A Quick Little Guide to Officiating Your Friend’s Wedding
May I recommend a good life rule? If Joey Tribbiani can do it, you can do it.
Well, at least when it comes to officiating your friend’s wedding. Once a sacred role left mostly up to judicial officers, priests, and rabbis, now it seems that any Tom, Dick, or Jonah can become ordained and officiate weddings. Indeed, Jonah Hill officiated Adam Levine’s wedding last weekend in Cabo.
He’s not the first celeb to add officiant to his CV—stars like Conan O’Brien, Lady Gaga, and Jason Segel have gotten in on the action. Even Tori Spelling has had the honor.
So since everyone seems to be doing it, and since weddings these days have loosened up (thankfully), maybe we should take a quick look at what to do if your friend asks you to officiate a wedding.
1. Make sure it is legal and legit
Turns out that not only do states vary on who can and cannot perform marriage ceremonies, but individual municipalities within the state have a say as well. So call the registrar in the township where the wedding is taking place and find out what you need to do to make it legal. Here’s a handy little website that lists all of the state’s different policies and rules.
2. Do your homework
Figure out who is applying for the marriage license, making sure that you take into consideration waiting periods and expiration dates so that you don’t run into any trouble. Fill that puppy out properly and fully (and then make sure to bring it with you to the ceremony!) Speaking of paperwork, you might want to start thinking of what you will be holding when you read at the ceremony, and the logistics of a pulpit, microphone, binder, etc.
3. Make sure you understand what the couple wants
This isn’t just a glorified maid of honor speech, this is a big deal. Sit down with the couple you are marrying and hash out what they want including the tone and vibe they’re going for. You should also ask what they absolutely do not want. Is there a basic outline you can go off of and then personalize it? Certain religious traditions that must be included? Apparently Jonah Hill’s ceremony was lighthearted and offbeat, with moments of sweetness and seriousness. Claaaasic Jonah, right? Once you’ve figured out who is writing the ceremony, or if you are collaborating on it, then set a deadline so that everyone can sign off on it. This will ensure you have time to PRACTICE.
4. Don’t forget the rehearsal
Speaking of practice, don’t forget that the rehearsal is often run by the officiant, so discuss that with your soon-to-be-wedded pals. Will a wedding planner be leading everything or are you in charge? Have your ceremony plan down pat so you can help people know what they need to do and when. (Overwhelmed yet? good because this is a big deal.)
In the end, there isn’t anything more humbling and touching than being asked to solemnize the marriages of people who you love, so think of what an incredible memory this will make for everyone involved (unless you don’t do your homework and blow it).
Just kidding! But seriously. We can’t all be Jonah Hill.