their copies back, are we really married?

Many times when couples have a friend officiating our clients weddings, we, the wedding planners, are looked to as the source for information on what to do to get the files filed and the couple officially married. Again, I am not an officiant (yet). While I appreciate the sentiment of having a friend officiate, I can report that I have experienced cleaning up a wedding site the day after the wedding and finding a folder containing the marriage license on a table where the officiating friend had left it the previous night. His job was over and the booze was flowing. Luckily, the cleaning crew didn't throw it in the dumpster!

I don't mean to induce fear. I've also seen the job handled really well by a friend who had great respect for the role. I just want to make sure that you think the decision through thoroughly. It's not just a role in a play. This person is literally charged with your future. Another option: there are professional officiants and past and current mayors (my mom being one) who could marry you and Joey could even give a speech or do a wedding. Joey should most definitely play a role in the wedding. I agree. We know how important he is to you!

Now, if we're planning your wedding together and you tell me Joey is marrying you, I'll expect that he has all the bases covered!



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