As Wedding Officiants, everything we do is for the couple. However, we are also part of a team of amazing professionals who are also there for the couple. Here are four ways to make sure the other wedding professionals will appreciate you as a real team player on the big day (or maybe even before the big day):
1. The Wedding Planner: Give Them The Script!
If you prepare like I do for a wedding, then you have a ceremony script, or at least a comprehensive outline, that includes “Stage Directions,” like the order of the procession (when everyone walks in), when readers come up, when the community (my favorite term for the guests) stand and sit, etc.
A week before the wedding ceremony or rehearsal, send that script or outline to the Wedding Planner (or Site Coordinator) so they know exactly what will happen throughout the ceremony and when. It also really helps them during the rehearsal, because they are normally the ones who organize and run the practice for the procession and recession - bring a hard copy for them to the rehearsal as well. I also like to let the Wedding Planner know in that email that I defer to them during a rehearsal, and will step up and lead everyone through the ceremony when it is my time to do so.
Wedding Planners really appreciate communication and knowing the other professionals they work with are on top of it, so this will definitely let them know you came to play with and for a team!
2. The Wedding DJ: Microphones and Sound Cues!
If you have an outdoor wedding or a very large indoor wedding, you probably have some kid of amplification system run by the wedding DJ. Making sure the DJs have a copy of the script ahead of time also benefits them, since they need to know what sound cues are needed throughout the ceremony. For instance, I officiated a wedding during which the couple and their witnesses signed the marriage licence, and the great DJ Tony de la Torre (DJ DLT) was asked to play “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by the incomparable Stevie Wonder during this moment.
Having the script ahead of time (thanks to amazing Planner/Coordinator Prasada Squillace), DJ DLT knew exactly what was going to be said before the song played, and I let him know before the ceremony I’d also give him a little nod, just to make sure he had an audio and visual cue. When you send the script to the DJ, be sure it is clear as to who all will need a microphone. Speaking of microphones...
Since the DJ is also most often the person in charge of the wireless microphones used during the ceremony (sometimes it is the videographer, so be aware), it is always good to check in with them about how you can best help make sure everyone who speaks during the ceremony - you, any readers or presenters, and, of course, the happy couple - are properly amplified. The DJ will be happy and relieved to know they have another teammate during the ceremony to help with the logistics of sound, and your thoughtfulness and forethought will not go unappreciated.
3. The Wedding Florists, Designers, Artist, and Venue Staff: Give them a Shout Out!
This is the simplest and easiest step, which means it is often the one that most often goes overlooked. If you post a photo of yourself officiating, and you are wearing a lovely boutonniere or corsage, standing under a gorgeous trellis, or surrounded by an amazing setting, be sure to credit the amazing wedding professionals who contributed to that beauty!
They always not only appreciate the recognition, but deserve the recognition. A good team member always shares the credit and lets the other teammates shine! Of course, you will also always, always, always, want to credit the photographer, which leads me to my final (and most crucial) piece of advice...
4. The Photographer: Emote, Set Up the Shot, and Get Out of the Way!
I will be submitting a future article soon that explains how to best support the photographer, since this support is integral to the ceremony you will be celebrating. Simply put: Photographers love the thoughtfulness of officiants who can have body language and facial expressions that match the tone of the moment. They appreciate officiants who work ahead of time with the couple to practice holding their hands angled outward during the ring exchange, and step to the side when the couple shares vows, exchanges rings, and kisses for the first time as a married couple.
Being aware of the shots the photographer wants and doing your best to help support and provide that will make you an invaluable team player for them. Checking in with them ahead of time to let them know you will do the above also means the world to them, as it gives them one less element of their job to worry about. Weddings should be about celebration, not worry! And of course, credit ANY photo you use of theirs (with their and the couple’s permission) on social media, and try not to crop their shot and definitely DO NOT use a filter - respect their work they way they respect yours!
So there you have it! Wedding professionals will love and appreciate the time, effort, and thoughtfulness you put into working with them. The couple will love and appreciate how professionally and positively everyone worked together as a team. The community present at the ceremony will love and appreciate how smoothly everything went. And YOU can look back on your work as a team player, resting assured that you have just brought more love and appreciation into the world!
This article was written for American Weddings by guest contributor Matt McMurphy.
Matt is a professional wedding officiant living in the northern Bay Area of California who creates and leads wedding ceremonies personalized for the couple that help everyone recognize, declare, and celebrate the love that is between the couple and ever-present in our world.
In addition to performing beautiful wedding ceremonies for every couple, Matt offers coaching in writing and presenting wedding vows and toasts, so that couples and their loved ones are confident and prepared for the big day. He also offers a NEW service coaching first-time officiants in crafting wedding scripts and delivering the best ceremonies for the families or friends who have chosen them for the honor.