How To Officiate A Wedding

Written by Harini Natarajan , Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Weddings are special moments filled with celebrations, vows, and happy tears. And couples are also not hesitating to make their weddings even more perfect by adding interesting changes. From glamorous pre-wedding photoshoots to choosing an exotic venue, everything is being customized to enhance the whole experience.

One thing that’s getting rapidly popular among couples is choosing a friend or a family member to be their wedding officiant. Yes, you read it right! Couples are now turning to their loved ones for officiating their wedding. This not only adds a personal touch to the ceremony but also saves them from the struggle to find a professional wedding officiant.

But how to find a wedding officiant or how does that work? Who exactly is a wedding officiant? If your friend has asked you to be one, how to officiate a wedding? This article will answer all your queries. Keep reading!

What Is A Wedding Officiant?

What Is A Wedding Officiant?

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A wedding officiant or a marriage officiant is a person who leads the ceremony. They officiate a legal wedding ceremony and work with the couple to complete the paperwork and finalize the union.

Anyone can be a wedding officiant. They just need to get ordained to do so. Once they get an ordainment, they are legally eligible to conduct marriage ceremonies for anyone they wish to.

If you plan on becoming a wedding officiant, start the process at least a month in advance. This way, you can deal with any trouble or issue in time that may arise during the paperwork. Scroll down for more information.

How To Officiate A Wedding

How To Officiate A Wedding

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Here’s the part you have been waiting for – how to become a wedding officiant. The entire process is a bit long since it is a big responsibility. So, stay calm and read the pointers listed below.

Step 1: Do Thorough Research

A person cannot officiate a wedding unless the state or church authorizes them to do so. Therefore, since every state and religious organization has different rules, descriptions, classifications, and eligibility criteria, it is best to do proper research before jumping into the venture. Here are a few questions you can look for during your research:

  • What are the eligibility criteria to become a wedding officiate?
  • How long does it take to become a wedding officiate?
  • Is the organization transparent about the process?
  • What are the charges for becoming a wedding officiate?
  • Is the church or the organization founded upon principles with which you and the couple agree?
  • Does your state or country allow people who are not members of the clergy or civil servants to perform wedding ceremonies?

Step 2: Get Ordained

Once you are sure about the organization from where you have to get ordained, it is time to take the big step – become a legal wedding officiant. Some organizations offer online ordination. You need to follow the instructions and get ordained online. Just Google ‘Online ordination’, and you will get the desired websites right away. Make sure you start the process early to have enough time to gather the documents or resolve any issue.

Step 3: Plan The Ceremony

The real job of a wedding officiant begins right after getting the ordination. The person has to pre-consult the couple to figure out what kind of ceremony they want. For instance, does the couple want the ceremony to be formal or informal? Religious or secular?

The wedding officiant must also learn more about the couple, their love story, friendship, and memories. If you wonder why, recall what we talked about this new trend of officiating the wedding by a closed one. The couple wants to have a personalized touch to the ceremony.

Also, since the wedding officiant has to write a proper script for the ceremony, the couple’s secret jokes and tales will help them create a perfect one.

Step 4: Perform The Ceremony

Run through the wedding script one last time and begin the ceremony. Make sure you speak loudly and clearly so that everyone can hear you. Go by all the rules and traditions (in case you are following a specific one). If you have not memorized the script, keep a printed copy with you.

Usually, you can legalize the marriage by speaking the Declaration of Intent, or “Do you take…” and “I do” exchange. You can also use the Pronouncement where the officiant pronounces the couple as officially married.

Step 5: The After-Wedding Tasks

The wedding does not end with the script and pronouncement. To finally officiate the wedding, the minister or wedding officiant and the couple have to sign the marriage license. In some states and localities, witnesses also have to sign the wedding ceremony.

Once everyone has signed, return the license to the country’s clerk office. The wedding becomes official and legal after all the paperwork is done and submitted.

Be careful about what you will say on the big day if you are a wedding officiant. Though wedding ceremonies have a standard format, customizing the words and tone and incorporating creative rituals can leave the couple and guests laughing, crying, and excited about what’s coming next. So, read on for quick tips that will inspire you and make your speech stand out.

What Do You Say When You Officiate A Wedding?

What Do You Say When You Officiate A Wedding?

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Writing a memorable wedding ceremony script is a tough task. You have to prepare a script that complements the wedding theme and feels relatable for the couple. Here are some ideas you can try while deciding what to say during the ceremony:

  • Start with welcoming sentences.
  • Share a story about the couple or ask the couple to do so.
  • You can also share your personal memory with the couple or express how much they mean to you.
  • Read a short poem or a dialogue from a book or movie close to the couple.

Still not sure how to write a memorable wedding ceremony script? Worry not! We have the perfect thing for you. Go through the basic guidelines about writing a wedding ceremony script. You can customize them according to the wedding theme and couple’s choice. You are the chosen one, so be creative!

How To Write A Memorable Ceremony Script

  • Welcome: Begin with a short welcoming speech for the family, friends, and guests and thank them for assembling to support the couple.
  • Reading: Begin the introduction by either reading a quote or sharing the couple’s love story. You can also read from a religious text if it is a traditional wedding.
  • Vows Exchange: Ask the couple to exchange their vows and declare their promise to love each other for a lifetime.
  • Blessing: It is time to exchange rings. Bless or wish them a happy union.
  • Conclusion And Pronouncement: Declare that the couple is married by the power vested in you. Also, announce the bride and the groom as wedded partners and welcome a kiss.

Officiating a wedding for your loved ones is a huge honor, and this guide will help you succeed with this responsibility. Make sure you practice and plan for a smooth process. The job of a wedding officiant comes with some tricky rules (not the kind you can break), so rehearse your public speaking and mock practice the ceremony.

In the end, it comes down to two factors – research and practice. The more you can dig touchy stories and cute anecdotes about the couple, the more personal the wedding ceremony will feel.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What are some tips on how to officiate a wedding for the first time?

  • Follow these tips to avoid any mess up while officiating a wedding for the first time:
  • Be loud and clear while making the speech. Do not forget the smile and eye contact.
  • Triple check every document before the marriage ceremony.
  • If you are not confident about your script, get it proofread by someone else.
  • Focus on the couple and add personal tidbits to make the ceremony unique and fun.
  • Practice a lot before the ceremony to be super comfortable and confident.
  • Use a printed copy of the script instead of reading it online.
  • Do not forget to mail the marriage certificate after the ceremony to ensure everything is official.

Can anyone officiate a wedding?

Yes, anyone can officiate a wedding. However, the person should be of legal age. To get a list of eligibility criteria, refer to the state authorities or the organization you have selected to get ordained.

How to find a professional wedding officiant?

The easiest way to find a wedding officiant is by searching online. You can also ask recently married friends for referrals. Talk to the wedding planners or coordinators. Visit the nearby church or your preferred house of worship for more options.

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