Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions
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Officiant Issues and Dangerous Idea

My fiance and I only had one minister in mind for our wedding. Unfortunately he will be gone the second half of June and therefore he cannot marry us. We really don't have anyone special and ordained who we would feel excited about marrying us. I don't really feel like hiring someone who doesn't even know us well. I was wondering if it would be weird if we eloped before the wedding date and had a exchange of vows and the reception on our set wedding date? 

We already have a deposit on our venue which can do both the ceremony and reception so we can't back out. This way, on our wedding day, a close friend can announce us and let us exchange our vows for our friends and family to see. Our budget is super strict right now and hiring a stranger doesn't seem worthwhile. So we would like to get married at the courthouse before the wedding and then celebrate on our designated wedding day. 

This idea really excites me because I just want to marry my soulmate, but I still want to please friends and family. I wouldn't mind forgoing the ceremony, but we have bridesmaids and groomsmen already. I feel like they would be upset if we didn't do something to honor them if we skipped the ceremony. So is a staged ceremony okay?

Re: Officiant Issues and Dangerous Idea

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    In my opinion I think that I would find an officiant to perform your ceremony on your wedding day. For 250 dollars or so you can have an officiant perform the most basic wedding ceremony, (pretty much what you would get at the courthouse), only you can actually talk with your officiant first thus giving him some personal information about you and your intended and building a bit of a repoire before your ceremony. I think down the road or even on your repeat of vows wedding day you would regret not having those people closest to you witness the actual day you became husband and wife. Especially if this idea originated just because you could not have who you know perform it. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

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    For us, it turned out that the reverend at our church -- whom I really wanted to marry us -- was going to be (is now) on sabbatical over the time of our wedding. While I was bummed, I asked him who he would recommend, and he had a friend -- a retired minister here in town -- whom he gave permission to perform the ceremony in the church in his absence. We met with the guy -- and certainly didn't have to use him -- but ended up really liking him. Even thought it wasn't our first choice, it worked out fine in the end.
    But if I were you, I wouldn't go to the trouble of having two ceremonies, certainly when the one you'll be having in front of friends and family will just be "fake" for their sake.
    And who would marry you when you eloped, anyway?
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    I don't understand what any of your poll choices actually mean.

    Why would you have two weddings? Why would you NEED two weddings? If your state allows a friend ordained online to marry you, then do that and have him/her perform the ceremony for the site and date you already booked.

    If not, ask your local board for recommendations on officiants you can hire. You may be surprised at how well you click with them. I've known people who said they hired officiants who moved everyone to tears at the ceremony (and they got to know them well during the preparation process), and people who say that they became friends with their officiant after the wedding.

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    I don't understand why you need two weddings either.

    But no, I don't think a staged ceremony is okay.
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    As a guest, I wouldn't see any point in attending a staged ceremony.  You're already married, so the ceremony wouldn't actually mean anything.

    If your state allows online ordinations and your paperwork can go through in time, great!  If not, hire someone.
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    Well, you couldn't really have a second wedding unless you get a divorce between the elopement and the fake wedding.  Once you elope, you're married.  And you get to do that once.

    Why can't you marry your "soulmate" with your family and friends watching?  You do know that you would have, should have paid your minister for performing your wedding, right?  So I'm not sure that I see the difference.

    PPs have given you good suggestions about finding an alternate officiant.  Listen to them.  But please don't think that 2 weddings is acceptable.  Because it's not a stage show where you do a matinee and an evening performance.

    Keep all that you had planned.  Just change the name of the officiant.
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
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    You could always get to know your officiant between now and then.

    I am getting married in the church where I received my first communion & was confirmed (I'm a Roman Catholic).  However, the priest who was there for all of that has since retired and I hardly know the new Father at all.  But I'm looking forward to getting to know him and building a relationship so that when the day arrives, it WILL be special and wonderful.

    Just something else to think about.  GL!
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    I don' tunderstand why the friend who would announce you at your fake wedding, couldn't just an online ordained and do the real thing...?
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    If you're excited about eloping first and then having the no-officiant ceremony with your family and friends, then do it that way.  Sure, it's unconventional, but I think as long as you and your fiance are happy, people will be happy for you.  You know your friends and family best, so you're the only one who can know what their reactions will be.  Ask your family or your bridesmaids for their opinions.  But in the end, it's your wedding, do what you want.

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    I'm sorry I didn't write the poll questions well enough. Sorry.
    Either way, I thought it was explained well. 

    We would go to the courthouse for the standard "I do's". Paying courthouse fees wouldn't cost as much as hiring an officiant around here. The ceremony we would have wouldn't be some play we put on. It would be where we exchange our personally written vows in front of our family and friends. Having our personally written vows said in front of everyone would mean a lot more to us having a friend up there. I didn't realize that it would be so offensive to everyone to save our most important vows for them. 

    I have thought about having a friend get ordained online but I haven't called a clerk about it just yet. I wanted a good back-up just in case they said I couldn't do that now. 

    Thanks to the few of you who responded kindly. I just wanted a little support and suggestions, but it sounds like a lot of you were putting me down. It was just an idea. Now I see why I should stay away from forums. 

    Thanks.
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    It sounds like your thought is to separate the legal and religious parts of getting married.  The legal stuff is just the courthouse or the license.  I'd consider exchanging vows in front of family to be a legitimate ceremony, even if you're already legally married.  It's not "fake," but if that part worries you, you could call it a commitment ceremony or a vow renewal or even just a reading of vows instead of a "wedding ceremony."  
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    I feel a staged ceremony would defeat the purpose of having one, and wouldn't be very special.  But if you don't have one, your family, WP, and you and FI might be disappointed.

    How about you find a minister or officiant now that you feel comfortable with, and get to know him a little.  Many require at least one counseling session before they agree to marry someone. 

    Many people don't really "know" the officiant that well, and still have meaningful, memorable ceremonies.
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    Agree with everyone else:  don't do a staged, fake ceremony.  it is disrespectful to your friends (wedding party!) and family.  I would understand it more if you said you could have the officiant you are close to do it.  But what is the point of doing it at the courthouse before hand?  Just to save a few bucks?  That's silly.  Just hire a JOP for like $200, or have a friend ordained to marry you. 
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    duckie1905duckie1905 member
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    edited March 2010
    Your courthouse wedding will be your REAL wedding regardless of who you say your heartfelt, written vows in front of.

    Fake weddings suck.  No other way to say it.  Either do the whole thing at the courthouse and call it a day or hire someone to marry you on the day you've booked with vendors.  It isn't right to invite your guests to attend a wedding if you are already married.

    Now, if you tell everyone what it is (a vow renewal and party) fine.  But then have it on your anniversary-not a few months after getting married.
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    I just don't understand why the "heartfelt vows" you want to say will somehow be better after you're already married.  Just find an officiant and have a wedding.  What you're proposing doesn't sound like a solution.  It sounds like an excuse.  And it sounds silly.

    You're making a far bigger deal out of this by trying to have a wedding but not calling it a wedding and then having a "heartfelt vow ceremony".  I just think you're way overthinking this whole thing.
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_officiant-issues-dangerous-idea?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:3f8677c5-89f2-4f16-a7e9-30db94abfd3dPost:b018466a-29b9-4821-a0ab-8f813fafe142">Re: Officiant Issues and Dangerous Idea</a>:
    [QUOTE]I just don't understand why the "heartfelt vows" you want to say will somehow be better after you're already married.  Just find an officiant and have a wedding.  What you're proposing doesn't sound like a solution.  It sounds like an excuse.  And it sounds silly. You're making a far bigger deal out of this by trying to have a wedding but not calling it a wedding and then having a "heartfelt vow ceremony".  I just think you're way overthinking this whole thing.
    Posted by trix1223[/QUOTE]

    I'm just going to "ditto" the ever-so-wise Trix. It's way easier than finding another way to say the exact same thing.

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    FI's uncle got ordained online to perform our ceremony, because FI was insistent on being married by someone close to us.  (I didn't really care.)  However, there is a metric assload of paperwork for him to do with the county and we're not sure it will go through in time.  If it doesn't, we'll hire someone as a co-officiant: FI's uncle will perform most of the ceremony, but the hired minister will sign the paperwork and say anything the state requires him to say.  We don't want to go that route, but it's our backup plan.

    YOU may see the legal part as just paperwork, and the exchange of vows as your true wedding.  But most people see the ceremony that legally binds you as your wedding, and if your friends and family are among them, you risk deeply offending them if you go the staged route.  And people don't really get over wedding stuff, so they'll probably still be talking in twenty years about how you tried to pull one over on everyone.
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    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
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    I had a friend do this...I didn't read her invitation very clearly and thought I was showing up for the wedding.  However they had what they called a blessing ceremony.  He was from Europe and his mom was dying.  They had to go to Europe to visit, but he would not have been able to come back if they were not married.  So, when they found out about his mom, the called her family and their pastor togheter and did a quiet ceremony one evening.  They then packed the dress, and had another ceremony in Europe for his mom to be a part of.  They already had the hall booked and everything for the day they had planned on getting married, so she put on the dress one more time, he put on the tux, and their pastor did a special blessing on them where they exchanged their vows one last time.  It gave them the reception they desired, the pictures, etc. 

    I know your situation is not exactly the same, but the point is, I think your friends and family should understand. 

    You can have a friend for family member run the blessing, but have your pastor be a part your actual event.  At one point I was ready to run around the world to have one pastor perform my ceremony...even though the guy would not have known him...now that pastor is performing communion at our ceremony, but the pastor we both know is doing the ceremony itself.
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