Help me officiate friends wedding
June 21, 2007 9:56 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations and creative ideas for being the officiant at your friends wedding?

My friend, whom I've known for 14 years, has asked me to officiate at her wedding in a few months. I am absolutely honored and want to do a fantastic job. They've left it up to me to create though they will have the final say. I need some suggestions based on the clues written below, as google hasn't provided me with what I want.

The couple
- are non religious though would probably consider themselves spiritual
- are of puerto rican, english, and german descent ( & a little scottish and welsh)
- want meaningful/unique, not like something you hear at every wedding
- are open to nontraditional vows
- would like audience participation if possible

I believe that part of the reason they want me to officiate is because my wedding has been the favorite ceremony they've been to. This is what they loved about it and may want to include, or want a spin off of some sort...

- Calling in the four directions, above, and below with what each direction represented while drumming
- The audience sang a song to us (4 short verses on back of the program)
- We acknowledged our ancestors and specifically gave reasons about what we appreciated about our parents
- Wrote our own vows
- Did a celtic hand fasting
- Asked everybody to take deep breaths

I'm looking for rec's for sites, books, vows, quotes, rituals, what you did, ideas, questions that may stimulate creative responses within them that would help me write something, etc.

Other details - There will be about 200 people, and I'll have a mic attached to me. It's outside.

Thank you, thank you!
posted by healthyliving to Human Relations (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite has message boards ("kvetch") with tips about good readings, nontraditional vows, ceremonies from different cultures, etc. Lots and lots and lots of discussion of this stuff.

if you just do a search on "wedding ceremony" you'll get lots of examples from ministers etc online, and you can cull things you like for the text of what you'll say.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:09 AM on June 22, 2007

Make sure it is about them.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:02 AM on June 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Something that worked extremely well when I officiated my friend's wedding was to interview (separately) the bride and groom (via email) about the relationship and to work those answers into the ceremony. I asked questions like "what was your first impression of X?" and "when did you first know that you were in love with X?". I also told them not to talk about their answers. The interviews gave me lots of good and heartfelt material for the ceremony.
posted by underwater at 6:50 AM on June 22, 2007

Yep, the Indiebride forums are a fantastic resource. You'll especially want to look at the Vows forum, and in particular the readings and vows repository threads.

One generic suggestion is something we did that was very well received: have a common thread throughout the ceremony. If you're going to be having a very non-traditional ceremony (which it sounds like), it can be a big help to all involved if you have some kind of overarching structure that the guests can follow. In, for example, a Catholic wedding, everybody knows the rules. They know where the readings go, how the vows will sound; the pace of the ceremony is very proscribed. Without that structure, people have a tendency to get confused. This is especially true if you have a big wedding with people of varying ages and degrees of traditionalism.

Our ceremony had five distinct sections. To allow the guests to follow along, we laid ten roses on the table, with an empty vase in the middle. At the end of each section, each of us put a rose into the vase. It was pretty, but more importantly the visual symbolism allowed people to see the ceremony rising to a climax.

You could do a million things to achieve this: sing a common refrain, drink from a glass of wine, some variant on a hand-fasting, maybe even something physical, like have the couple move toward each other step by step. Whatever.

(If you're just looking for as many ideas as possible, I'd be happy to share our entire ceremony with you - email's in profile. When I was constructing our ceremony I probably cribbed from dozens of people.)
posted by miagaille at 7:55 AM on June 22, 2007

I've participated in one friend-officiated wedding and been privy to 'behind-the-scenes' details of another. They were very different and both great. In both cases, the rehearsal was really helpful in making participants feel comfortable and less self-conscious. The best thing would be for you to run the rehearsal yourself, but it can be done by anyone who's not in the 'performance" or too close to it, and then they can be the smiling authority figure. Have a couple of ushers demonstrate their ushing style and technique. Have people walk and stand where they will actually need to walk and stand. Have the bride and groom speak out loud in their vow-taking positions. Invite questions, "no matter how stupid." You know -- don't gloss over anything because you assume people know what and how.
posted by wryly at 10:46 AM on June 22, 2007

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