When you’re ready to say “I do,” it can be hard to find the right people to be part of your big day. From the guest list, to bridesmaids and groomsmen, all the way down to the officiant for the wedding, a bride and groom stay busy finding the right people to help them celebrate.
When Kerra Boriskey decided to hold a destination wedding in Florida, she knew she would need to find someone to officiate who was from the area or who would be willing to travel that distance.
She spoke with her sister, Morgan Kendrick, about her dilemma. The pair has always been close, and Morgan described their relationship as “spontaneous.” When she heard about her sister’s trouble in finding an officiant, Morgan used that spontaneity to their advantage.
“So I just suggested it, maybe even voluntold it, and she was all in,” said Morgan.
Morgan thought officiating would be a fun way to be involved in the wedding, and was excited to have something special to share with her sister and her future brother-in-law. “I thought it might be fun to involve someone they have a relationship with rather than a stranger,” said Morgan. “It was also nice because it took the pressure and work off of them to have to find someone in Florida to perform it.”
Weddings are typically officiated by a minister, a priest, or a government official such as a Justice of the Peace. While this might be considered normal, it actually is not necessary. According to the American Marriage Ministries website, the Iowa government has no laws requiring minister registration.
“It was very easy,” said Morgan. At the time, she was running Fitzy’s Bar in Edgewood. She was there with some friends and decided to do some research about how she could officiate her sister’s wedding. It was then that Morgan came across the American Marriage Ministries. She went to the website and completed the application. “It only took a matter of minutes and is free to anyone.”
After registering on the website, Morgan was ready to be the officiant for her sister. When Morgan and Kerra shared this information with their parents, they were excited for their daughter.
“They’re all pretty easy going as well and thought it was fun. They would be supportive of whatever way we decided to do it,” said Morgan. She shared that their mom, Rhonda Kendrick, was excited to help as much as she could. “She even ran around in Florida looking for something to wear around my neck like what most officiants wear even when we insisted it wasn’t necessary.”
As it turned out, Kerra and her husband would not be the first ones to have a nontraditional wedding. Her parents were also married on the beach in Florida. “They stood in the ocean in their swimsuits with just them, an officiant, and a few friends,” said Morgan.
Aside from just officiating, Morgan was given the honor of helping her sister write the ceremony.
“Prior to (the wedding), we discussed some of the key things as far as flow and different options,” said Morgan, “but the morning of, we got together at about 7 a.m. and talked about how we would want it to flow, wrote the script, and made it as personal as we could to represent them as a couple.”
Morgan said participating in the wedding as an officiant was much different from being a bridesmaid, but it was just as rewarding. “It’s also different because you’re standing so close in a personal moment, as you’re standing in front of them rather than next to them and they’re looking to you for guidance during the ceremony.”
Kerra and her husband, Troy, were married March 27, 2013, on a beach in Destin, Fla. Kerra’s sister shared that their family has vacationed in this area nearly every year, so the location feels like a second home to the family.
“We made our own aisle in the sand for them to walk down as well as their daughter, Lilee, who was just about to turn 5 at the time, and we had a table at the front where I stood to host the ceremony. They wrote their own vows, linked their arms and each drank out of a wine glass as their unity symbol, and signed their marriage license.” Morgan said that, aside from officiating the wedding, she was free to celebrate with her sister and their family.
“After the wedding we had a reception up by our cabana poolside where we played our own music, grilled our own food, and had lots of fun.” To Morgan, her sister’s wedding was one of the most memorable vacations and weddings she has ever been to. “It was great because we all spent a week there together and got to celebrate the whole time.”
Since her sister’s wedding, Morgan has been asked to officiate at quite a few weddings. She has since officiated three “very different and unique” weddings for her family and friends. Morgan said her experience with her sister’s wedding gave her direction when planning the ceremonies.
Though she shared an intimate spot in her sister’s wedding, she said their relationship has not changed because of it. “We have always been extremely close,” Morgan shared. “It’s nice to have been able to be by her side in some way on her big day and she will be by mine when I get married this summer.” She plans to have a full wedding party, but still plans to find someone to officiate.
“When you’re officiating you’re not just there as a supporter, it feels as though you’re acting as a guide. Knowing that the words you’re speaking are there to help guide them through years of happiness is actually very incredible and it brings a whole new level of emotion to the experience of being in a wedding.”