10 tips on officiating a wedding ceremony successfully!
Updated: Jul 12, 2022
“I now pronounce you MARRIED”! This is probably the most iconic line from any wedding ever but have you even thought about what the officiant says up until that point? Probably not! The actual wedding ceremony is often overlooked but is one of the most essential parts of your big day. I mean, it’s not the party but it’s the moment that you commit to loving your partner for the rest of your life no matter what you go through and that’s kinda a big deal!!
Your officiant is the key player in the wedding ceremony and while some people use a professional officiant, a lot of couples are choosing to use close family or friends (who probably haven’t ever officiated a wedding before)! Here are a few key tips when it comes to your wedding officiant!
1. Get ordained sooner rather than later just in case something happens. The Universal Life Church is a common option but there are lots! Don’t forget to triple check all the requirements of the state to make sure the marriage is legal.
2. Focus on the couple – take the time before the ceremony to get to know the couple so that you can add personal tidbits stories and religious references as it applies! Whether you knew the couple beforehand or not…. Make sure their ceremony is special and personalized because it will be that much more memorable for them.
3. Write the script: if the couple has asked you to write the script, start with a quick google search to find sample ceremony scripts. This is a great starting place and then you can personalize it from there!
4. Encourage couples to write their own vows…. This is a moment that they will remember and it should absolutely be personal. This is their opportunity to express their unique love by including short silly anecdotes and even inside jokes.
5. Ask for a copy of the vows – it’s a crazy day for the couple and you don’t want them completely embarrassed because they forgot a copy of their vows before their walk down the aisle!
6. PRACTICE makes perfect! Practice in front of friends or even in front of the mirror so that you’re comfortable with your speech.
7. Don’t forget a few key reminders: A. Inviting guests to stand before the bride makes her grand entrance and B. Inviting guests to be seated before you begin the service!
8. Bring a black pen to sign the certificate and make sure you mail it – also kinda a big deal so that it’s official!
9. When it’s time for the “you may now kiss your partner” step to the side so that you’re not photobombing their first kiss photo!
10. Smile!! You will inevitably be in their wedding photos so smile!
It is truly an honor to be asked to be the officiant over marriage and it is not a responsibility that should be taken lightly. Take time to prepare and personalize the couple's wedding ceremony and most importantly, make sure all the legal steps are taken so that it’s… you know, official!