A few pro tips while at the ceremony
If you want to know how to officiate a wedding, here are a few easy tricks to help things go smoothly.
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.
4) If your couple will repeat their vows after you, find them before the ceremony to practice. They’re not only trying to match your cadence, but are looking to you to help them relax so they mean what they say.
5) Remind all groomsmen to double check that the ringers are turned off on their cell phones before the ceremony starts.
6) Ask any guests with babies or young kids if they have a plan should their child become a distraction during the ceremony. I tell those parents that I have two young kids and even mine aren’t always perfect angels. I tell these guests that the bride and groom only get one shot at this and that it’s better for noisy kids to be ‘secret-serviced’ out instead of trying to quiet the child down and making the distraction even more noticeable.
7) Have tissues in your pocket that you can hand to the couple, should one of them cry, or make sure the groom has one that he can hand off to the bride if she cries during their ceremony.
8) People don’t realize it, but when they are not present it is visible to others. And then they can be perceived as inauthentic or not caring. The last thing you want is for the couple to think you are disingenuous. One strategy I use to help me stay present is to squeeze my feet inside my shoes and another is to take full breaths. It’s difficult to do, but if you’re able to pause for two full seconds before speaking again and beginning your next sentence, you will be perceived as someone of presence and authority.
It’s important to express love to the couple and also the guests. That’s difficult to do if you’re not present. Confident posture leads people to believe you are someone of authority and will tend to accept whatever you say. Positive and negative thinking shows up in our body language and being prepared leads to peaceful inner state and thus Charisma on stage. You know the difference between a genuine smile and a fake smile, when you see one. You have to mean it!
Author, Olivia Fox says that when speech is important, she practices until every breath is perfect. She writes the word breathe on the top of every page. And every few pages has a note that says pause, breathe, slow down. She’s even asked a member of the audience to give her a certain signal if she needs to slow down.
How to officiate a wedding: A few tips while at the ceremony
Matt T. Nathanson, 1st Officiant
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