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The secret to a perfect wedding officiant speech (with examples)

Published Wednesday, Oct. 5th, 2022

A bride holding a large bouquet of flowers holds hands with her new husband in front of the wedding arch and wedding officiant in the moments following their marriage ceremony. The newlyweds are smiling at each other. They are outdoors, in front of a large leafy green hedge on a sunny day.
Photo by Joanna Nix-Walkup / Unsplash (cropped)

Write a memorable wedding officiant speech or wedding ceremony script with this simple advice from the pros. 



Asked to officiate a close friend or relative’s wedding ceremony, but have no idea what to say (or do) during your speech? 


First off, congratulations on being asked to officiate! It’s a huge honor to be chosen to conduct a wedding or vow renewal ceremony. As you’ve probably guessed, couples generally ask someone special to officiate, someone who’s been an important part of their journey toward marriage. 


So before you get too stressed out about what you’re going to say on the big day, take a moment to appreciate being asked. And remember: They chose you because they know you’ll do a wonderful job. 





Now, about that speech… 


It might come as a surprise to learn that a wedding officiant does not need to deliver a wedding ‘speech’ at all, at least not in the traditional sense. Take a look at the typical outline of a wedding ceremony included below, and you’ll see what we mean.


Instead of delivering a single speech, the wedding officiant speaks at several important moments throughout the wedding ceremony. You’ll also instruct the couple on when to exchange wedding vows and rings, and guide them from each part of the ceremony to the next. 


Related: The Parts of a Wedding Ceremony



The secret? 

It helps to think of a wedding ceremony as a theater play. 



It helps to think of a wedding ceremony as a theater play, instead of as delivering a speech. Although you will need to do some talking, you can keep things conversational and collaborative. 


Like a play, each person on stage has a unique role, and everyone will take turns delivering their lines from a script. (Professionals call this a wedding ceremony script.) Most importantly, the officiant will act as the stage director of a ceremony, rather than just another actor. 


The officiant’s longest speaking part is usually the ‘invocation.’ This is when you’ll welcome guests, talk about the meaning of the day, and share a few details about the couple’s love story. This is often the part of the wedding ceremony people are thinking about when they refer to an ‘officiant’s speech.’


The ceremony outline below includes examples from several sample wedding ceremony scripts.


This outline can help you better understand what to say on the big day, and the officiant’s important role as a ‘director’ in guiding the wedding ceremony. 




A wedding ceremony in progress, taken from the end of the wedding aisle. Friends and family look on and take photos while a minister marries a groom and bride.

It's helpful to think of the wedding ceremony as a theater play,

with the officiant serving as an on-stage director. 

Photo: Unsplash / Natasha Dale


Outline of a Wedding Ceremony 
with sample scripts



  • Invocation


Part One: The wedding ceremony begins. The wedding officiant welcomes guests, introduces the couple, and talks about the meaning of the day and the couple’s relationship. This part of the ceremony is probably the most similar to a traditional speech or toast.


Officiant to Guests: 

"Dear friends and family, we are gathered here today to witness and celebrate the union of [PARTNER A] and [PARTNER B]. In the years that they have been together, their love for each other has grown, turning them into the couple you see before you. Now, they are ready to spend the rest of their lives together as husband and wife."


Officiant to the Couple: 

"A true marriage begins well before the wedding day, and the efforts of marriage continue well beyond the ceremony. A brief moment in time and the stroke of the pen are all that is required to create the legal bond of marriage, but it takes a lifetime of love, commitment, and compromise to make marriage durable and everlasting."


Today you declare your commitment to each other before family and friends."


(Taken from the full sample wedding script: Short Non Religious Wedding Ceremony With Heartfelt Invocation



  • Declaration of Intent


Part Two: The couple publicly declares their intent to marry, guided by the officiant. 


Officiant to the Couple:

"With this wisdom – and your love - in mind, I now ask you:"


Officiant to Partner A:

"(Partner A), do you welcome (Partner B) to be your (wife/ husband/ spouse), and your cherished best friend?"


(Partner A responds ‘I do.’)


Officiant to Partner B:

"(Partner B), do you welcome (Partner A) to be your (husband/ wife/ spouse), and your cherished best friend?"


(Partner B responds ‘I do.’)


(Taken from the full sample wedding script: Lighthearted Wedding Ceremony Script with Funny Reading on Marriage)



  • Vows Exchange


Part Three : The couple exchange their wedding vows, either by repeating after the officiant or by reading personal vows written before the ceremony.


Officiant to the Couple:

"Your wedding vows are an outward sign of your love and commitment. While there is a legal aspect of this wedding, a signed document does not create a marriage. What creates a marriage is the promises made and kept in your hearts.


As you look lovingly at each other, you’ll speak the promises that you’re pledging for a lifetime."


Officiant to Partner A:

"(Partner A), please repeat after me:
Today, I give you my heart to hold and my life to keep
I take you as my partner in life and with this promise:
I will support you and encourage you, during the good times, and the trying times.
I will laugh with you, and cry with you, 
And love you faithfully, for all the days and sea
sons ahead of us both."


(This section is repeated for Partner B)


(From the full sample wedding script: Fall Wedding Ceremony Script with Reading From "Harvest Moon"



  • Rings Exchange


Part Four: The couple exchanges their wedding rings, sometimes this is combined with the vows. 


Officiant to the Couple:

"The wedding ring serves as a reminder of the promises you make today to each other. 

The circle is a symbol of an eternal bond -- there is no beginning and no end. That means you two are stuck with each other!"


Officiant to Partner A:

"(Partner A), place this ring on (Partner B)’s finger and repeat after me."


"I give you this ring as a symbol of my commitment and devotion.
I choose you to share in my life’s journeys. 
I give you this ring as a pledge to love you, 
today, tomorrow, always, and forever.
With no take-backs.


(Partner A repeats each of these lines in turn)


(This section is repeated for Partner B)


(From the full sample wedding script: Funny Wedding Ceremony Script with Simple Unity Ritual)



  • Pronouncement


Part Five: The wedding officiant says a few closing words on the importance of marriage and love, offers any final blessings, and pronounces the couple officially married.  


Officiant to the Couple:

"Now that you have joined yourselves in matrimony, may you strive all your lives to meet this commitment with the same love and devotion that you now possess.


By virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of (Name of State) and American Marriage Ministries, I now pronounce you husband and wife (or "spouses for life," or whatever descriptors the couple prefers)"


(From the full sample wedding script: Quick & Simple Civil Wedding Ceremony Script)




A groom smiles as the bride is escorted by two elders during an outdoor wedding ceremony

The couple should be the focus of the wedding day, not the officiant. 

Photo by Leonardo Miranda




Bringing it all together


As you can see, there’s no need for you to stress out about writing a complicated speech! 


The purpose of the wedding ceremony is to keep the focus on the couple, not the wedding officiant. You will need to do some talking, but you can keep things collaborative and conversational. You do not need to deliver a monologue, or a speech in the traditional sense.


Your role as officiant is to lovingly guide and direct the couple through each part of the wedding ceremony, while sharing details of their love story with their guests. 


Congratulations on being asked to officiate, and don’t forget to have fun! 





Get ordained online for free with American Marriage Ministries and start officiating weddings right away. 




Asked to give a wedding speech or toast? 


Here are some examples of what NOT to do! 



Avoiding a Terrible Wedding Toast -- What *Not* To Do


Illustration of a man holding up his hands and speaking




Asked to Officiate


Your step-by-step guide to the perfect wedding ceremony


Asked to Officiate is the most comprehensive and easy-to-use guide ever written for wedding officiants, designed to help new and first-time officiants to write and conduct an original wedding ceremony. 


Photo of the wedding officiant training book, Asked to Officiate, sitting on a desk with other books offered in the American Marriage Ministries store





This 'how to' guide contains detailed advice on how to write personalized wedding vows, a heartwarming invocation, and everything that goes into officiating a successful ceremony. Written by wedding professionals, this book is like having an experienced wedding officiant looking over your shoulder every step of the way!



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Outdoor photo, husband and wife signing their marriage license with the wedding officiant

What should you do if you lose your marriage license, forget to bring it to the wedding ceremony, forget to mail it after it's signed, or never even apply for one? Read the full article here. 




Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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