How to Officiate a Wedding Ceremony

The bride and groom ask you to officiate their wedding, and you’re honored and humbled. In excitement, you accept the challenge, “YES!” you say. Usually, wedding couples will ask someone to officiate many months ahead, so there should be lots of time to prepare. Saying “yes” months away from something is easy until you actually have to do it.
Now, before we try to whip you into shape, first make sure you actually get ordained. That would be proper. Wedding couples will most certainly want you to be. Watching a 5-minute video on YouTube on how to officiate a wedding will not do. But, our article may.

The best way to start the wedding ceremony is to lighten things up. People are on the edge of their chairs both nervous and excited. A little bit of laughter goes a long way to making people relax enough to let their shoulder’s down.

So, first, introduce yourself, and why and how you know the wedding couple. You can make a brief joke about the real officiant having car trouble, so they grabbed you from the line at the bar, and you’re a little upset you lost your place in line. Or, say that you just met the couple and they offered you $10 and 3 free drinks if you’d just “read this script.” Whatever little quip you can do to make people smile before the more serious wedding ceremony, will certainly make wedding guests feel more at home.


Don’t just show up to a wedding ceremony and think your pastoral abilities will naturally kick in. I mean how hard could it be?

Imagine it as a stand-up gig with a really tough crowd. If you do get a laugh, it will be more of nervous laughter than a comedy crowd roar.


Talking to the wedding couple before the wedding ceremony is crucial. Find out what is OK to say, and what might push the envelope with someplace they choose not to go. Some of the questions you can discuss are, how long the wedding ceremony should be? Will they be saying their own vows that they wrote up? Whatever you do, do not come to the wireless lapel mic and wing it, or think you’ll do some improv. Know the facts, and rehearse and prepare.


Remember, it’s the couple’s big day, not yours. Even though you can prepare like a famous star, you don’t have to act like one. We’re sure you’ll be great at it.


Throw in a line like a best man or your maid of honor might throw out at their speech before dinner. Like, “Something you may have not known about Steph and Tim is that they couldn’t stand each other at first until they bumped into each other on the ski slope. But fortunately, it wasn’t downhill after that. They kissed and the rest was history.

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