...the Officiant? The Bride? The Groom? Siri?
Short answer: it depends. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to who should write the wedding ceremony. Every couple, and every situation, every ceremony, is different. Since we’re particularly close to the officiating side of the wedding world, we used to assume that the ceremony was almost always written by the friend or family member who was being asked to perform the ceremony -- the officiant! However, what we have found over the years is that the couple often wants to write their own ceremony.
That said, it’s still worth pointing out a few things to help you decide who picks up the pen and who delivers the ceremony. Even if the officiant is going to write the wedding ceremony, it will make their life easier (and the ceremony better) if the the couple is involved in the ceremony creation process.
Basically, a good ceremony starts and ends with teamwork, so settle in.
...wait what does this say again?
Before crafting the ceremony it helps for the couple and their officiant to get to know each other. A lot of the most inspired wedding decisions are based on a gut feeling, but that only happens if folks are really in tune with what’s going on. That’s precisely why so many couples are reaching out to friends and family members to perform their ceremonies -- it might even be why you’re reading this article right now!
To make sure that you are assigning tasks to the right person, the couple and officiant should start by meeting early on to discuss the overall feel of the ceremony. This is a chance for the officiant to provide the couple with multiple options for reading and other components so the couple can select pieces that fit them. (Need inspiration? Click here!) It’s also a chance for the couple to read and edit the ceremony, minus any private pieces (e.g. personalized vows, save those for the big day), so the couple feels comfortable that the ceremony truly suits them.
After you're finished the script, review it a few weeks later with fresh eyes.
Is it your first time officiating? Don’t worry, we got you fam! Get familiar with the ceremony structure and writing process early. Our very own Asked to Officiate is the best way to learn everything you need to know, and how to deliver it.
If the couple is writing the wedding ceremony, it takes some of the pressure off the friend or family member. However, just because the officiant is not writing the ceremony doesn’t mean that he or she is out of the picture. The couple still needs to involve them in the ceremony creation process since the officiant will have to read the words that were written for them, with proper emotion and conviction, on the couple’s wedding day.
Making sure that everyone is grooving to the same beat, figuratively, can be accomplished by getting everyone together nice and early -- a few months before the ceremony -- to discuss the feel they are going for. This meeting is a chance to share the ceremony together and make sure that everyone understands how the ceremony is going to flow, and make sure they are all comfortable with it. Be sure to plan for one final get-together shortly before the wedding day for reviewing together so that everyone is (literally) on the same page with the ceremony.
Is this your first time officiating? Don't worry, we got you fam!
A quick word of caution to the officiants reading this: it is much harder to deliver words that don’t fit who you are. You aren’t reading Shakespeare in English class, this is a ceremony, and you are the emcee. You’ve gotta be into it!
As you can see from the above, no matter who is writing the wedding ceremony, the process of creating the ceremony needs to start early and include both the couple and person who was asked to officiate. In the end, the person who is most qualified should do the writing.
The reality is that the officiant has perspective on the couple’s relationship that he or she might be best equipped to communicate. Alternatively, the officiant might be better at delivery, and the bride might be an awesome writer. In that case, let her do the writing. In the end, the ceremony is going to be a collective effort, with everyone doing what they do best.
That said, we cannot stress enough the importance of preparation when it comes to creating the ceremony. Whether you’re on your own for the majority of the ceremony or working with the couple’s detailed vision and instruction, our popular wedding ceremony creation and delivery book Asked to Officiate is an invaluable resource. You don’t get a lot of chances to get it right (hopefully just once for the couple!) - so do your homework!