How to officiate a wedding

How to officiate a wedding: Newbie ordained minister mistakes

How to officiate a wedding and avoid the newbie ordained minister mistakes

When you’re new at anything it’s normal to make mistakes, but when you’re on the microphone in front of a crowd, avoiding the common pitfalls will help you stay comfortable and do a good job for your couple.

*Avoid this newbie mistake and check traffic conditions before leaving your home for the wedding. Running late is stress no one needs.

*Avoid this newbie mistake and start every ceremony by asking the guests to, “Please rise” when you see the bride about to walk in. 

The bride is not a possession or gift, so I usually take a few steps forward with the groom to meet the bride and her dad, to then ask, “Who has the honor of escorting Bride down the aisle and presenting her to the Groom?”

Make sure the groom knows to acknowledge her dad with a handshake or hug, however they’re most comfortable.  In the moment, brides often forget to kiss dad so make sure she does, before he sits and the bride hands her bouquet off to the maid of honor.

*Avoid this newbie mistake and be sure to then instruct the guests to sit back down by saying, “Please be seated.”  Wait until the maid of honor has finished straightening out the bride’s dress before beginning their “welcoming guests.”

*Avoid the “We can’t hear!” mistake and hold the microphone near your mouth! I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s common for people to gradually lower the microphone as they’re speaking, but guess what? No one will be able to hear you if you do that, so keep the microphone close to your mouth.

*Avoid another newbie mistake and be sure to ask their guests to “Please rise” before pronouncing them as husband and wife, or husbands, or wives.

Allow the bridal party, then the bride’s parents, then the groom’s parents to exit before you.  If grandparents or others in the front row stand up and walk out in front of you, it’s not a big deal. They’re all important people.

As I’m walking out I usually say to the crowd, “We’re going to sign their marriage license and then Bride and Groom will be snapping photos, but invite everyone to start the party during cocktail hour and they can’t wait to join you soon.  Have a great night!”

*Avoid writing the wrong information on the couple’s marriage license! PAY ATTENTION and read the license thoroughly before your pen touches the paper because the document is most likely something special to your couple and a pain in the butt to replace. I’ve accidentally written the wrong date, wrong city, or wrong info in the wrong spot on the license, and I’ve seen disappointed looks on the couple’s faces. End on a high note, not a buzz kill.

What happens when you and your couple disagree on parts of their ceremony?  Want to know how I handle that?  Click here.

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