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Helpful Tips for the First-Time Wedding Officiant

Published Wednesday, Jul. 8th, 2020

Close up view of bride holding sunflowers and wearing a white dress, next to and officiant reading from a book and the wedding ceremony script, and the groom, wearing a dark suit and a white flower in his lapel. They are outside during the ceremony.

Asked to officiate a wedding ceremony? Tips from from expert officiants to help you succeed



If you've been asked to officiate, you probably already know that a greal deal of your success will come from your ceremony preparation and planning months ahead of the wedding. But, here are some important and helpful details to remember on the Big Day - you know, those "little things" that really add up at when all is said and done, and will help make or break your success as an officiant!


  • Discuss your attire with the couple so there are no surprises.


  • Attend and help run the rehearsal.


  • Have the venue address(es) and a prepared route ready to go prior to the rehearsal and ceremony. (If you’re unfamiliar with the area, this is even more important.)


  • Make several printed and digital backup copies of the ceremony script.


  • Keep your scripts, credentials, and other important documents like the marriage license organized and in one place at all times. 


  • Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before the ceremony, or take any over-the-counter drugs that may affect your ability to speak, focus, and think clearly.


  • Arrive early to check in with the couple and prepare for the ceremony. Don’t show up late or push your commute until the last possible minute.


  • Double check the forecast! Changes in weather can drastically affect traffic routes and commute times, and if the ceremony is outdoors, you’ll need to adjust or plan your attire accordingly.



Groom, officiant, and groomsmen stand on the stairs during the wedding ceremony, in the foreground the flower girl approaches!



  • Check the sound system, and go over any ceremony timing and cues with the DJ/musicians.


  • If you’re performing a unity candle ceremony - or any other unity ceremony - check that matches, a lighter, a table, etc. are prepared.


  • Check with the Best Man (or the Ringbearer) to make sure they are in possession of the rings.


  • When you ask guests to rise for the bride, don’t forget to instruct them to be seated afterward.


  • If it’s an unplugged ceremony, kindly remind guests to silence their phones and put them away.


  • Don’t read from a tablet or phone. (Our Officiant Folio isn’t just for keeping your ceremony documents organized – it also looks polished and professional at the altar!)


  • Don’t wear a large smartwatch or keep your phone in your front pocket. As a general rule, avoid wearing anything that’s flashy or distracting.


  • When it’s time for the couple to kiss, remember to step out of the way!


  • Sign and complete the marriage license with the couple and any witness(es), if required, immediately following the ceremony. 


  • File the completed marriage license according to the instructions provided. If it’s the couple’s responsibility, make sure they follow through!




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Wedding officiant reads from the wedding ceremony script, he is smiling and gesturing with a happy expression



Lewis King
Lewis King

Lewis is AMM's executive director. He also wears other hats at AMM, like taking out the recycling, restocking the sparkling water, and watering the office plants.

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