Question: Hi there, Julie! My fiancé and I are getting married next summer in a rather casual backyard wedding. We both have pretty large families and a whole bunch of friends, but not a whole bunch of money, so we decided to get married in a backyard and have a big old barbecue reception. I’m describing the style of the wedding because we want to ask one of our closest friends to marry us and he is willing to become an ordained minister online to do so. My mother is flipping out and thinks this is highly inappropriate and that our marriage won’t be “real.” I have several friends who have been married by friends and I think it’s such a great personal touch. Given our casual wedding and that it isn’t in a big church or anything, I think going this route is great. Julie, how do I convince my mother? Thanks, Denise
Answer: Dear Denise, Your wedding sounds like it will be quite a fun party and will be just what you and your fiancé want. I think that’s great. Weddings, even casual ones, cost so much and they should be just what the couple desires. I’m certainly not going to tell you NOT to have your friend marry you; you’re right, a lot of people do that these days. I will tell you, however, that your mother’s concerns are actually valid in some instances. In several states and in many counties in America, people are not recognized if they are ordained online for the sole purpose of marrying people. Marriages in these areas would therefore be invalid and could cause a problem in the case of divorce, death or bankruptcy. Before you have your friend marry you, do careful research into what qualifies someone to be considered an ordained minister in your area.