How to become a wedding officiant
Around half the weddings in my town are officiated by people who get ordained online. As of this writing, online ordination is legal in 47 states. You can read more about it here.
Not every couple is on the spiritual path or practices a specific religion, so ordaining a close friend or family member to officiate their wedding is a great option.
I’ve thought about establishing a church so that I can offer online ordination from mattsweddingceremonies.com, but it’s a major pain in the butt with many legalities to consider and can be quite expensive. So…
Instead, I’ll leave ordaining others to the three main online churches. Get ordained online and become a wedding officiant at any one of these three sites, The Universal Life Church, American Marriage Ministries, or GetOrdained.org. Their process is so simple that you can be an online ordained minister in less than five minutes. For a more complete description on how to get ordained to perform weddings and links that will take you to the three main churches, click here.
If you need help putting your ceremony together, please consider my ceremony material. Getting ordained is only the first part of the process. Next, you need ceremony material and proper guidance. Avoiding the most common newbie mistakes is essential.
For example, many new officiants forget to ask the guests to, “Please rise” when the bride walks in and often forget to ask the guests to sit back down, once the bride has made her way to the front and handed off her bouquet.
It’s important to feel confident and to show that confidence, so avoiding easy mistakes is a great way to set yourself up for a great ceremony. I highly encourage you to check out the complete list of newbie ordained minister mistakes and how to avoid them here.
Knowing how to run the couple’s rehearsal is another part that newly ordained ministers often mess up. I have a clearly outlined process that I encourage you to check out here.
Here are the first four of ten things to consider:
1) Review the couple’s notes from your meeting. Make sure you’re aware of any deceased parents or divorced parents and potentially strained relationships. Every now and then someone is rude and it’s good to know that it’s because that person is stressed out due to a strained relationship and that it has nothing to do with you, personally. Divorced parents who still don’t get along can easily bring down the positive vibe.
2) Bring printed copy of ceremony to rehearsal. On the last page or wherever there’s space, write down the couple’s parent’s names (sometimes last names are different), any children’s names, coordinator’s names, photographer’s name, DJ’s name. Occasionally coordinators email out a timeline to the vendors and this info is often on that timeline. It always impresses people when you walk up to introduce yourself and you know their name.
3) Introduce yourself to EVERYONE at rehearsal and write names down. Members of the bridal party are prospective clients, parents sometimes give gratuity and fellow vendors give referrals. Also, you’ll need to know the name of the person/persons holding the rings so you can invite them up during the ceremony.
4) Ask the coordinator how she/he likes to run the rehearsal. Normally she’ll line everyone up in the places they’ll be standing during the ceremony, practice walking out, then walking back in and lining up, then the officiant runs through the bullet points of the ceremony, then everyone will practice walking back out again.
Click HERE to download the complete guide and then check your email.
There are quite a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years, so if you’d really like to look like a pro, check out my extra tips here. The article will share things like…
1) Ask the couple what their bridal colors are and coordinate your tie. I can’t tell you how many times someone has made a positive comment about my tie matching the couple’s colors. It’ll make you look like a pro.
2) Bring mints. Nothing says that you’re a professional like handing out mints while everyone is in line and waiting to walk in for the processional.
3) Be sure to do a sound check with the DJ before the ceremony starts. Find a volume level that’s comfortable for you. When I hear my own voice too loudly, it’s very distracting, so finding a good volume level is essential.
and there are at least five more pro tips to consider.
But again, getting ordained isn’t done through me and my website. Get ordained online and become a wedding officiant at any one of these three sites, The Universal Life Church, American Marriage Ministries, or GetOrdained.org.
I hope this article was helpful. Please leave a comment down below and let me know if you have any questions at all. Thanks!
Matt T. Nathanson, 1st Officiant
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