Screen Junkies via YouTube
Screen Junkies via YouTube

12 Celebrities Who Have Officiated Weddings

Screen Junkies via YouTube
Screen Junkies via YouTube

Most people rely on a judge, justice of the peace, or a member of the clergy to perform their wedding ceremony. (Despite what you've seen in movies, a ship's captain is not usually sanctioned to officiate at wedding ceremonies just by virtue of being a captain.) However, almost anyone can officiate a wedding by becoming an ordained minister of the non-denominational Universal Life Church. The process is as simple as registering online—and quite a few celebs have taken the church up on that offer.


Singer Stevie Nicks has long been associated with with the Pagan or Wicca religion because of some of her songs and her fashion sense, but she is no witch. She is ordained through the Universal Life Church, though, and in 2013, Nicks officiated at the wedding of her friends Vanessa Carlton and John McCauley. The wedding of the two musicians was held outdoors at an undisclosed location, and not many details about the ceremony were available—but in an Instagram post, McCauley made clear that Nicks nailed it: "She's a badass reverend. It was an awesome ceremony. Thank you Stevie!"


When actress Allison Williams of the TV series Girls married College Humor founder Ricky Van Veen last fall, Williams asked Tom Hanks to officiate. Hanks spent $35 to become an ordained minister so he could fulfill her wish. “If you want to call me the Right Reverend Tom Hanks, I think you should,” he joked to Extra’s AJ Calloway. "I'm for rent. If you can afford the honorarium, I'll be there for ya." His advice for all couples? "Don’t be stupid. I think that anybody that gets married is partaking in an act of bravery."


In February 2015, celebrity chef and TV host Guy Fieri officiated at a mass wedding for 101 same-sex couples in Miami shortly after the state of Florida lifted the ban of same-sex marriage. The event was organized by chef and Florida native Art Smith, and was free for the couples who participated. A third celebrity chef, Duff Goldman, made a seven-tier cake for the occasion.


When Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux were wed last summer, the officiant was Jimmy Kimmel. According to Howard Stern, the late night talk show host did "a beautiful job" with the ceremony, which may have had a little something to do with his experience: Kimmel also officiated when Matt Damon and his wife Luciana renewed their vows during a three-day celebration in St. Lucia in 2013.


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A photo posted by Kesha (@iiswhoiis) on Sep 9, 2015 at 1:57pm PDT

Singer Kesha (now without the dollar sign) became an ordained minister in order to officiate at the 2012 wedding of two female friends. Two years later, she wrote in an essay for CBS News that "It was such an amazing experience to help two beautiful women cement their commitment to each other through marriage." In 2015, she did it again for her hair stylist Vittorio Masecchia and Felipe Noqueira.


Filmmaker and comedian Kevin Smith is known as Silent Bob and host of the TV show Comic Book Men—and he's also an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. He has officiated at quite a few weddings, usually with a geeky touch. In 2015, he presided over the wedding of a couple of fans during New York Comic Con. The ceremony was on top of a double-decker bus during a city tour, and incorporated vows from the TV show Game of Thrones. At another wedding this year in Nashville, Smith incorporated the oath from the comic book Green Lantern into the vows. The videos for both weddings contain NSFW language.


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Screen Junkies reporter Nick Mundy is a friend and fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The two actually once made a video together in which Mundy begged The Rock to be the best man at his upcoming wedding. In May 2015, Mundy attended a press appearance in which he was supposed to interview Johnson about his new movie San Andreas. It turned out the event was fake, and was actually a surprise wedding, arranged by Johnson in collaboration with Mundy’s then-fiancée Dilara Karabas. Johnson didn't just attend the wedding—he also became ordained in order to officiate. During the ceremony, Johnson quipped, “Nothing is more powerful than your union, carries more force than a bolt of lightning—or even the world’s largest earthquake,” he said. “Much like the one you’ll see in San Andreas, in theaters May 29th. You can see it in 3D!” The entire event was captured on video, of course.


The Marriage Equality Act in New York legalized same-sex marriage as of late July 2011. On November 3 of that year, talk show host Conan O’Brien was in New York to celebrate the first anniversary of his TBS show. On that night's broadcast, he officiated the wedding of Scott Cronick, his long time costume designer, to his partner, UCLA drama professor David Gorshein. The ceremony, held at the Beacon Theatre, is believed to have been the first on-air same-sex wedding. The couple lives in California, where the wedding would have been illegal at the time. O’Brien was ordained through the Universal Life Church, a process he explains in this video.


Sherlock Holmes himself, actor Benedict Cumberbatch, officiated the wedding of his friends Seth Cummings and Rob Rinder in 2013. He became ordained for the ceremony, which took place on a beautiful cliffside on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza.


Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan have long been friends, and when Stewart married singer Sunny Ozell in 2013, McKellan served as the officiant. It was the second wedding McKellan had officiated after becoming ordained through the Universal Life Church.


When Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine wed Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo in 2014 in Mexico, the officiant was Oscar-nominated actor Jonah Hill. Levine and Hill go way back because their fathers went to school together. "Our dads met in the principal's office in junior high," Hill told Howard Stern in 2014. "We were in carpool. We lived at each other's houses."


During the filming of the movie Gangster Squad, actress Emma Stone introduced her publicist Holly Shakoor to the movie’s director, Ruben Fleischer. The two hit it off, with encouragement from Stone. When the couple got married in 2012, they asked Stone to officiate, which she was happy to do.

Wolfgang via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
8 Legendary Monsters of Christmas
Wolfgang via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Wolfgang via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

The customs of the holiday season, which include St. Nicholas Day, New Years Day, and Epiphany, as well as Christmas, often incorporate earlier pagan traditions that have been appropriated and adapted for contemporary use. Customs that encourage little children to be good so as to deserve their Christmas gifts often come with a dark side: the punishment you'll receive from a monster or evil being of some sort if you aren't good! These nefarious characters vary from place to place, and they go by many different names and images.


As a tool to encourage good behavior in children, Santa serves as the carrot, and Krampus is the stick. Krampus is the evil demon anti-Santa, or maybe his evil twin. Krampus Night is celebrated on December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas Day in Austria and other parts of Europe. Public celebrations that night have many Krampuses walking the streets, looking for people to beat. Alcohol is also involved. Injuries in recent years have led to some reforms, such as requiring all Krampuses to wear numbers so they may identified in case of overly violent behavior.

Krampus may look like a devil, or like a wild alpine beast, depending on what materials are available to make a Krampus costume. In modern times, people can spend as much as they like to become the best Krampus around—and the tradition is spreading beyond Europe. Many cities in America have their own Krampus Nights now.


Jólakötturinn is the Icelandic Yule Cat or Christmas Cat. He is not a nice cat. In fact, he might eat you. This character is tied to an Icelandic tradition in which those who finished all their work on time received new clothes for Christmas, while those who were lazy did not (although this is mainly a threat). To encourage children to work hard, parents told the tale of the Yule Cat, saying that Jólakötturinn could tell who the lazy children were because they did not have at least one new item of clothing for Christmas—and these children would be sacrificed to the Yule Cat. This reminder tends to spur children into doing their chores! A poem written about the cat ends with a suggestion that children help out the needy, so they, too, can have the protection of new clothing. It's no wonder that Icelanders put in more overtime at work than most Europeans.


Flickr // Markus Ortner

Tales told in Germany and Austria sometimes feature a witch named Frau Perchta who hands out both rewards and punishments during the 12 days of Christmas (December 25 through Epiphany on January 6). She is best known for her gruesome punishment of the sinful: She will rip out your internal organs and replace them with garbage. The ugly image of Perchta may show up in Christmas processions in Austria, somewhat like Krampus.

Perchta's story is thought to have descended from a legendary Alpine goddess of nature, who tends the forest most of the year and deals with humans only during Christmas. In modern celebrations, Perchta or a close relation may show up in processions during Fastnacht, the Alpine festival just before Lent. There may be some connection between Frau Perchta and the Italian witch La Befana, but La Befana isn't really a monster: she's an ugly but good witch who leaves presents.


A drawing of Belsnickel.
Lucas, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Belsnickel is a male character from southwestern German lore who traveled to the United States and survives in Pennsylvania Dutch customs. He comes to children sometime before Christmas, wearing tattered old clothing and raggedy fur. Belsnickel carries a switch to frighten children and candy to reward them for good behavior. In modern visits, the switch is only used for noise, and to warn children they still have time to be good before Christmas. Then all the children get candy, if they are polite about it. The name Belsnickel is a portmanteau of the German belzen (meaning to wallop) and nickel for St. Nicholas. See a video of a Belsnickel visit here.

Knecht Ruprecht and Ru Klaas are similar characters from German folklore who dole out beatings to bad children, leaving St. Nicholas to reward good children with gifts.


Hans Trapp is another "anti-Santa" who hands out punishment to bad children in the Alsace and Lorraine regions of France. The legend says that Trapp was a real man, a rich, greedy, and evil man, who worshiped Satan and was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. He was exiled into the forest where he preyed upon children, disguised as a scarecrow with straw jutting out from his clothing. He was about to eat one boy he captured when he was struck by lightning and killed—a punishment of his own from God. Still, he visits young children before Christmas, dressed as a scarecrow, to scare them into good behavior.


The French legend of Père Fouettard, whose name translates to "Father Whipper," begins with an evil butcher who craved children to eat. He (or his wife) lured three boys into his butcher shop, where he killed, chopped, and salted them. St. Nicholas came to the rescue, resurrected the boys, and took custody of the butcher. The captive butcher became Père Fouettard, St. Nicholas' servant whose job it is to dispense punishment to bad children on St. Nicholas Day.


The Jólasveinar, or Yule Lads, are 13 Icelandic trolls, who each have a name and distinct personality. In ancient times, they stole things and caused trouble around Christmastime, so they were used to scare children into behaving, like the Yule Cat. However, the 20th century brought tales of the benevolent Norwegian figure Julenisse (Santa Claus), who brought gifts to good children. The traditions became mingled, until the formerly devilish Jólasveinar became kind enough to leave gifts in shoes that children leave out ... if they are good boys and girls. 


All the Yule Lads answer to Grýla, their mother. She predates the Yule Lads in Icelandic legend as the ogress who kidnaps, cooks, and eats children who don't obey their parents. She only became associated with Christmas in the 17th century, when she was assigned to be the mother of the Yule Lads. According to legend, Grýla had three different husbands and 72 children, all who caused trouble ranging from harmless mischief to murder. As if the household wasn't crowded enough, the Yule Cat also lives with Grýla. This ogress is so much of a troublemaker that The Onion blamed her for the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

A version of this post originally ran in 2013. See also: more Legendary Monsters

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84 Years Ago Today: Goodbye Prohibition!
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
Keystone/Getty Images

It was 84 years ago today that the Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, repealing the earlier Amendment that declared the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol illegal in the United States. Prohibition was over! Booze that had been illegal for 13 years was suddenly legal again, and our long national nightmare was finally over.

A giant barrel of beer, part of a demonstration against prohibition in America.
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Prohibition of alcohol was not a popular doctrine. It turned formerly law-abiding citizens into criminals. It overwhelmed police with enforcement duties and gave rise to organized crime. In cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis, the dismantling of breweries left thousands of people unemployed.

Photograph courtesy of the Boston Public Library

Homemade alcohol was often dangerous and some people died from drinking it. Some turned to Sterno or industrial alcohol, which was dangerous and sometimes poisoned by the government to discourage drinking. State and federal governments were spending a lot of money on enforcement, while missing out on taxes from alcohol.

New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach (right) watches agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of Prohibition.

The midterm elections of 1930 saw the majority in Congress switch from Republican to Democratic, signaling a shift in public opinion about Prohibition as well as concerns about the depressed economy. Franklin Roosevelt, who urged repeal, was elected president in 1932. The Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution was proposed by Congress in February of 1933, the sole purpose of which was to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment establishing Prohibition.

American men guarding their private beer brewing hide-out, during Prohibition.
Keystone/Getty Images

With passage of the Constitutional Amendment to repeal Prohibition a foregone conclusion, a huge number of businessmen lined up at the Board of Health offices in New York in April of 1933 to apply for liquor licenses to be issued as soon as the repeal was ratified.

The Amendment was ratified by the states by the mechanism of special state ratifying conventions instead of state legislatures. Many states ratified the repeal as soon as conventions could be organized. The ratifications by the required two-thirds of the states was achieved on December 5, 1933, when conventions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah agreed to repeal Prohibition through the Amendment.

Workmen unloading crates of beer stacked at a New York brewery shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.
Keystone/Getty Images

A brewery warehouse in New York stacked crates past the ceiling to satisfy a thirsty nation after the repeal of Prohibition.

Keystone/Getty Images

Liquor wouldn't officially be legal until December 15th, but Americans celebrated openly anyway, and in most places, law enforcement officials let them.


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