Everyone knows that "personal" has become the theme word for weddings these days. As people strive to make this age old tradition more meaningful to themselves they've moved weddings away from churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship and into backyards, barns, and other venues. 

Along with the change of venue, has come a change in who performs the wedding. Many people hire a professional wedding officiant or official to perform their wedding. Still others ask a family friend to do the honors. This has always happened. Many people have relatives who are ordained ministers or certified judges or justices of the peace. But, thanks to the Internet and the ability for anyone to become an "ordained minister," the practice has exploded. But is it a good idea?

One of the biggest "pros" of this approach that people cite is having control over the ceremony. Although that's appealing, do you really want to have complete control over the ceremony? Do you want to have to write every word of the ceremony? Do you know how to put a ceremony together? Can you think of absolutely everything that comes in to play with creating a service?

Hiring a non-religious professional officiant can be a great compromise. A hired official will help you craft the ceremony you want, but bring his or her own experience to help you know what you need to do. A religious officiant will also work with you to create your own ceremony, but may have other restrictions depending on his or her faith. Keep in mind that your other wedding professionals will appreciate having a professional in charge as well. A lot depends on timing with a wedding and having a professional officiant in charge of your ceremony will help make sure everything runs smoothly.

A professional officiant can also help prevent unnecessary conflict with family and friends. You don't want to fight with a good friend over whether his idea of "funny" works for your wedding. You also don't want to wind up angry at a friend who accidentally messes up your wedding due to nerves.

Who will perform your wedding? Do you think asking a friend is a good idea? Share your thoughts in the comments.