Who should perform your wedding?

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You may be tempted to have your best friend log onto the Universal Life Church and become a “minister” and officiate at your wedding. After all, marriage is just a convention, right? After all, the ceremony is just something you have to do to satisfy the law; the party is what everyone is looking forward to.

I must tell you that logic has several flaws. If you look at most budgets the officiant’s salary is usually less than ten per cent of the cost of the meal. It is much less than a good wedding planner and is often less than the flowers alone. It is a good value.

If you are having a faith specific ceremony you will want to have appropriate clergy. Let’s face it, marriage is a sacrament and a holy act. While you may share movies and sports and a love of music with your best friend, it is the Priest, Minister, Rabbi, Imam or other Officiant, who represents your faith (or faiths) and who can adequately bring the proper air of dignity, respect and your traditions to such an important moment of holiness. Of course you want a little humor and you surely want your ceremony personalized, which is why you will want to interview several officiants to find someone with whom you can mesh and have a good match.

A professional officiant has done this before. Unlike your good friend, he/she will not freeze up or distract your ceremony by his/her desire to be clever and meaningful. A professional knows where the lines of good taste are and will respect all of your wishes for your big day.

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A member of the clergy can offer you counseling as part of his/her professional services. Often at no extra cost, your clergy can discuss with you the growing rise in divorces and how you two can avoid becoming a statistic, the special challenges of interfaith marriages, blending of families from re-marriage and a host of other complicated and important topics. A member of the clergy belongs to professional organizations which not only give him/her credibility, but requires them to abide by Codes of Conduct and Ethics, which your best friend may not have to. You are in good hands with a professional wedding officiant.

More Info about the author: Rabbi Arthur Rosenburg