18 Oct 2016
October 18, 2016

Be Prepared – Earning Your Wedding Officiant Badge

As a professional wedding officiant, when I am preparing to deliver a wedding ceremony, I create a check list of items that need to be thought about before the ceremony starts. By having this check list, I can make sure the ceremony runs as smoothly as possible. Some of the items that are part of almost every ceremony, such as the microphone, have been discussed in earlier posts. Instead, I wanted to use this post to give you a few hints in regards to the thought process you should be using to be prepared, not necessarily all the specifics since they can be different depending on the couple, the ceremony, the wedding site, etc.

I find the best approach is to make notes as I am practicing the ceremony at home and to do some sort of logistical run through either during the rehearsal or when I am onsite before the ceremony begins. First thing I am thinking is what physical pieces do I need…the license, flowers for mothers, wine box on table, sand ceremony, etc. These items should be easy to locate and get setup. Second, I think about the logistics during the ceremony…where am I starting from during the procession, can I see the bride when she first starts to come down the aisle or am I going to need a cue from someone, is the couple reading their vows and if so, do I have a microphone for them (or can I rotate the one I am using), etc. If you can’t find something, or if in doubt about a logistical detail, don’t assume. Take the time to talk to the wedding planner or venue person and if necessary discuss with the couple.

A good example – I have had quite a few couples lately do a wine box ceremony which requires, at a certain point in the ceremony, that the Officiant hands the couple love letters that they wrote earlier and the couple then puts those love letters in the wine box and shuts the box. In preparing for a ceremony that includes a wine box, I will make sure to remind the couple, a week or two before the ceremony, to either e-mail me their love letters or make sure they bring them on the day of. If the couple doesn’t send them in advance, I will make sure to get the letters from the couple when I get to the ceremony site. I will also make sure that the wine box is setup and that the love letters are folded in a way that they will fit in the box. Finally, I think about the logistics of the couple putting the letters in the box. In a recent wedding, I actually handed both letters to the groom since the bride’s dress did not allow for her to very easily move to where the wine box was setup.

Will you, as the Officiant, be prepared for everything, probably not, however, being as prepared as possible and having a good plan on how the you are going to make the ceremony logistically flow will make the ceremony better which reduces the nervousness for you the Officiant, and the couple.

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