What Should I Wear to Officiate a Wedding?

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My brother and his fiancée have asked me to officiate their wedding, which will be a nonreligious ceremony near the beach in August. I want to convey strength and calm, but I don’t want to detract from the bride and groom since I’ll be in all of their photos. Can you please advise me on what to wear?

First of all, congratulations on being asked to officiate for your brother and his fiancée. It is truly an honor. Your main goal should be to honor the couple and their desires, no matter how unconventional they may be. For example, Sean Parker asked Sir Ian McKellen to officiate at his “Lord of the Rings” themed wedding, dressed as Gandalf, but Sir Ian turned him down because they were not friends. In your case, you should prioritize the wishes of the wedding couple.

When it comes to deciding what to wear, it is important to understand the couple’s preferences. Consider the location and time of the ceremony, dress code for guests, any relevant color or theme, and the attire of the wedding party. All of these factors matter. You wouldn’t wear the same outfit to officiate at a beach wedding as you would at a country club or backyard wedding. Evening weddings also call for different attire than lunchtime weddings. Ideally, your outfit should harmonize with the bridesmaids and groomsmen, without taking attention away from the couple, while still looking appropriately official.

It’s also crucial to be comfortable standing for an extended period of time without fidgeting or becoming drenched in sweat. You should be able to raise your arms or engage in any necessary gestures. Additionally, keep in mind that you will be front and center in the ceremony and part of the memory books. No pressure!

The default option is a dark suit, which is serious and ministerial. However, if the couple is requesting a nontraditional officiant, they may want a more personal touch. I asked Charanna Alexander, the weddings editor for The New York Times, for her suggestions. She recommends a classic jumpsuit or an A-line midi-dress. Both options are easy to wear and can be dressed up or down. Navy is a good color choice, and it’s best to avoid whites or grays that can be seen as bridal. Large prints and jangly jewelry can also be distracting, unless there is a specific reason for their inclusion, like in Maya Rudolph’s case when she officiated her cousin’s Miami wedding.

For shoes, it’s wise to choose wedges, flats, or platforms that provide support. Finally, consult with the couple and get their approval on your outfit choices. You don’t want to surprise them with an inappropriate or unexpected outfit on their special day.

In conclusion, prioritize the couple’s wishes when deciding what to wear as their wedding officiant. Strive to convey strength and calm without detracting from the bride and groom. Choose an outfit that harmonizes with the wedding party, is comfortable to wear, and looks appropriately official. Finally, get the couple’s approval to avoid any surprises or misunderstandings.

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