This article discusses how to perform a marriage ceremony, from the consultation to officiating the ceremony itself. You will discover numerous ideas and useful tips to assist you to be the most professional ceremony minister you can be. Whether It is your very first ceremony or your 20th, it is always a good idea to seek out ways to improve.
Rev Amy Long has written an outstanding discourse on how to conduct wedding services. The Universal Life Church Seminary offers a lot of free training and free mini-courses, in addition to free ordination , so you can perform weddings, start a church, or follow your calling.
Throughout this paper I wish to share with you the important issues that happen performing the legalization of a marriage (performing weddings) so that a smooth as well as professional ceremony may be officiated by the reverend, for the bride and groom.
Each state has its own rules about who can perform ceremonies within its borders. If you’re unsure, call the local county recorder’s office in which the ceremony will occur and let them know that you are a newly ordained officiant and would like to know whether or not you will need to register or follow any additional procedures before performing a wedding ceremony within that state. They should be able to assist you. If they appear to not have any idea at all, it is most likely a state in which you don’t need to register. Please review the marriage laws for your state to double-check.
When I arrive at a consultation, I usually bring my entire wedding binder. I do this for 2 reasons: Firstly, if I have my binder, then I’ve got all of the facts available to me to show the couple.
Secondly, I have pictures inside the binder, which I sprinkled on different pages of the binder, so the brides and grooms see the various pictures of me with many different couples. This reminds them that I am indeed a practiced professional and they will also see my minister attire.
The way I do the first meeting is that first I tell them over the phone a little about the way I do the ceremony. I explain to the couple that the wedding ceremony is broken down into parts and that they’re encouraged to choose which of the ceremony parts they like, make the ceremony as quick or long, religious or secular, funny or solemn as they want and are also encouraged to tailor it to please themselves. I also offer them a free copy of my book, The Ultimate Wedding and Ceremony Workbook for the ‘Planning-Impaired’ to assist the couple design their ceremony. Every one of the ceremony parts are listed in the back of the book for them to pick from and there is a page of processional examples to assist the couple to decide on that part of the ceremony. Each page can be ripped out.
I personally find it easiest to have the bride and groom make the decision by themselves about the words to be spoken at their ceremony. I have frequently been asked whether the bride and groom composed the ceremony words themselves, because the ceremony so perfectly reflected who they seemed to be together. Also, by providing them a copy of the aforementioned workbook, I’m also giving the couple with tons of planning info and also the opportunity to make any changes necessary to the ceremony themselves. This saves me a good deal of time as well as puts back the control into the hands of the couple.
Having the book has made my job much more simple because now I just explain the ceremony sections, give them the workbook and let them put together the ceremony that most suits them.
When I get together with the couple, I let them see my binder, explain each and every one of the wedding parts, jot down the specifics of their wedding using a worksheet and ask for a deposit. (This, naturally, is only after I have asked them if they have any questions and if they’ve decided. A deposit assures me that in the off-chance that the wedding becomes cancelled, or if they are not really serious, my time was not wasted, and the workbook was paid for. The deposit also guarantees the couple the time-slot of their wedding is available for them.
The Wedding Itself
For the service itself, I make it a point to maintain the groom’s attention until the his bride arrives at the beginning of the aisle runner to begin walking. He’s not permitted to turn to look at her till then. After I announce for the guests to stand, blocking his view we all get to enjoy the expression on the groom’s face when he gazes upon his bride in her dress for the first time.
I ask the couple to turn and look at one another and hold hands throughout the service. A single very essential point is: Don’t forget to tell the guests to please be seated after the ceremony has started. Or at least gesture for them to take a seat.
Sign the wedding license either directly before or immediately following the service then make sure have the Best Man and Maid of Honor sign it. Place it back inside the envelope and make sure the mother of the bride, maid of honor, or at the least 2 other people from of the wedding party are made aware of where you put it. You certainly can mail it on your own, of course, if the paperwork is ready to go, but the paperwork is seldom prepared, so I usually give the paperwork back to them to walk in themselves.
Your title is ‘officiant’ and I usually write ‘non-denom’ for the denomination. This makes it easier and nobody has ever before had any questions about it. Very important: No Cross-Outs! What you put is what has to to stay there, otherwise, you may have to bear the cost of a replacement one.
I have, in the past, brought my own camera to each ceremony I conducted to be certain I would received a photo of me with the bride and groom, but as soon as you have a good number of photos, it is not as important. Always make it a point to pose together with them right at the beginning of the picture-taking.
The most essential thing of all though, is to enjoy yourself officiating the wedding. Show them your pearly whites when you’re performing the wedding service and revel in the joy of the glowing couple on their best day!