I Now Pronounce You… Ordained
I Now Pronounce You… Ordained
Can I let you in on a little secret? I love watching wedding traditions change and evolve over time. I sometimes feel like I’m not supposed to admit that. Like, as a wedding photographer, I’m supposed to remain committed to the traditions of the past, hyping up the veil and adhering to traditional first looks.
But I’m a rebel. And I like to see brides and grooms doing their own thing!
Which is probably why I love the fact that more and more couples are selecting a close friend or family member to marry them, as opposed to a traditional judge or clergyman.
Don’t get me wrong, I love church weddings too. When there is meaning and belief seeped into a ceremony that I know the bride and groom are fully invested in, that speaks to who they are as a couple, and I am all about lifting up and celebrating that. It becomes that much more special when it is something that so clearly means so much to the bride and groom.
But not every couple has that shared commitment to faith, and absent that, there is something truly wonderful about watching them build a ceremony that means something to them.
A big part of that often boils down to who is performing the ceremony.
When it comes to this, I have seen everything. The old sorority sister who actually introduced the happy couple. The obnoxious (but hilarious) best friend, who managed to weave together a ceremony that was equal parts poignant and standup. Even the ex—who had long since moved on, and was now close friends with both members of the soon-to-be-wed pair.
Sure, you can always hire someone to preside over your wedding, but someone close to you getting ordained in order to perform that ceremony instead just creates a whole extra layer of special.
It makes the wedding more you.
So what does getting ordained entail? Surprisingly… not much. A quick Google search will bring up countless online services for making it official. Most charge a nominal fee and only require you to complete some paperwork online, maybe a quick and easy test.
This isn’t rocket science. Really, just about anyone can get ordained.
Granted, you should check your state laws to be sure (and know that some religious organizations forbid ordination—so if you are strong in your faith, you may want to check with your church to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules there). But in California—all that’s usually required is that the ordained minister be at least 18 years of age.
Give at least a month for your ordination to go through (though, most sites promise you will receive your certificate within 2 weeks) and then do some research on the state laws for legalizing a marriage (hint, a marriage license is definitely still required). But from there? It is all about designing a ceremony that suits the happy couple to be.
This can be as formal or informal as you like, though any major deviations from a standard ceremony should likely be discussed with the bride and groom. This is where new traditions can also be built, and where the couple can further express themselves as a couple. You can help them to do just that!
One final thing to keep in mind: as the ordained minister directing the ceremony, all eyes will be on you (and, of course, the bride and groom) once things get started. If you are someone who gets uncomfortable with public speaking, or anxious when you become the center of attention, finding ways to work past that anxiety before the wedding day arrives is probably a good idea.
Then again, you and the happy couple could always enjoy a shot together in the minutes leading up to the big event! A small dose of liquid courage may be all it takes to get you all in the right frame of mind for those “I do’s!”