Whether you're a professional or a friend or relative who's been tapped for the job, make sure you understand what you shouldn't do during the ceremony.

By Nancy Mattia
January 28, 2019

Officiants are people too, which means they make mistakes sometimes. Whether you're having your parish priest or your best friend perform the wedding ceremony, there's always a chance that they'll need a refresher on what's expected of them. Here, we outline five things an officiant should never do. Talk through these points with the presiding over your ceremony if you have any concerns.

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Don't show up late.

The photographer could be stuck in traffic, the best man could forget the rings, snow could be falling in July, and yet the ceremony could still take place. This isn't so if the officiant is late, though. Other than the bride, groom, and witness, the officiant is a vital member of the let's-get-married team, so it's essential that you're there on time.

Don't talk too much.

You may have excellent advice and ideas about marriage, but the ceremony isn't the place to voice them all. If the couple has asked you to write a custom service, work with them to ensure the timing is right. Ultimately, though, the focus should be on the bride and groom and their love story.

Don't call the bride or groom by the wrong name.

If you've just met the couple, it's easy to understand how you could mess up someone's name, but do your best to commit the bride and groom's full names to memory before the ceremony. And, whatever you do, triple check the correct spelling before filling in the marriage license.

Don't rush through the wedding.

Even if it's getting late and you have theater tickets, as long as the bride and groom were on time, you should give their ceremony the time it deserves. Luckily, most pros understand this. One big reason why an officiant might rush through the vows? Nerves. If you're not a professional, practice the ceremony a few times through to get comfortable with what you're saying. It'll make all the difference on the big day.

Don't act like the ceremony is a roast.

As a family member or friend officiating, it's nice to inject a little personality into the ceremony, but you'll need to be careful not to turn the entire event into a joke. It's a wedding ceremony, not your standup debut!

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