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Attention Officiants: 4 things you might forget the day of the wedding (and what to do about it)

Published Tuesday, Sep. 8th, 2020

Wedding officiants: You'll probably forget these four things at least once, but don't worry! We've all been there.


Follow these simple tips to keep small mishaps from turning into wedding day disasters.




You love making a couple’s wedding day special, seeing friends get together to celebrate, and watching couples laugh, kiss, dance, and cheer their way into a new life. Heck, you even love the long hours of behind-the-scenes work it takes to make sure the day looks effortless!


You love everything about it... that’s why you were asked to officiate!


Read: ...So What Does an Officiant Really Do?


But even an organized and conscientious officiant will sometimes forget a detail or two. This is especially true for first time officiants, or when officiating a friend’s wedding with an informal vibe. (Don't worry, we've all been there!)


Here are four things you’ll forget at least once and how to recover gracefully. 




1. You’ll forget about construction and traffic


Suburbs, cities, rural towns, and everywhere in between… No matter where you are, the risk of literal roadblocks materializing out of nowhere is real. If you find yourself weaving through a maze of orange traffic cones or trapped behind slow moving wildlife on your way to a venue, don’t panic.


Channel your inner cab driver (or ask GPS) and find another route to your destination. If you’re really cutting it close, call or text to let the nearlyweds know your new arrival time.


Glare at your fellow drivers if you must, but stay calm. You’ll get there eventually, and everyone will recover more easily if you’re still in good spirits when you do.


To prevent this, plan alternate routes ahead of time, check traffic and construction updates the day of the wedding, bring a spare tire, and leave early to arrive at the venue an hour (or more) in advance.



2. You’ll forget it rains


This is especially common as seasons start to change. After weeks of sunshine and cloudless skies, a sudden downpour seems downright rude, catching many a guest (and officiant) off guard.


Act fast when fooled by temperamental weather. Moments matter! Protect important paperwork from damage -- keep ceremony notes and marriage licenses dry. Help move any rental equipment and food under nearby coverings before turning your focus to soggy clothing, then regroup and reassess.


Above all else, stay in good spirits! A spring shower doesn’t have to ruin the day, and in some cultures a little rain on the wedding day is even considered good luck. 


It’s a great idea to pack an umbrella in your wedding emergency kit, along with a rain jacket, a protective folio for your wedding script, and a change of clothes, shoes, and socks. Check the weather forecast the night before and the morning of the wedding to play it safe.



Close up photo of a wedding officiant leading a bride and groom during an outdoor wedding ceremony, the bride wears a white lace dress and the groom is dressed in a dark gray suit, the photo shows only their torsos



3. You’ll forget to get out of the way for photos


This is most likely to happen when you’re officiating weddings for friends or close family members whom you feel comfortable around. The pronouncement is made, the blissful newlyweds come together to embrace, you lean forward in shared excitement, and click!’re in their first-kiss photo, forever and always. 


Related: Read about the different parts and order of a wedding ceremony.


Correct this minor fumble by stepping back quickly to give the photographer another chance to snap the moment. An experienced photographer will be taking lots of shots, and if guests are taking photos, too, there will be several angles to choose a great picture from. 


To avoid this mishap, discuss where the photographer will be ahead of time, keep it in mind during rehearsal, and work together to keep the excitement in frame -- and yourself out of it.


Read: Making it Click: 4 Ways an Officiant Can Make the Wedding Photographer’s Life Easier



4. You’ll forget to eat


This isn’t just a problem that's common for spouses-to-be. Officiants forget to eat on the day of the wedding, too! With all the excitement and logistical wizardry of the day, scheduling a meal can slip through the cracks.


If you’re starving but have arrived with plenty of time before the ceremony, dash out for a granola bar or three or have a nearby restaurant deliver something discreetly. As a last resort, check with other vendors who might have something quick and easy to quiet your stomach.


Have a light meal before leaving the house to keep your energy up, and bring a few packaged snacks and drinks along. This can be a life saver during unexpected delays. Always fuel up to stay sharp for the essential details of the day!


Read: Wedding Ceremony Disasters and How to Avoid Them




Remember, plans change!


No matter what comes up, a positive attitude and optimistic outlook are your best problem solving tools.


Next, and check out our comprehensive guide Asked to Officiate for everything you need to know - including how to get ordained, meet with the couple, and write, rehearse, direct, and deliver the perfect ceremony.



Asked to Officiate

Your Complete Guide to a Perfect Ceremony 


Cover image of AMM's wedding ceremony planning guide Asked to Officiate for new wedding officiants and wedding ministers.


Asked to Officiate is the definitive book that teaches you how to perform marriage. Learn how to write a wedding ceremony, how to conduct weddings, work on the vows with the couple, and more! This book is like having an experienced wedding officiant looking over your shoulder every step of the way.





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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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