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So you’re getting married, and you’re in the midst of some meticulous planning. You’ve solidified each detail of your wedding from the venue to your shoes, when suddenly, it dawns on you — you need an officiant. Oops. In all that reception planning, you forgot the most important event of the day, the ceremony. You and your partner are sans religious affiliations, but you’re not totally enthralled by Googling “wedding officiant” for your big day either. So what other non-religious wedding officiant options are out there?
The good news is that there are plenty of different types of officiants you can substitute for your traditional priest or rabbi. There are three important things to think about before deciding on your perfect officiant fit. First, what kind of ceremony are you planning on having? Something short and sweet? Or something based in spiritual or religious adjacent texts?
Next, how well do you want to know your officiant? Do you want a mentor figure to marry you, or are you looking to include a particular family friend in the occasion? Finally, how well do you want your officiant to know both your partner and you? If it’s important for both of you to know your officiant well, get on the same page before considering your options. And now, here are six more wedding officiant ideas.
1. A Teacher or Professor
Teachers and professors are the very first mentors we have in life, especially when we get to know them both in and outside the classroom. Did you and your sweetie meet in a college course taught by an eloquent professor? Reach out to them! Does your yoga teacher seem like the type who would be interested in officiating? This could be a great person to guide your ceremony.
2. A Parent or Family Member
If there’s an ordained minister of all faiths or even a judge in your family or your partner’s consider them for the job. First off, they’re already qualified. Second, they know you extremely well. Just beware of any hurt feelings from the other side of the family...
3. The Friend Who Set You Up
If you and your partner were set up by a friend, the sweetest idea is to ask them to officiate your wedding. If you’re looking for a longer ceremony with more readings, make sure your friend is comfortable with that first. If you’re keeping it short and sweet, let your friend know that getting ordained online takes minutes!
4. Your Famous Friend
Oh, you have a friend who is an actor? Or even a local news anchor? Ask this person to help you out on your big day! They’re likely comfortable in front of a crowd, and depending on how famous they are, your guests will enjoy it too.
5. A Guru
If you have a guru or spiritual leader, whether that’s a Buddhist or Hindu guru or a meditation teacher, reach out to see if they would be open to officiating a non-religious ceremony. You can also research local ashrams to connect with spiritual leaders as well.
6. A Religious Scholar
A Chair of Religion at a university (or any professor that’s well versed in many different religions) can help you craft a more traditional ceremony, while still incorporating many different religious schools of thought. This is ideal if your and your partner come from different religious backgrounds, and want to acknowledge those both of those religions for your families.
Written by: Kimmy Foskett