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The Wedding Ceremony Master Class for the Friend Officiant

Will you marry us, literally?

A friend has asked you to officiate their wedding, and you're honored and overjoyed. Then reality sets in. You've never officiated a ceremony. You want to create a cherished memory. You want to honor their commitment, but also make it fun. And of course, you wonder, "Is this even legal?"

Award-winning Celebrant, Alisa Tongg, will answer all of your questions and get you prepared to create magical memories for your friend or family member who has asked you to help them "tie the knot".

A three-part course:

1)   Making It Legal. Although online ordination is the legal tool for the lay officiant in the majority of states, there are a handful of states where a friend who has been ordained online actually puts their friends’ marriage in legal jeopardy. Celebrant Alisa Tongg’s Wedding Ceremony Master Class will equip Friend Officiants to be able to confidently use the phrase, ‘by the authority vested in me…’”

2)   Writing a Ceremony. Starting with what questions to ask the couple, Wedding Ceremony Master Class will take Friend Officiants through Celebrant Alisa Tongg’s tried and true process of creating a heartfelt, simple, meaningful and appropriate ceremony that will be about 20 minutes in length. 

3)   Performance-getting ready to shine. From what to wear, what’s in your hands, when a microphone is needed, an overview of the responsibilities of other wedding professionals the Friend Officiant will have to work alongside, when to collect the marriage license and a performance trick that will boost confidence right before the aisle, the final part of Wedding Ceremony Master Class will prepare Friend Officiants so they can deliver a memorable ceremony, for all the right reasons.

This 64-minute course consisting of 14 concise lesson videos will give you everything you need to craft a simple, genuine and memorable ceremony.

Alisa Tongg is an award-winning certified Life-Cycle Celebrant and ordained minister who has been creating and performing personal ceremonies for nearly a decade, with hundreds of five-star reviewed weddings. As a graduate of the Celebrant Foundation and Institute she studied and formally trained to become a ceremony expert for interfaith, intercultural and religiously unaffiliated couples as well as for blended families. Alisa Tongg is the first Certified Celebrant to be recognized as such in the New York Times Vows section, and she is leading the way, working together with lawmakers to update the marriage laws in Pennsylvania so that couples have a greater choice for a legally recognized personal wedding ceremony.

Why Friend Officiants?

A message from your Instructor:

“Two years ago, I started to be approached by wedding planners and other wedding professionals, asking if I would put together a ceremony ghost writing/ training/ coaching package for their clients who have asked a friend to officiate the wedding ceremony. I know the primary appeal of having a friend officiate is that personalization is such a strong factor for today’s couple. Couples want all the pieces of their wedding to be a reflection of who they are, what their story is, and what their hopes are for the future—authentically.

Having someone who loves them in the role of officiant is a natural draw for modern couples. I get it! The problem is that even the best, most put-together-public-speaking-loving-friend, is a lay person when it comes leading the process of creating ceremony flow and content. What ends up happening is the honored friend (or worse yet, the bride!) devotes tens of hours scouring the internet for sample ceremony scripts and cobbling together official-sounding language that is NOT an authentic representation of the couple’s personality and style. Lots of times, the friend (knowing the cobbled together script is not great) panics and backs out of the responsibility close to the event date, or shows up at the wedding unprepared for day-of considerations, causing chaos—hence the requests from a handful of wedding planners to create something to help this phenomenon.

I’ve created this online Wedding Ceremony Master Class to take Friend Officiants through my process of authoring and performing a simple, genuine, memorable and meaningful ceremony. Wedding Ceremony Master Class students will receive a tried and true questionnaire to help the couple and their Friend Officiant identify important sentiments that need to be included in the ceremony, a Starter Ceremony –a framework for the Friend Officiant to work in, a demystification of what legally needs to be said/done in the ceremony, and (my favorite part!) a coaching session to help prepare the Friend Officiant to knock it out of the park. With couples being more sophisticated today, expectations around ceremony are rapidly changing too.”

-- Alisa Tongg, Fairy God Celebrant