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Old 09-16-2019, 11:38 AM
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Have you ever officiated at a wedding?


I have been asked to officiate at a good friend's wedding at the end of this month, due to the fact that she remembered that I had joined the Universal Life Church recently.
Has anyone here officiated at a wedding before? Tales and/or advice welcome.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:53 AM
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Around 50 years ago I was asked by a friend to fake officiate at his friends' wedding (people I didn't know), because they wanted their parents to believe they were married without actually going through a legal ceremony. I had no credentials nor authorization of any kind to conduct a wedding ceremony, but I looked like a serious young person who might indeed be a minister. They paid me a few bucks for the charade.

I looked on it as an acting job, and I think it was successful (in that it seemed to fool everyone who was meant to be fooled). I have no idea what ever happened with the relationship between those two folks, I believe they were moving away right after the "ceremony."
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:01 PM
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My son recently got married in Virginia. A friend was able to get a one-time license to officiate. He had to post a refundable bond to insure he did the paperwork and filed it.

In the service he was able to talk about the couple. The paperwork is the binding part.
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:08 PM
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I have officiated several. Work with your friends on what they want in the ceremony. Google can give you several examples of vows, orders of service etc.
If you aren't a regular church goer or not much of a public speaker, watch some youtube videos to get a feel for the "cadence" of the officiate....Too fast and no one will understand you; too slow and everyone will get bored or loose interest.
Once you have the script written out, go somewhere where you can be alone, or if you have someone that is willing to listen to you and give a good critique do that; practice saying the words out loud, time yourself when you do this. This will help you figure out how long the ceremony is going to be as well as help you with various pronunciations and timing.
Remember to look up at the couple and the crowd every now and then...keeping your nose in the script is disconcerting to a lot of people.
Remember to smile.
I like to write out the ceremony with directions on when to pause, where the bride groom should be, (looking at each other, holding hands etc), much like a script for a play.
I also print out the ceremony on nice paper (without the directions) and give it to the bride and groom as a keepsake.
Every wedding is different and doesn't have to follow any certain protocol, don't get worried about making it like other weddings you/they have been to.
And the best advice I can give, if you or anyone else make a mistake, act like you meant it to happen that way and carry on, no one has to know you skipped something or goofed.
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Old 09-16-2019, 02:25 PM
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I was a deputized clerk in a California county and among my responsibilities was to occasionally perform marriage ceremonies. I did it only a few times in my official capacity for generic couples and twice for friends at private ceremonies.

Emergency911 gives good advice about practice, measured speaking and smiling. It's a happy occasion and your demeanor should so reflect. Remember too that you are not the center of attention even though you are speaking, and your job is to make this momentous transition as comfortable and happy as you can for the couple.

Do follow through with completing/filing the papers as directed. It's your most important job.

If you are performing the ceremony in a traditional setting with lots of guests, don't forget to invite them to be seated after they have risen for the bride's walk down the aisle.
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:33 PM
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Here is a documentary clip of a well known wedding officiant to help you out.



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Old 09-16-2019, 06:27 PM
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I went to a wedding where the first-time-ever officiant talked for 45 minutes straight about love and marriage before ever getting to the vows. Actually, she read aloud the long, long, long document she'd typed up for 45 minutes. People were falling asleep.

Short and sweet can't be beat.
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Aspenglow View Post
Do follow through with completing/filing the papers as directed. It's your most important job.
A couple in Spain recently found out that the City's brand-new Secretary forgot to file their paperwork, six and a half years and two children ago. You could say they're understandably unhappy about the situation.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:08 AM
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I've officiated six marriages. Five of those marriages are still going strong, the sixth suffered a "'till death do us part" ending (the bride and groom were in their 80s and had terminal diagnoses at the time of their marriage).

I do not plan on ever doing another, but I've made that vow after each marriage I've solemized. It's stressful when done right. Dove releases can go wrong, though mine never have. I do not publicize my atheism, but I leave god out of my spiel, yet nobody seems to notice. I've had people tell me afterwards that my congregation is very lucky to have me.


ETA: Protip: at some point in the ceremony, step away from the mic and whisper encouragement to the bride and groom, letting them catch their breath and regroup. The crowd loves stuff like that.

Last edited by kayaker; 09-17-2019 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:09 AM
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I've done two weddings and a vow renewal. Definitely talk to the couple about what they want. My first was a couple that loved heavy metal music. Instead of a reading from the bible we had a reading from Metallica (nothing else matters). They loved it.
I find that ministers have a certain cadence to their voice which I tried to emulate.
Also, write it down and practice beforehand.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
A couple in Spain recently found out that the City's brand-new Secretary forgot to file their paperwork, six and a half years and two children ago. You could say they're understandably unhappy about the situation.
My dad and stepmom got married in 1985, and just a couple of years ago discovered that the county clerk had apparently misfiled their original marriage certificate and therefore couldn't issue certified copies. Luckily the office took their word that the photocopy they kept was a true copy of the original!
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:51 AM
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The great thing about the Universal Life Church is that they have free online templates for just about any type of wedding ceremony you can think of. I've print up a few my goddaughter and her beau can take a look at, we'll discuss any modifications they want made(she actually wants me to start with the "Mawwiage" bit from Princess Bride. Hubby-to-be is sitting on the fence on that one ), lay out the processional details and do a quick rehersal.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:09 AM
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The Apache Wedding Prayer, Indian Wedding Blessing, whatever title you give it is old fakelore but it is loved by wedding crowds. I've used it, it's easy to memorize.

Quote:
Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there are three lives before you: his life, her life and your life together.
Go now to your dwelling place to enter into your days together.
And may all your days be good and long upon the Earth.
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Old 09-17-2019, 05:25 PM
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I have, it’s a cool experience. Please note that in certain jurisdictions ULC ordination may not suffice according to the county clerk. They are wrong, but it is a hassle to sort out. Typically the ULC can send you proof that there is a congregation somewhere in the county, which gets around the bogus “on-line only doesn’t count” objection.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:47 PM
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I was asked to, for a former student's wedding, but as a lifelong Episcopalian I didn't want to become a member of the Our Lady of Temporary Internet Clerical Collars Church, or whatever, even for a day, so I regretfully declined.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:22 PM
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I officiated a wedding 8 years ago and it was easily one of the best days of my life (coming, as it did, on the heels of one of the worst days of my life). It was my honor and privilege to marry two bomb techs in the ceremony they wanted, their family's religious tendencies aside. I was elated, and I'm sure I talked too long b/c I loved every second of it. I'd love to do it again.
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
The Apache Wedding Prayer, Indian Wedding Blessing, whatever title you give it is old fakelore but it is loved by wedding crowds. I've used it, it's easy to memorize.
Fuck....I need to dust in here...

Very Nice, as old as I am I have never heard that before.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:16 PM
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No but I could. I’m an ordained Dudeist Priest.
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:22 PM
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Update: The wedding went well, I didn't screw it up too badly, and a fun time was had by all.
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Old 09-29-2019, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Update: The wedding went well, I didn't screw it up too badly, and a fun time was had by all.
Wonderful!! You may have noticed your own screw-ups but I guarantee no one will remember them past this weekend (unless they were salacious). A couple people forgot I even officiated a wedding they attended. We're basically important scenery and that's fine by me.
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