Who is Our Officiant?!

So lately, people ask me, “How is the wedding planning going?” and I always reply, “Oh really good, we got all the big stuff done.” Except, then I have this little panic attack, and start to hyperventilate a little because I realize we DO NOT have everything BIG done. We have this teensy little issue of um…not having anyone to marry us. Ya know, minor detail right?

Here's the scoop, I grew up in a family that was very involved in the Presbyterian Church. I'm sure my minister would marry us, however, since we are getting married 3 hours away from my church, logistically it's not so swell. Getting to our church for counseling sessions and such would just be nearly impossible. Plus, I do not want my minister and his wife to feel obligated to make a three hour trip and probably stay over night if it is not feasible for them. The other minister that I grew up with in my church is rather old and not in the best of health, so I know its pretty much impossible for him to come even as a guest, let alone as an officiant.

And now you're thinking, what about that future husband of yours? Yes, well, Ryan grew up in the Catholic church and is not very involved with his church. Add to it that we will not be getting married in a church (of any denomination because our wedding is all at one “event space”), and it sort of unnerves me to go through any sort of counseling with a priest when I am not going to be worshiping in his church in the future. (*Disclaimer: I mean no offense to anyone, I'm just stating OUR situation!). We also have not found a church to join where we live now, and I also kind of don't want to get attached to one church when we are probably not going to live here after the wedding.

And then everyone says, “OH Just have someone you're friends with get ordained!” OH YES wonderful idea, unless you live in OHIO. Ohio apparently really cares about the people bringing together marriages because you are required to either be ordained by a legit church, be the mayor of the city where the wedding takes place, or be a judge or the probate judge of the county where the wedding takes place.

We do not know anyone else that is ordained. We know nothing of the mayor of the city where we are getting married, nor whether he would even consider doing it. I'm a lawyer, which has potential to cause conflicts with most judges. I wanted to write one of the justices of the Ohio Supreme Court to see if they would consider it, because I saw in one of the Ohio bridal magazines that one of the Justices had officiated at a wedding. However, I abandoned the idea because I have an appearance filed in a case currently under review by the Ohio Supreme Court. I could call the ethics hotline I guess and figure out if its really an issue, but we often file support briefs in Supreme Court cases and since there are only three lawyers in my office, I have to be able to sign onto them.

Then we got this option of a county judge. But, the same issue arises should I ever need to make an appearance in his courtroom. Would he have to recuse? Would I have to be cordoned off the case because this man for one day, let me repeat after him with some really important words? Maybe I am being overly cautious about all of this because I am a new attorney, but I do not want to take any chances people!! I'd rather just avoid the whole issue.

I also heard that a dean at my former law school is ordained, and Ryan is pushing for me to ask him. I had a good relationship with this administrator – I did not work with him a lot but I met with him on several occasions for different things and seemed to have a good rapport with him. I guess its a possibility still but it just seems STRANGE to me. Like, “Hey, so ya, I was a student and… I hear your a minister.. and I'm in this pickle of needing a minister so…how bout it?” I KNOW the worst thing he could do would be to say no, but it still just seems a little strange to me!!

We could hire an officiant too, but the ones I have seen around Columbus cost like $200 and I just don't feel very comfortable with that for some reason….. maybe I'm just cheap though?

Last, we have an option of going to the Justice of the Peace (JOP) the day before or something and having a short and quick civil ceremony, with someone that is not ordained but whom we know and love, reading the ceremony the next day at our actual wedding. We've thought about this for awhile. Two of my bridesmaids have fathers that are elders in my church and one was my Sunday School teacher for years. I really feel they would do a wonderful job and they are like second fathers to me, so it would be very meaningful.

BUT I also have this fear that by going the JOP route, I would feel like it was just all..anti-climatic.

One part of me says, that for me, the wedding is when I declare before my family and the Lord that I am committed to this one man. The religious aspect is important to me, and although I would prefer a minister, these two guys I have in mind are definitely men of God, even if they didn't go to a seminary to have it declared so. I also have a thought that maybe some of the anxiety and pressure will be off, becuase HEY we are LEGALLY already married, no worries about signing a license or w/e. On the other hand, I fear that … I don't know… the excitement and waiting for the “…and I know pronounce you husband and wife” might be missing or that it will feel like just we're just going through a play or something…

Bless the dear heart of a featured Bride on Snippet and Ink who did the same thing, check it out here: http://www.snippetandink.com (also, are those pictures NOT gorgeous!!). After I commented on the post that I had thought about the same thing, a fellow reader was sweet enough to email me that she had gone through with a courthouse ceremony beforehand, and it had actually turned out to be something very intimate and special and there was still the same excitement and anticipation at their real ceremony.

I'm still trying to decide.. I have a little bit of time but not much since we are past the 6 month mark now. Did you have issues with finding an officiant or do the whole JOP ceremony w/ a non-officiant at the actual wedding?


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