The authority to officiate at wedding ceremonies is a privilege granted to preachers and judges throughout the country. Having a preacher officiate at a wedding ceremony is merely a custom in our society, not a commandment from God. A wedding ceremony performed by a judge or a justice of the peace is just as valid as one performed by a preacher.
I personally take the matter of officiating at weddings very seriously, and therefore I often decline to perform wedding ceremonies when circumstances so dictate. I have developed a contract which states the rules which must be agreed to before I will perform a wedding ceremony. If a couple wants me to speak at their wedding, I now ask them to sign this agreement which states they are willing to abide by the rules set forth in the contract. If a couple does not like the rules I have, then I would urge them to go to a judge and have their vows solemnized before him.
I thought these rules might be of interest to other preachers, so I have included them on this website.
I am no longer willing to travel more than 25 miles away from my home to perform a wedding ceremony. If you want to get married outside of Lake County, Illinois or Kenosha County, Wisconsin, please ask someone else to speak at your wedding.
If you want me to perform your wedding ceremony, I require that both parties come to my office for a series of three classes on marriage. In these classes, we will discuss the purpose of marriage and the God-given responsibilities of both the husband and the wife.
If you invite me to speak at your wedding, I will be preaching a short wedding sermon. This wedding sermon will contain a reminder of the fact that "God hates divorce" (Mal. 2:16). I will also explain in your hearing the consequences of divorce. If you think this will offend your friends and relatives, then please go before a judge to get married.
If the bride-to-be is pregnant or if either party has been divorced, I want to know about it immediately. This does not mean that I will not perform the wedding ceremony -- I just want to have the information beforehand.
In the past few years it has become very fashionable for women to drop the word "obey" from their wedding vows. If the bride-to-be is not willing to vow to obey her future husband (and so state in her wedding vows), I will not participate in your wedding.
When a couple decides to get married, it seems like everyone has an opinion as to what should take place at the ceremony. However, the only person I will speak with concerning the actual wedding ceremony is the bride. I refuse to discuss your wedding with either the mother of the bride or the mother of the groom.
A wedding ceremony is to be taken seriously. Your wedding vows will be exchanged before your friends and family, and more importantly in the presence of God. If during the wedding ceremony I get the impression you are not taking your wedding vows seriously I will simply stop preaching and leave the building. Do not test me on this -- you will lose.
If you desire to dance or serve alcohol at your reception, I will not participate in your wedding. If you mislead me about this before the wedding ceremony and go ahead and serve alcohol and/or dance at the wedding, I will not sign your marriage license -- I will return the license to you unsigned. Regardless of what you may think, you are not legally married until the marriage license is signed.
If you want me to speak at your wedding, I will wear a suit. If you want someone who looks great in a tuxedo so your wedding pictures look good, I kindly suggest you go to the county judge and exchange your vows there.
Instead of a payment to me for officiating at your wedding, I request a $100 donation be made to The Lance Armstrong Foundation. You write the check and I will mail it to them.