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How to Officiate a WeddingBeing asked to perform a friend's wedding can be daunting. Our church is contact by dozens of individuals every month seeking guidance on how to officiate a wedding. Furthermore, these people don't just want to officiate a wedding, they want to officiate a perfect wedding. And why not? This is an incredibly important day for someone they love a great deal. The perfect wedding may be a myth, if by perfect we mean an occasion where absolutely nothing goes wrong and everyone's expectations are met, no matter how diverse. Despite media depictions to the contrary, this sort of ideal experience is about as rare as a unicorn sighting. That said, weddings may indeed be perfect if the definition shifts to embody the spirit of the occasion. The perfect officiant may be the one that rolls with change without losing sight of the beauty and the purpose of the moment. Whether you are asked by friends to be the officiant at their wedding, or you are interested in providing this service to the public, here are some tips for helping to create a meaningful and memorable event.

Put the Couple at Ease

Even if it is your first experience officiating, it is important to show some confidence. The couple may be more relaxed and better able to communicate their wishes to you if you are calm and comfortable in their presence. Take your time, listen and avoid judgment.

Make It Official

As an officiant, you want to do the best job you can. Part of the responsibility is to ensure that you are legally fit to perform a wedding. It may only take moments to become ordained as a minister able to perform legal services. Do your research to find resources to plan and deliver a meaningful experience. It is important to find out if your county has additional requirements for legal officiants. There may be solutions for these circumstances as well.

Be Sensitive to the Couple's Spiritual Needs

Many couples these days are eschewing the traditional church or house of worship for their ceremonies and moving their events to venues of their choosing. It may be a meadow, a backyard, a sailboat or a bowling alley. Wherever the service is held, it is still a sacred occasion. Make sure you are aware of any rituals the couple wants to include. Be open to discussing how to make room for different cultural traditions if that is what the couple wants.

Personalize the Ceremony

In your talks with the couple prior to the event, take as many notes as you can as they tell you about themselves and their history together. This helps you to create a warm and intimate feel when you are officiating. Being able to share an anecdote at the service is a great way to engage the guests, as they may be able to relate from their own experience with the couple. Also, discuss what sort of language the couple feels is right for the service. A ceremony may be informal and still retain a tone appropriate to the special occasion. Offer a copy of the service you prepare for approval prior to the big day.

Be Respectful

A great wedding is a joyous event. As an officiant, your role is to facilitate. While you are acting as a guide for the people getting married, it is the couple that should receive the attention. It is their show. Unless there is a special theme or dress code, it may be best to go for elegant-yet-understated in your attire. In the spirit of understatement, it is generally best to keep personal politics out of the ceremony and have the focus remain on the celebration of love and community.

Remember the Paperwork

After the ceremony, be certain to have the appropriate parties sign the marriage license. It is your responsibility to deliver it, by hand or by mail, to the city or county clerk's office within a designated period. An open mind, a good attitude, a sincere intention and a working pen are all you really need to be the perfect wedding officiant.

Category: Perform a Wedding

perform a wedding

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