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Friend Officiants: The Change in Wedding Ceremonies


Through the majority of the history of weddings, the ceremony was set to be a religious affair lead by a pastor, full of prayer and religious symbols; however, in recent years, ceremonies have begun to take a different route. More couples are making ceremonies more individualized, flexible, and changing the societal norms that surround weddings. It is becoming more common to see weddings lead by family or friends of the couple, helping to make the ceremony more of a public statement to who they are as a couple since its being lead by someone who knows both of them well.

So what is the driving force behind couples using friends as officiants for their weddings? Take a look at Alex Lynn and her fiancé Alex Tignor. Instead of a pastor, they asked their friend, who is also named Alex, to be their officiant.

“To have someone so important to us be the person who pronounces us husband and wife will make our ceremony all the more special and meaningful.” -Alex Lynn
 
For Alex and her fiancé, as well as many other couples, having someone who knows you well makes the ceremony better, more personal, and more intimate. Friends are more likely to have stories about the couple, both as individuals and together, and can have guests more involved. Couples are also more likely to write their own vows rather than use the usual ones that are scripted.
 
Other couples find that using a friend takes away more of the traditional aspects, including the religious ones. Today, the number of American adults not affiliated with organized religion is on the rise, and young adults from newer generations are less likely to go to church compared to older adults. Most Americans still believe in a higher power, it just may not be in the same sense as organized religions. This is the case for Kayla Tillman and her soon-to-be husband, Austin Coleman.
 
“For us, we are not a very religious couple, so we did not feel that using a pastor for our ceremony was right.” -Kayla Tillman
 
Kayla also mentioned that this is the reason they are not having a church wedding, but because of this they are adding another very personal touch to their wedding by getting married on her grandparents’ land, the land Kayla grew up on.
 
With the growing trend of sustainability and intimacy in couples getting married, it is no surprise that they are “deinstitutionalizing” marriage and finding ways to modernize the practice of wedding ceremonies.
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