Can you have Multiple Officiants for One Wedding?

Can you have Multiple Officiants for One Wedding?

Are you the type of person who takes an hour sampling flavors at the ice cream shop? If you have a hard time choosing between good things, deciding on one officiant to lead your wedding ceremony can become an arduous, nail-biting task. What if you have more than one ordained close friend? What if both you and your fiancé want to be married by your hometown pastors? What if you want to include elements of your religion and your fiancé’s religion? Luckily, you don’t have to choose between them.

First, make sure your religious tradition allows multiple officiants and will recognize your marriage. Fortunately, many traditions are flexible in this regard, and if you discuss your ideas with the people you want to lead your wedding, chances are high that they’ll agree. At that point, all that’s left is deciding who does what.

Ordained Friends

In the case of ordained friends, the first step is divvying the ceremony into appropriate parts. If there are certain aspects of each officiant that you especially love, try to match each friend with an appropriate part of the ceremony. For example, if one person introduced you and your intended, perhaps he should be the one to start the ceremony. If one friend has an artistic streak, that person might be the best choice to lead the sand ceremony.

Try to match spiritual friends with appropriate spiritual segments, and leave the secular parts of the ceremony to the secular friends. After all, the point of sharing the ceremony among several officiants is to bring all of their points of view into one unified experience–not to make anyone feel uncomfortable.

Don’t just assign officiants to different sections of your ceremony without consulting with them. Share your thoughts with each friend and take advantage of their experiences and different points of view. Maybe you’d like to each be led in your vows by the officiant who knows you best, and then be joined together by both officiants in unison. Whatever ideas surface as a result of talking with your officiants, entertain them as possibilities for a customized ceremony. 

Interfaith Weddings

Since you’ll be collaborating on an important project (your wedding!), the first step is meeting with your fiancé and your officiants in the same room. Once you establish everyone’s comfort levels and areas of enthusiasm, it’s time to decide who will lead what part of the ceremony. If holding two ceremonies, one after the other, seems a little awkward to you, brainstorm ways of combining the two traditions into one ceremony. 

One popular method of combining traditions is to alternate ceremony segments between officiants. Allow the officiants to discuss the meaning behind the rituals you want to include, so you can make sure that the ceremony flows smoothly from concept to concept. 

When Officiants Clash

What happens when officiants clash? Say you have one officiant who is very religious and one who is adamantly against religion. You may find yourself caught in an uncomfortable middle ground between pleasing both friends. The bottom line, however, is that you want to include multiple officiants because they all mean something special to you. Try to remind them that you want them as a part of your ceremony because you respect and value their presence in your lives. 

If one officiant has a problem with part of your ceremony that she is not performing, she has two choices: she can make her peace with it, or she can gracefully back out of her officiant role. Your most important job, as the couple getting married, is to try to communicate what type of ceremony you want as clearly and as early as possible. That way, you avoid misunderstandings down the road.

The most important idea to emphasize, as a couple requesting that multiple officiants preside over your marriage ceremony, is that you treasure the qualities each one brings too much to give one up. Don’t try to force a combination that doesn’t flow naturally. Instead, put emphasis on how much the togetherness and unity means to you. As your close friends or spiritual leaders, officiants are there to help you achieve a ceremony that’s brimming with love, commitment, and meaning.