In February of 2017 I got ordained online by the Universal Life Church so that I could marry my best friend from my childhood, Andie, to her sweet husband Matthew. It's almost laughable how easy it is to do. When I think of weddings I assume that they have to be performed by some kind of religious person or someone who had to study long and hard about this type of topic. But what if you're not super religious and want your ceremony to be more intimate, among your closest family and friends? How do you seek out someone to perform that? Maybe that's a dumb question. But we just decided to solve the problem ourselves.
Becoming ordained and officiating a wedding was never even on my bucket list. But sometimes opportunities present themselves and jumping at them becomes worthwhile. Why not help out a dear friend when they ask? It's amazing that a regular old Joe like me can be able to officiate a wedding, especially when it's someone I've been close with for years. Andie and Matthew didn't want to just have "someone" marry them, they wanted that person to actually know them. It gives a really special meaning to any wedding when the person officiating has known the couple for a long time and has a special bond.
Andie and her fiance Matthew had just had their first baby boy named Mason that January, just a month before they decided on a date to get married. I knew what it was like to have a baby before the wedding. My own husband and I eloped to Hawaii with our 8 month old daughter, pregnant with our second. Big, fancy weddings are some people's cup of tea, while for others just doing something simple makes more sense financially. They had decided to keep everything as straightforward as possible, holding the ceremony in Andie's parents' home.
I flew into Michigan from Washington to conduct this really significant event. I had called and talked to the County Clerk ahead of time to ensure that my credentials were, in fact, legitimate. The worst thing in the world would be to go through all of this and learn that everything I did on my end was a hoax. So we all triple checked the boxes before proceeding with the ceremony. Even so, we all were STILL sort of like, "can she actually do this? This is still a lawful thing she can perform?" It was hard not to be extremely skeptical. Because again, weddings are usually performed by people who have trained to do it. But alas, I was cleared by every single avenue to proceed.
I was clueless about what to say during this. I googled some options but nothing really felt "right". So Andie and I collaborated to find something that was short and sweet, but still meaningful to each of them. I don't normally get nervous talking in front of others, especially when I had known almost all of the people in that room for years and years. But I really didn't want to mess this up in front of the parents and grandparents. This is still a really big deal for them and I didn't want to make it out to be some kind of joke.
I'm pretty sure I was sweating and I really tried hard to keep my voice from shaking. I kept telling myself to talk slower, calm down, make a joke! I stumbled in one spot where I totally lost track of what I was saying. But all in all, it was over really quickly and they got to seal the deal with a kiss.
The whole thing was really low-key and I think that's what I love the most about it. There wasn't this intense pressure to be perfect. Andie didn't wear a wedding dress, she just opted for a white cardigan and black pants. Matthew stuck to showing off his love of the University of Michigan by wearing a nice pullover. The whole thing was so THEM! Being a part of something that made the most sense for them is what made me so honored to do it.
Afterwards, we all signed the marriage certificate and I was instructed to sign it as "Minister Molly Schultz". It seems so silly that anyone can refer to me as a minister, but hey, it's a cool title to have!
The rest of the night was followed by food and champagne. It was a really fun trip for me to get away from my mom duties and just hang out with people I love so much. When you live so far away from your best friends, those small windows of time you do get to spend time together just mean so much more. This definitely goes down as my favorite memory we've had together.
I officiated my best friend's wedding, guys! How cool is that? It's still so surreal!
I don't expect to ever perform another wedding but I guess you just never know! It was definitely something "for the books" and maybe one day Andie can return the favor by officiating a vow renewal for Tim and I. Now that's something she would be really good at!
The way I married my husband and the way my best friend married hers is just a reminder that you should always do what works for you. If you want the really expensive wedding, then I am all for you living out that dream. If you want to elope, do it!! If you want to get married in your parent's living room, go for it sister! Remember to do what YOU want. The most important thing is that you do what makes you the happiest. And I'm just here to tell you that you can!
Plus ... you can have your best friend officiate it too! Seriously...look into it!