Elders may perform a wedding of two Christians or of two unbaptized publishers who are progressing toward baptism.
If the couple have a specific elder in mind, they can personally ask him to officiate at their wedding. If the couple have no preference, the body of elders can select one of their number to do this.
The elder solemnizing a marriage should make sure that he is legally qualified in the state or locality where the wedding takes place. If the speaker does not legally qualify to administer the vows, another elder who meets such legal requirements could administer the wedding vows after the speaker gives the discourse. The elder
who administers the vows would complete the necessary documents.
Any elder who is asked to give a wedding talk or administer the vows should conscientiously decide whether he wishes to serve in such capacity. (w97 4/15 p. 24; w84 4/lS pp. 13-14) Elders should not perform the wedding of two persons who are not seriously involved in the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses. Neither should the elders be involved, directly or indirectly, in the wedding of a baptized individual to an unbaptized,
disassociated, or disfellowshipped person. (1 Cor. 5:11; 7:39)
It would be improper to participate in a second wedding years after the initial ceremony, as this would imply that the first wedding was not binding. (w061O/IS p. 19 par. 8.)
Before agreeing to officiate, an elder should personally speak with the couple and tactfully but straightforwardly inquire about their conduct during courtship. Make sure that all involved are familiar with and follow the direction in the articles in the November 2008 Our Kingdom Ministry, page 3; the October 15, 2006, Watchtower, pages 18-31; the April 15, 1997, Watchtower, pages 23-26; and the April IS, 1984, Watchtower, pages 11-15. If it is learned that they have engaged in sexual immorality that requires assistance from a judicial committee, the couple cannot use the Kingdom Hall.
If neither is disfellowshipped, it will be up to the discretion of the elder as to whether he will officiate at another location. He may also want to inquire about some of the plans for the wedding and reception and give kindly reminders if needed to help them demonstrate reasonableness. However, he should remember that what they choose to do is a personal matter as long as this is not unscriptural. (Phil. 4:5; w84 4/15 pp. 11- 12)
The elder should also make sure that the bride and groom are legally and Scripturally free to marry. If either was married before, the elder should ask to see a copy of the divorce decree to make sure that the divorce was finalized. He should also be satisfied that the divorce is Scriptural. If the person's divorce occurred before baptism, the elder should not assume the individual is Scripturally free, as baptism does not dissolve previous marital ties.
If either the bride or the groom is from another congregation, the elder should speak or correspond with the eIders from that congregation to confirm the person's standing in the congregation, Scriptural freedom to marry, and so forth.
If a couple wishes to use the Kingdom Hall, they should submit a written request well in advance of the wedding date indicating the specific day and time they desire to use the hall. The Congregation Service Committee should promptly consider the request on behalf of the body of elders. Though it is not a requirement that all in the wedding party be baptized, the wedding party should not include any person whose lifestyle grossly conflicts with Bible principles. (km 11/08 p. 3; w84 4/15 p. 15)
Any decoration of the Kingdom Hall or rearrangement of the chairs must be approved. Only music selected from Kingdom Melodies or that is found in our songbook may be used. The elders may permit a rehearsal at the Kingdom Hall as long as it does not interfere with other congregation arrangements.
The marriage discourse should reflect dignity, honor, and seriousness. (Heb. 13:4) Its purpose is to impress on the minds of the participants, as well as those observing, the God-given responsibilities that married couples must assume and discharge in full harmony with the Scriptures. It is not appropriate to tell humorous stories or read poems simply to entertain or amuse the audience. If the branch office provides an outline in the local language, it should be used.
Since much of the direction outlined above has generally been given only to congregation elders, appointed elders should be used to officiate at weddings, if available. (km 11/08 p. 3; w84 4115 pp. 13-14)
Also, elders are certified teachers of God's Word, so they are the ones most qualified to highlight the important Scriptural principles that apply on this special occasion.-1 Tim. 3:2.
In short ... take a pillow with you in case the religious part of the wedding goes on for too long and you need a nap. A few sandwiches and a drink bottle may also be wise. Also ... don't expect to have a 'second wedding' or I guess renew your vows ... it will be a big fat 'no' or should be. Apparently.