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How to Officiate a Christmas Wedding Ceremony

Published Tuesday, Dec. 5th, 2023

Photo: kkshepel / iStock

Officiate your first Christmas wedding or elopement with this simple advice



With parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow… plus much mistletoeing, and hearts all a-glowing, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, for weddings! 

Christmas weddings and elopements are an unforgettable gift of the season, filled to the brim with colorful lights, laughter, and love… not to mention spiced cider toasts and post-ceremony parties. 

If you’ve been asked to officiate a Christmas wedding, you’re in for a real treat. Just remember that showing up well-prepared is the best present you can give the happy couple. 

Follow the steps below to officiate a sweet seasonal ceremony, including online ordination, officiant registration, ceremony planning with the lucky couple, and creating a custom wedding script. 



Christmas themed wedding bouquet sitting on wooden table next to a small horse ornament

Photo: Nick Karvounis / Unsplash



6 Steps to Officiate a Christmas wedding ceremony


1. Get Ordained online to officiate


The first step is to become ordained to officiate, and to complete any required minister registration in the state where the ceremony will take place (if needed). Click the links below to begin: 



2. Ask the wedding couple to describe their perfect ceremony


Ask the couple to describe their perfect holiday wedding, and then ask follow-up questions to make sure you understand. 


For example, do they want a religious or nonreligious ceremony? Will the ceremony be Christmas themed, with lyrics from holiday carols sprinkled in (as we did in the opening paragraph), or is a traditional ceremony script preferred? Will there be a seasonal unity ceremony, elves as attendants, or holiday music? Will guests be dressed in tacky holiday sweaters or formal wear? And should you dress up as Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus, or stick with something subdued? 


All these questions and more will help you understand the type of ceremony your couple wants. Once you’ve worked out the details, it’s time to start writing the script!



Close up photo of a bucket of ice with champagne bottle cooling and two flutes, with a christmas tree and colorful lights in the background

Photo: JESHOOTS.COM / Unsplash

Christmas champagne toast, anyone?


3. Write a wedding ceremony script 


Write a wedding ceremony outline from scratch, or use a professional officiant script or template to get started. 


Once you have the basic script outline, personalize the script with details from the couple’s love story and add in transitional wording for any unity rituals or special readings. Here are a few resources to help you get started: 


Browse AMM’s Ceremony Script Library, with over 120 wedding scripts



4. Practice, practice, practice! 


Read your script out loud until it feels familiar and natural, but don’t try to memorize it; you’ll have a copy of your script with you during the ceremony to stay on track.


Pay attention to how long your script takes to read and make changes as needed. Practice any special unity rituals included in the ceremony so there are no surprises on the wedding day. The resources below will help you get started: 




Close up photo of an ornament that spells 'love' in christmas tree branches

Photo: engin akyurt / Unsplash



5. Officiate the ceremony 


Friends and family dressed in holiday styles, and in the air there's a feeling of Christmas… It's the wedding day!


The officiant's most important job (besides signing the marriage license) is to make things as calm and joyful for the couple as possible.
Arrive at the wedding venue early, talk to any special guests involved in the ceremony to make sure they have everything they need, and keep your energy and focus on the stars of the day -- the couple! 
Make sure you have a copy of the wedding script with you, and don’t forget to have fun! Below are a few links to help ensure you’re prepared: 




6. Sign the marriage license (and return if necessary)

It’s the couple’s responsibility to apply for their marriage license and bring it to the ceremony.


After you’ve performed the ceremony, you’ll complete and sign the license. You can read all about filling out the marriage license on our Officiant Training pages. 
Some states require the wedding officiant to return the license, while others encourage the couple to return it themselves. And all states have a deadline for when the license must be returned! Find out the rules for your county and state, and file as directed.





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Newlyweds kiss during the wedding recession or wedding exit, while friends and family hold up sparklers above them in the shape of an arch
Asked to officiate, but not sure what your responsibilities are after the ceremony is over? 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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