First Nation Church

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Tag: marriage ceremony

Sage Advice For The First-Time Wedding Officiant

We received an inquiry this week from a minister who was getting ready to perform her very first marriage ceremony this coming weekend.

Getting asked to perform your first wedding progresses very quickly from “Sure, I’ll do it!” to “Yipes, what do I actually do?”

A wedding ceremony is a beautiful but complex thing. As the designated Officiant, you may not have realized it before, but you’re in charge. It’s the bridal couple’s show, but you’re guiding them through the ceremony. Once you arrive at the altar (or the other designated spot where the vows will be spoken) you’re running things.

What things? Every thing. You’re essentially hosting and narrating the program — you are literally the master of ceremonies! Speak in a voice that everyone can hear, even those in the back row — and especially great grandma in the second row. She doesn’t want to miss a word!

The bridal couple will be following your lead, so make sure that every “repeat after me” is followed by short and simple vows for each of them to repeat. Test it out on yourself, because if you can’t remember more than four or five tongue-twisting words to repeat (with your nerves frayed, and a big audience of family and friends staring at you) neither will the couple!

But that’s not everything

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Can A Ship Captain Perform A Marriage Ceremony?

There are certain questions we receive day in and day out, generally about whether a ceremonial minister who lives in one state (let’s say Texas) can legally perform a wedding in another state (let’s say Hawaii*), but one that pops up occasionally is also one that can be quite perplexing.

So … can a ship’s captain perform a marriage ceremony?

The simple answer is yes, as long as he or she is legally ordained by a church or religious organization. Earning the position of ship’s captain does not automatically give you the right and responsibility to serve as a wedding minister.

Can a ship captain perform marriage ceremonies

The Skipper may be permitted to perform your marriage ceremony on the Minnow. Gilligan? Not so much.

The more complicated answer is maybe, depending on where the ceremony is taking place.

When a wedding ceremony takes place on dry land, the law that takes precedent is that of the country, state or territory that you are standing on. If you’re in Iowa, then Iowa’s marriage laws are in full effect; the local county clerk in Iowa must issue the marriage license, the marriage license must be used (solemnized) within Iowa’s state boundaries, and it must be filed with that same county clerk to be legal and valid. Want to take your Iowa marriage license to Wichita, Kansas, and have your ceremony there? Can’t do it. Not legal.

Meanwhile, back on the boat: let’s say we’re sailing from Bermuda to the Bahamas (come on, pretty mama) and you’ve decided to tie the knot. Cool your jets. It isn’t that simple. Some cruise lines, such as Cunard, do have wedding packages that include a shipboard ceremony. Check with the cruise company or your travel agent (yes, there are still travel agents) for information.

If you’re off the coast of Maine, sailing in the Florida Keys, island hopping in Hawaii or on a bay cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge, and if the captain is legally ordained — and you have a valid locally-issued marriage license — then it’s full steam ahead.

But if you’re taking a three-hour tour out on the high seas, chances are that the Skipper isn’t going to be able to help you get hitched, even if he’s an ordained minister. (Gilligan can’t do it, either, so don’t bother asking.)

Need additional information specific to your shipboard ceremony situation? Tell us where you plan to get married, and we’ll fill in the details for you.

Are you a ship’s captain? Do you want to perform shipboard marriage ceremonies? The process is quick, simple and affordable. Click here to become legally ordained right now! (That link works for land-lubbers, too.)

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* — The answer is actually yes! Hawaii does not restrict non-resident officiants from performing ceremonies anywhere in the state, as long as you are legally ordained and have registered in advance with the Department of Health in Honolulu. It’s a fairly fast and simple process! To find out more, please visit our Hawaii information page.

Making Beautiful Music … and Marriages, Too

We’ve heard and read countless stories over the years about wedding ministers that failed to show up for the ceremony. Not just late, but not at all!

For a bridal couple that has gone through months and months of planning for their perfect ceremony — having chosen the venue, the wedding dress, written their vows — and then not have the officiant show up to perform the ceremony can be tragic.

It’s always good to have a back-up plan in place, just in case. Of course, if the wedding is taking place at a church or chapel, then there is usually an assistant pastor or minister on hand to step in.

However, with more and more ceremonies taking place outside of churches these days, it takes some creativity to build a back-up plan. Remember, nearly every jurisdiction allows you to designate your officiant, whether it’s your favorite uncle, a close family friend or your old high school volleyball coach!

Become ordained as a wedding minister

Can your wedding DJ perform your marriage ceremony? Sure. And so could the wedding singer, if he’s ordained.

A great back-up plan is one that’s fairly obvious, but also often overlooked: your disc jockey. Your wedding DJ is a trained professional who probably has years and years of experience as a master of ceremonies, and has no problem getting up in front of an audience.

In addition to having the perfect mix of music to get your guests up and dancing, many wedding DJs are also ordained to serve as ceremonial ministers, and many of them have performed more marriage ceremonies than some ministers have!

It’s always a smart idea to have a back-up plan — hopefully, you won’t need anyone to step in to perform the ceremony, but now you have a potential pinch-hitter just in case!

By the way, if you are a wedding disc jockey and you aren’t legally ordained to perform marriage ceremonies, the process is quick, easy and affordable. Begin the ordination process right now!

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