10 Quick Tips: How to Officiate a Wedding

This past weekend, I had the privilege of officiating/performing/conducting (what is the right word here?) my sister-in-law’s wedding.  The wedding was absolutely beautiful (and not just because it was on a golf course), but had a unique, rustic look.  But you’re not reading this for decoration tips, so I’ll get right to your wedding ceremony advice…wedding

  1. Pre-Marital Pre-vention.  Pre-marital counseling is a must for many reasons, but concerning the ceremony it does these 3 things: builds trust, allows you and the couple to become more familiar, & gives time to discuss the ceremony at your own pace.
  2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. When preparing your wedding template, save yourself some time and email every pastor you know that has done a wedding. Get their templates as a wedding ceremony smorgasbord, without the soft serve ice cream. Mmmmmm, soft serve…sprinkles…what was I talking about again?
  3. Research & Read. Start reading marriage books. Seriously, whether it is “Sacred Marriage”, “Real Marriage”, or “The Meaning of Marriage”…start reading and getting concepts and ideas you would like to have in the ceremony.
  4. In the multitude of counselors, there is safety. GET ADVICE! Make it simple.  What is one thing you wished you knew about doing weddings? What do I make sure to do, and what do I make sure I don’t do?
  5. Prayer. Make prayer an important part of the wedding day. Pray with the groomsmen, pray during the ceremony, and pray throughout that God would be glorified!
  6. Practice Makes Perfect. More on this next week, but the rehearsal is more than just a formality, it will eliminate a great deal of problems. Rehearsal practice is more important than you think.
  7. Don’t be Funny. OK, there may be some weddings that are less rigid and a laugh or two can happen. But whenever you’re tempted to say something funny, don’t! Stick to the script. When writing the script, if you think a joke would be good there, YOU ARE WRONG!
  8. Remember, no one will remember you (and that’s OK!). In talking to other pastors, this was a very common sentiment. What you say is important, but no one is there to listen to you and they won’t remember what you said. But that’s OK, it’s all about the celebration of two lives God has brought together, and the representation it is of Christ and His Bride! Let them remember Jesus.
  9. 3 Ring Binders are Your Friend (Especially Outdoors). I’ll make this quick. 3-ring, 5×8 binder, clear binder pockets, cut script paper into sleeves, place card stock paper in sleeves for easy turning of pages. This set up eliminates problems such as: rain, wind, and flipping of pages.
  10. Short & Sweet. The nice thing about doing weddings is everyone expects the pastor to read from a script. So do that, but time it and make sure it is not too long. Better to be a little short than a little long. Make sure to include the meaning of marriage, the Gospel, challenge to the couple…and then head straight to vows-town.

 

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