I’m planning to ask an Orthodox Rabbi from my college to be the officiant at my wedding — neither my fiance nor myself is orthodox and (for the most part) neither are our families or our guests. The rabbi works for a (non-chabad) kiruv organization on a college campus.
I have some questions about what having an orthodox officiant would entail at a practical level. I know I can ask the rabbi these questions, and will definitely get more clarity on all of these from him but I wanted to get a sense of what to expect before asking. I also don’t want to put him in an uncomfortable position by asking him to officiate a wedding he wouldn’t be comfortable officiating.
– Who can be a witness, and who can say the sheva brachot? I understand witnesses are supposed to be shomer shabbos men, but what about the sheva brachot? Do they need to be men and do they need to be shomer shabbos? If yes, would we need to provide 9 different shomer shabbos men (1 for each of the brachot and 2 witnesses) or can one person say all the brachot? If we have one jewish man say all the brachot, could we have women/non-hebrew-reading men read the sheva-brachot in addition maybe not in hebrew? Also, can sheva brachot be said by members of the immediate family? I know witnesses aren’t supposed to be family, but can they be distant relatives? There will be very few hebrew-reading men at our wedding and probably only 2-3 shomer shabbos men apart from the rabbi and almost all of them are relatives.
– Are there any ways for us to give honors during the ceremony to women or non-hebrew-reading men?
– Would I need to visit a mikvah before the wedding? Would my fiance need to? Would we need to spend the night before the wedding apart?
– I am not planning on wearing a tsnius dress (nothing crazy, just no sleeves) and there will be mixed seating and mixed dancing. He is a rabbi on a college campus so I assume neither of these would be an issue for him, but I wanted to mention it.
– We are already planning on having a kosher wedding on a Sunday, so that would not be an issue
– Are there any other things I should be aware of? Are there any other things I should be sure to ask him about if/when I ask him to officiate?
TLDR; what should I be aware of when asking an orthodox rabbi to officiate my wedding?