© 2019 Frank Harlan | Seattle, Washington

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Perform Your Friend's Wedding

“The wedding ceremony should be the most memorable part of any couple's wedding day celebration.”

Most resources available online are articles on “How to Perform Your Friend’s Wedding”, almost all of them start by telling you the first thing you need to do is get ordained online -- Easy to do but not valid in all 50 states. Then they lay out the next steps like it will be a breeze; Organize and write the ceremony with your friends, rehearse the ceremony with everyone involved, and finally perform the ceremony for your friends and their guests, then sign legal documents and return to the proper county administration. If you think about it for a moment, every stage of this plan can be daunting.

“Many professional and experienced wedding officiants agree that if asked to perform a friend’s wedding the first thing you should do is convince them to hire a pro.”

As a certified Humanist Celebrant and Secular Officiant, Frank Harlan has performed hundreds of non-religious wedding ceremonies for straight and LGBTQ couples. And the one thing that is very clear -- Although each includes a list of involved participants and a defined sequence of elements, no two weddings will ever be the same.

 

With his experience Frank can guide you through the process  and his coaching will give you the confidence you’ll need to stand with your friends on their wedding day and perform their wedding ceremony.

Q: Do I need to get Ordained to perform my friend’s wedding?

A: Yes. And, No. 
If you are only performing the ceremony, no. Anyone can perform a wedding ceremony. However, your actions will not make it legal. And, you may not sign off on any legal documents.

Bottom line is this, in almost every state, a judge or any Ordained Clergy Person (ECP) – minister, priest, rabbi, celebrant is required to sign off on State documents to make a marriage legally binding. So, let me ask, how important is it that you (the friend) sign the legal documents?

In Canada, Germany and other countries. Getting married is a civil act performed in an office by a magistrate or marriage commissioner. Then a more formal wedding is hosted for family and friends.

 

By following this concept, it means that at any time prior to the scheduled wedding day, a simple 5-minute legally binding civil ceremony may be completed in private with the couple and two witnesses. Legal docs are signed and submitted to the appropriate county auditor.

Now, as the friend and “official” Officiant of the couple’s “formal” ceremony, you will be able to perform the ceremony and sign the fancy souvenir Marriage Certificate after the ceremony.

Q: Do I need to get Ordained to perform my friend’s wedding?

A: Yes. No. Maybe.
If you are only performing the ceremony, no. Anyone can perform a wedding ceremony. However, your actions will not make it legal. And, you may not sign off on any legal documents.

In almost every state, a judge or any Ordained Clergy Person (ECP) – minister, priest, rabbi, celebrant is required to sign off on State documents to make a marriage legally binding. So, let me ask, how important is it that you (the friend) sign the legal documents?

In Canada, Germany and other countries. Getting married is a civil act performed by a judge, magistrate or marriage commissioner. Taking his cue from these systems, at any time prior to the scheduled wedding day, a simple 5-minute legally binding civil ceremony is completed in private with the couple and two witnesses. Legal docs are signed and submitted to the appropriate county auditor.

Now, as the friend and “official” Officiant of the couple’s “formal” ceremony, you will be able to perform the ceremony and sign the fancy souvenir Marriage Certificate after the ceremony.

Q: Will working with Frank to Perform Your Friend’s Wedding cost less than hiring a professional Officiant?

A: Probably not. This offering wasn’t created to be a discounted service. The Perform Your Friend’s Wedding Program was created to take the pressure off of the friend or relative who a couple has asked to be the person to preside over their wedding. If that was you and you need help. This is a good place to start. 

Q: What is the process for working with Frank to craft and  prepare me to Perform Your Friend's Wedding Ceremony?

A: If this is about your wedding, chances are you have never been married and your friend has, most likely, never performed a wedding so there is a lot to talk about. It all begins with Frank meeting the couple and their friend, followed by a series of simple Q&A assignments that will define the structure and content of the ceremony’s script. After that, Frank will meet with your friend to talk and organize the various elements and write the narrative of the ceremony. Frank, Friend and Couple meet for final edit, a ceremony rehearsed.

 

Q: How long will the ceremony last?

A: The ceremony will be roughly 15-30 minutes depending on the various elements a couple may want to include i.e. Unity Rituals, Readings, Processional, number of Attendants participating, etc.