How to get ready to officiate a wedding

Once you’re ordained to officiate a wedding, the most exciting and rewarding part of the experience can begin. Now, you have the incredible honor of officiating friends, family and your community for marriage. But, there are a variety of things you should do to prepare for the wedding ceremony, beyond the ordination itself. Here’s everything you need to know to get ready to officiate a wedding…

Understand the legal requirements of the wedding ceremony

There’s no strict legal form to comply with when it comes to the wedding ceremony process, apart from the fact that it will need to include a Declaration of Intent. This is essentially a spoken version of the marriage license, where the couple are confirming that they do indeed want to enter into the legal ‘contract’ of the marriage, together. Aside from this required element to the ceremony, there are no strict other guidelines or particular wording you must commit to – and that means that you can customize your script as much as you and the couple desire.

Know the basics of writing your ceremony script

And that brings us to writing your script for the wedding ceremony. As the officiate, it’s your job to guide the ceremony, as well as being the person with the legal power to administer the contract between the two people who want to get married – the script of your words, gestures, and running order is the key to conducting the whole ceremony (and not to mention, making it incredible).

One of the best things about having your own officiate at the wedding is that you can customize the script exactly to your tastes, interests and personalities. It’s best to balance this personalization with remembering that the ceremony is for the audience, too, and wedding guests tend to respond best to recognizable running orders, such as making sure there are basic elements like an introduction and conclusion bookending the ceremony. A template can be extremely useful for creating this script, and of course, within this, you should familiarize yourself with the various parts of a wedding ceremony and their usual order, such as the procession, the vows exchange, and the exchanging of rings.


Think of ways to include family and friends in the wedding ceremony

Many couples and most wedding guests want to feel a part of the big day – and as the officiant, you can make sure the couple’s family and friends are involved in the ceremony. Think about how to make this a special day for everyone involved – from a Guest Blessing to start the ceremony, and speaking about the importance of the couple’s loved ones in their marriage, to having members of the family or friends give readings as part of the ceremony, to finding out which family traditions they’d like to include on their big day. All of these elements will make the family feel part of the wedding – and make the day special for everyone.


Ready to take the next steps in becoming a wedding officiant? Head to AMM for wedding ceremonies that’ll be remembered forever.