How to Officiate a Friend's Wedding
By Shaun Menary Photography

How To Officiate Weddings – Tips on Having a Friend Officiate Your Wedding

On a lark, Rebecca Falkowski asked a world-renowned scientist to officiate her wedding. Here’s what happened.

As Rebecca Falkowski and Leah Weis planned their McKinney wedding, they knew they wanted the ceremony to be personal and purposeful. The brides considered traditional ceremony scripts and pondered how to create emotionally meaningful vows absent of religious overtones. “As far as Texas goes, being gay, vegan, and nonreligious is about as far from traditional as you can get,” says Weis. “We embraced the opportunity to have a nontraditional wedding because it allowed us the freedom to make our own rules.”

The two share an interest in science and decided to craft a ceremony based around scientific principles. Once they created a script outline, they started thinking about who they’d ask to officiate their wedding. On a whim, Falkowski tweeted her favorite scientist, world-renowned theoretical physicist Dr. Lawrence Krauss, whose writing she greatly admires: “Why can’t we just have @LKrauss1 officiate our wedding? Like the physicist’s eulogy, but for marriage. How badass would that be?”

Much to Falkowski and Weis’s surprise, Krauss tweeted back, kicking off a delightfully unexpected friendship between the brides and the scientist. He agreed to officiate, and the pair flew him to Texas for the ceremony at McKinney’s Mitas Hill Winery. The night before the wedding, they met in person and fleshed out their ceremony script with Krauss.

The tweet that started it all.

An excerpt: We are all intimately connected, to almost every thing that has ever lived. The atoms in my body may have once been part of yours. These cosmic connections make the petty xenophobia of those that fear others because of their race, or creed, or religion, or lack thereof, seem infantile. These connections reinforce what this ceremony is all about. Marriage involves a special connection between two people that makes the experience of each of their lives richer. That connection makes the world a more wondrous place.

The brides were—and remain—over the moon about their wedding ceremony. For his part, Krauss felt honored to take part. “I had no idea how moving it would be for me to craft a ceremony specific to Leah and Rebecca’s history and desires,” he says. “It was a rare privilege, and I’ll frankly always remember it.”

How to Officiate a Friend's Wedding
Leah Weis (left) and Rebecca Falkowski share a jubilant selfie with their dream officiant, Dr. Lawrence Krauss. By Shaun Menary Photography
How to Have a Friend or Relative Officiate Your Wedding
  1. CHOOSE A CALM SPEAKER Go with someone you trust and whose support you value, but be sure she’s at ease with public speaking and can, ideally, help with the script-writing process.
  2. GET ORDAINED Thanks to online ministry groups like Universal Life Church, becoming an ordained minister takes just minutes—and the process is free.
  3. SIGN HERE Head to your local courthouse to apply, pay for, and obtain a license. Your officiant will sign it on your wedding day and mail it back to the county.

Christy Matthews, Rebecca and Leah’s wedding planner, operates Christy Matthews Events in Dallas–Fort Worth and hosts The Big Wedding Planning podcast.

Also be sure to check out our guide to gay-friendly wedding officiants in Texas.

Featured image: Shaun Menary Photography