How to manage unexpected noise and distractions

How to officiate a wedding: How to manage unexpected noise and distractions

How to manage unexpected noise and distractions

You’ve rehearsed and practiced your ceremony, but are you prepared for unexpected noises and distractions?  I rehearse every ceremony many times so I’m able to look up from the page and speak to the couple.  My discipline has paid off many times over because unwanted distractions happen.

The three most common unwanted distractions are babies, airplanes and road noise. If you want to know how to officiate a wedding and how to manage unexpected noises and distractions, keep reading. I’ll tell you how I manage all three.

First and foremost, rehearse!  My premium wedding ceremonies at 1st Officiant are personalized and unique to each couple, so practice plays a huge role.  I read every ceremony aloud 10-15 times beforehand and use different color pens to make marks on the pages, which helps me to keep my spot.  The “cheat sheets” in my video training package help a lot with this.

Check out this video of me officiating an elopement at the base of Camelback Mountain, here in Phoenix.  The couple wanted their ceremony to be real, so there were interruptions and distractions because they chose to get married at a public place.  I was prepared though, so watch the video and hear how the kids yelling didn’t phase me.

Rehearsing can’t prepare you for everything, but it sure gives you a great head start.

How to manage unexpected noise from babies and kids: Before any ceremony, I usually ask guests with kids to please have a plan, should their child become a distraction during the ceremony.

This isn’t always easy because it offends people sometimes so to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings I usually say something like, “I love kids.  I have two little ones and understand that sometimes they’re noisy at exactly the wrong time.  With that being said, if by chance your child loses it during their ceremony, please secret service him out instead of trying to quiet him down and accidentally creating an even bigger distraction.  The bride and groom only get one shot at this and we all want it to be perfect for them!”  99% of the time the parent will gladly agree.

How to manage unexpected noise from airplanes or automobiles: This happens a lot.  The airport in Phoenix is in the center of the city so airplanes are constantly overhead.  I don’t bring it up before their ceremony because I don’t want to potentially stress the couple out.  I wait until it actually happens.  

If an airplane flies overhead during their ceremony, I’ll usually lower my microphone at the exact time the plane is almost overhead and ask, “Do you guys want me to wait for the plane to pass or power through the noise?” and let the bride and groom decide.  Most couples ask me to pause and wait for the plane to pass, but all appreciate I give them a choice.

Motorcycles and loud cars are often an issue too.  Some venues in town are located on main roads in nice areas, where motorcycles are popular and they are LOUD!  Fortunately, they pass by fairly quickly, so I don’t ask the couple what they prefer.  I simply pause and wait, as if it’s no big deal.

Your body language and energy is important.  If it’s no big deal to you, it’ll be no big deal to your couple and the goal is to have them feeling great.

How to manage unexpected noise from cell phones: The easiest way is to ask people to silence their phones.  Before the ceremony when everyone is lined up and about to walk in, I instruct the bridal party to please verify their ringers are turned off.  I’ve only had a groomsman’s cell phone go off once because I take precautions ahead of time.

The only way to prevent guest’s phones from ringing is to make an announcement at the very beginning of their ceremony, and that’s something that I leave up to the couple.  I never ask guests to keep their phones away unless the couple asks me to.  

I might then say something like, “Bride and Groom are having what’s known as an unplugged ceremony, meaning that they’d like you to please keep your phones away and sit back and fully relax.  Be present and enjoy their ceremony.  They’ve hired a really great photographer, who’s going to make photos available to everyone, so you won’t miss anything.”

I hope these tips were helpful.  If you’d like to read a few extra tips to make life easier while at your ceremony, click here.

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