Many couples are opting to have a friend or relative preside over the ceremony instead of having a traditional officiant. This can make the ceremony more personal and meaningful. If you’ve decided to have a friend or relative officiate your wedding, you likely want to make sure they have all the guidance they need, as it can be an intimidating task. So, we put together a little guide covering some key points to help get them on the right track.
Alright…here’s one for the officiants-to-be!
Being a wedding officiant is a great honor and privilege. You get to be a part of one of the most important days in a couple’s life. At the heart of it all, it’s a chance to help couples create a lasting and meaningful celebration of their union and to share in the joy of their love. However, officiating a wedding is about more than just the ceremony itself. It’s about being a part of that special period of time as they plan their wedding ceremony.
As a wedding officiant, you have the opportunity to preside over a beautiful, meaningful ceremony that celebrates the couple’s love and commitment to each other. From the readings, to the speech, to the vows, you get to help them create a unique and special ceremony. You can provide the couple with a powerful and memorable experience that will be remembered for years to come.
Additionally, being a wedding officiant is an opportunity to help couples create a meaningful ceremony that reflects their beliefs and values. As a wedding officiant, you are able to provide couples with a something that is tailored to their needs and wants. Whether it is a religious ceremony or a more secular one, you can help couples create the perfect ceremony for them.
Let’s cover some key points to get you on the right track:
Officially “Official” – Chances are that you are not already ordained. But the good news here is that a quick search online can provide you with the information and resources you need to get ordained online relatively quickly. Obviously, the sooner you do this the better. You’ll just want to make sure that whatever service you choose to use to get ordained, is officially recognized in the state that you will be presiding over the marriage in.
Timeline – You’ll want to get as much information as possible regarding the order of things to take place that day from the bride and groom to be or from the wedding coordinator, if there is one. Pay special attention to how much time is allotted for the ceremony itself. This would include the entrance and exit of the wedding party. From that, you’ll be able to create an outline of the ceremony to work with. This should include the order of events, readings, and any other components that they want to include in their ceremony.
Tone – This is one of the most important ones. What is the tone of the wedding going to be? A lot of couples are now looking for a “fun” wedding. Something where those witnessing, can enjoy some jokes and laugh along with the couple as they are united in matrimony. However, others are looking for a very traditional, romantic, and serious ceremony. And then there is everything in between. So, you’ll want to fully understand what they are looking for in this regard. You can imagine how disastrous it would be if an officiant was cracking jokes throughout a wedding ceremony if the couple and crowd were expecting something more serious in tone.
Examples – There are a lot of videos online of new officiants presiding over weddings, some with better results than others. Once you have a sense of the tone from the couple, it would behoove you to spend some time watching several officiant videos, so you can put together something that will make sense for the couple you are marrying. Keep in mind that the person(s) that asked you to do this did so because they admire certain traits about you and want you to put your own personal touch on it.
Officiant’s Speech – It’s common for the officiant to share some thoughts and views of the bride and groom or even what their connection to them may be. For someone not used to writing or doing speeches, this can be a bit of a challenge. Not just speaking in front of a crowd of people, but to write a thoughtful and suitable speech for such a big moment. There are a lot of ideas on the internet, but you’ll want to focus on the input from the couple, and the direction given regarding tone. With those factors in mind, you’ll compose something sincere and appropriately wonderful.
Vows – It has become quite commonplace for couples to write their own vows. If that is what the couple wants to do in this wedding, then this is an easy pass for you. You will just need to find out if they will be reading or reciting their vows directly to each other, or if they’ll want you to say each part for them to then repeat. If they’ll be repeating their vows after you, it is important that you discuss how they’ll be broken down so that you’re not asking a nervous bride or groom to repeat too long of a passage without the benefit of reading the words, like you will be. But, if they would like for you to come up with your vows, you really should get some guidance from them on what they’re looking for. Even vows that you procure for them should reflect each person’s agreement to commit to those vows. Even if the couple give you carte blanche or tell you they just want “traditional vows” you still want them to know before the ceremony what they are promising each other, in case either person takes issue with the wording.
Practice – Once you get closer to the wedding date, start practicing your lines, delivery, and your speech. The more familiar you are with the words, the more natural and heartfelt, they’ll sound. Also, time yourself so that you don’t go over the allotted time or so that you can pace yourself and you don’t speak too quickly.
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the experience of being a wedding officiant. It is a chance to witness the love that two people have for each other and to be a special part of a celebration of that love. It is an honor to be a part of such a special moment in a couple’s life and to be able to help them create a meaningful and lasting ceremony.