When you want your ceremony to be conducted by a friend, someone who you feel knows you best and therefore will make your wedding ceremony feel even more intimate, you really need to consider who might do it best.
Of course, you are going to pick a friend who speaks well in public and has an engaging personality, but wait... there's more!
Here are other key characteristics you need in a person who will conduct your ceremony.
1. Someone who speaks in front of people quite often. They may shine at parties, but holding the attention of a room full of people is much more. This is not the time for them to find liquid courage leading up to that moment as conducting a ceremony requires keeping alert and being aware of the vibe in the room.
2. Someone who feels comfortable with being quiet. As much as people think that our role is to hold the spotlight, its actually even more imporant to know how to discreetly share that stage with the actual main attraction, the two of you. Someone who is overly bold, dramatic, attention-seeking can distract from the delicate mix of both funny, but also endearing moments of the ceremony.
And most importantly...
3. Someone with event planning experience. Are they familiar with all the steps you'll require of them in getting the ceremony space and guests prepared? Often Friends mistake their job as starting from the podium, but for truly wonderful ceremonies, there is always a lot more to it.
In all my years, I have never, ever seen the ceremony start on time when a Friend is Officiating. Even though I always arrive early, I try to arrive super early because Friends haven't managed the pre-ceremony set-up logistics for themselves and others.
For instance, if you make the start time 6:30pm your "exact time" and let them know, the Friend should start doing all the checks 30 minutes prior (checking that someone has the rings, checking the microphone, cues for the DJ, photographer's style and location needs, do they have your vows, who is doing a reading and where are they sitting, do they have the reading? etc)
And then, around 10 minutes prior - checking in with you to see you are all ready (flowers out of water so they don't drip on dresses, boutineers pinned to everyone, is the party in order of coming out, getting elders in the room to sit down, getting any people/parents out of conversation and ready to proceed if necessary, turning off bar service so everyone can get settled in and quieted down, if people are standing during the ceremony then creating an aisle/ceremony space, announcing all housekeeping (cellphones off, stay out of the aisle with your cameras, location of bathrooms, after ceremony directions, signing table set up, etc) and MORE.
A professional Officiant wears a lot of hats and does more than simply gets your paperwork signed and leads the ceremony. If you do choose to have a Friend Officiate, be kind to them and have the Officiant train them (or as I call it, do the walkthrough) with you. You will all have the best experience from this option.