26 Oct 2016
October 26, 2016

Did I Just Say That – Handling a Wedding Ceremony Mistake

It happens to the best of us…we make a goof while delivering a wedding ceremony. It may be missing a word (or words), it may be pronouncing something incorrectly or it may be losing our place in the ceremony. But truthfully, 95% of the time, it is not the goof itself but how you handle it that matters. So, here are some tips –

1) Stay calm – I know this is sometimes tough but if you realize you made a mistake or lose your place, by staying calm you keep yourself from making more mistakes. I can tell you from personal experience that if you let yourself get flustered by the one mistake, you increase the likelihood of making more mistakes. If you have to, wait till you get to a natural pause point (e.g. the end of a paragraph), take a deep breath, quickly center yourself, and then move on.

2) If at all possible, just keep going – in addition to staying calm, if you missed a word or said something incorrectly and it is not absolutely necessary that you go back and re-read it, don’t. During a wedding ceremony, there is no need to draw attention to a minor flub since in most cases, a large percentage of guests, and even the couple, probably didn’t even notice you made a mistake.

3) If necessary to say something or repeat something, don’t draw too much attention to it – if you do need to repeat words or a line, keep a smile on your face and just do it. You really don’t want to try to explain why or spend time, except in extreme cases, focused on the mistake since it will only draw attention to the goof and thus make you more nervous.

For example, my husband who officiates, handed the bride’s vows to the groom. The groom then began to read them before realizing the mistake. Once it was realized, my husband said with a smile, and a bit of embarrassment on his face, “Sorry, these would be yours.” as he exchanged the wrong vows cards for the right ones. Stay calm, don’t draw unnecessary attention to the flub, smile on face, and move on (you can feel free to apologize and beat yourself up later…he did).

Just remember that as the Officiant, everyone…the couple and the guests…are focused on you which means it is your responsibility to maintain the smoothness and happy tone of the ceremony, mistakes or no mistakes.

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