Published: Tuesday, Sep. 8th, 2020

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

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


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


But even an organized, conscientious officiant will sometimes forget a detail. This is especially true for first time officiants, or when officiating a friend’s wedding with an informal vibe.


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, 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! Help move any rental equipment and food under nearby coverings before turning your focus to soggy clothing, and protect important paperwork from damage (keep ceremony notes and marriage licenses dry). Then regroup and reassess. Above all else, stay in good spirits! A spring shower doesn’t have to ruin the day.


It’s a great idea to pack an umbrella beside your wedding emergency kit, along with rain gear, a protective folio, and a change of clothes and socks. Check the weather forecast the night before and the morning of.



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. 


(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 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.


Having a light meal before leaving the house will keep your energy up, and bringing a few packaged snacks and drinks along can be a life saver during unexpected delays. 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. 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.


Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!