For all of the brides and grooms who are having a friend officiate their wedding – here are some tips and ideas, from a professional wedding celebrant, to make sure that your day runs smoothly.  Feel free to print this out, and hand it to your officiant, and it may help to look it over yourself as well!

  • Be prepared! Read through the ceremony a few times, and feel free to make notes on your version of the script.  Make sure all of the props are set up, and that you have copies of the vows and the readings.

  • Format it! Format the script in a way that is easy for you to read – perhaps color coding or highlighting important elements or directions.  Make sure to take page turns into consideration, and format it so it is easiest for you to read, in an easy to read, large font.

  • Plan where you are going to stand! For my ceremonies, I prefer the couples to face each other, or slightly face out – not facing the officiant (I am sure the bride’s dress is beautiful in the back, but everyone wants to see their faces!).  Find the best place for you to stand – perhaps in between them, or maybe slightly to the side, with the couple in the middle.

  • Get amped! Using a microphone and amplification is a must – you want everyone to be able to hear you, the readers, and the bride & groom during their vows.  The DJ, venue, or ceremony musicians can often provide a wireless mic to use.  Pass it to the readers and the couple for the readings and the vows.

  • Keep the love! When readers or other participants come up – feel free to have a moment, and give the bride and groom some love (a big hug!) afterwards.

  • Bring tissues!

  • Communicate! If you have any questions, ask the bride and groom – keeping communication lines open can really make everything much easier!

  • Make sure it’s legal! Check with your county / state to make sure you can legally officiate at weddings.  Fill out the wedding license completely and fully, and be sure to get it mailed in and filed in the proper amount of time after the wedding.

  • Protect it! I use a black, leatherette 8.5 x 11 three ring binder for my ceremonies – I slip the script into matte page protectors.  A thin black three ring binder is a great, easy, and cheap solution for holding the ceremony script as well.

  • Have fun! Don’t be afraid to laugh or be emotional – that’s what weddings are all about!  Prompt the bride, groom, or bridal party quietly if they need to be doing something (rings, readings, vows, etc).  Take deep breathes, and stay calm!  Whatever happens, it’ll be a wonderful and beautiful day.