So, you are thinking of having a friend or family member officiate your wedding. That is, well, okaaaay. Kinda. Sort-of. Maybe? If you are determined to go down this path, we encourage you to hire a professional to make sure that at the end of your ceremony your marriage is legal. Yes, that is right. Legal. This is because up to 90% of amateur officiants make serious mistakes that can jeopardize health insurance, buying a home, or dare we say – divorce settlements.
In the age of internet officiants, your bestie from college might seem like the way to go. You’ve got history together, and he did a really good job on his sea turtle migration thesis. But these qualities don’t necessarily mean officiating is his thing. And his status as a temporary officiant cannot replace the experience of a qualified professional.
Not deterred, you still want to have your friend or family member lead the ceremony? Follow these tips to make sure you are protected.
Make it Legal
Making sure that your marriage is recognized by the state requires two important steps. First, the affirmation must be witnessed by someone who is legally entrusted. And then, the needed paperwork needs to be properly filed. The surest way to do this is by hiring a professional officiant to observe the ceremony and manage the filing. Your justice of the peace (or notary in Florida and Maine) has the experience and know-how to ensure your nuptials are official.
Do it Right
You’ve been dreaming about your wedding day, and you want it just right. If you decide to have your loved one lead your ceremony, let the JP apply their expertise by coaching your friend or family member. Their experience will be invaluable. Whether it is to help find the right words or tone, or settling nervous jitters, all of you will appreciate the JP’s calming presence.
In addition, having a pro present (but in the background) during the ceremony will alleviate unnecessary worries about the unexpected. The professional will know what to do if Uncle Joe has too much to drink, or that old flame swings by to try and woo you back. Managing these surprises – priceless.
Capturing your vision of your special day is what professional marriage officiants are trained to do. They elicit the most romantic/authentic/telling aspects of your relationship and can help tell your story in a memorable way. Still unsure? Check out the testimonials on findaJP.com. There you can search for officiants by location, read their profiles, see pictures and hear what other couples have to say about them.
- Understanding the difference between a legal marriage and a marriage ceremony
- FAQ listing state-by-state vow requirements
- Read Writing Your Own Vows: How-To Tips
- Another article, Writing a Ceremony with Meaning
- FindaJP’s Pinterest Board: Wedding Vows
Find your perfect JP at findaJP.com
Loretta Jay is the Managing Member of the Justice of the Peace Association. This is the membership organization for professional marriage officiants. All officiants’ profiles are searchable at findaJP.com, the place where Couples who Click can find their perfect JP.