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Rock the Mic Like an AMM Minister -- Handling Ceremony Interruptions

Published Tuesday, Dec. 29th, 2020

Illustrations by Jessica Levey

Handling Unexpected Issues at the Ceremony

We recently worked with a couple that was searching for a minister who could do it all. The couple asked for someone who could deliver a beautiful and personal wedding ceremony, while also entertaining the crowd and managing the moment.


Now, you may think, “Isn’t that all the same?” Well, yes and no.


Within a wedding ceremony, there are the words you say and the performance you give. The best wedding officiants excell at both creative writing and public speaking. But everyone has their own style and skill set, and finding your balance will require some practice and research.


If you’re reading this as a bride or groom, this means that considering both the composition and delivery you want for your ceremony will help you find the right minister. (For more help narrowing down your choices, read Choosing a Wedding Officiant: What (or Who) Are Your Options?)



how to perform a wedding, marriage officiant, planning a wedding ceremony, how to deal with mistakes, illustration of AMM minister

Ministers with good improvisational skills can handle any surprise!



Weddings typically involve a lot of people, inviting the unexpected to occur. We've been to beach ceremonies with strangers shouting inappropriately, seen kids in the ceremony get distracted, dealt with fainting members of the bridal party, and much more. But ministers with good improvisational skills can handle all of these surprises and more, adding a little extra levity to the ceremony or (in extreme cases) averting disaster.


As a minister, you're in charge of managing the ceremony and must act responsibly to deal with anything that comes up. You always want to maintain a positive tone, and bring the attention back to the couple and their day.


With any outburst or surprise, you have three options:



Let it Be

It's always best to continue the ceremony, so recognize when an interruption doesn't need a response. Learn when to just let it be.


For example, don't talk back to a heckler at an outdoor wedding. This sort of disruption doesn't need a response, and you don't want to start a fight. Instead, keep the focus on the couple.


(Read Did I Just Say That? -- 3 Ways to Handle Wedding Ceremony Mistakes)



How to handle wedding ceremony mistakes and interruptions, how to perform marriage, wedding officiant illustration with couple


Some ceremony surprises will add to the levity and joy of the day.


Roll With It


If something unexpected but cute, fun, or endearing happens, roll with it! Give it a quick acknowledgement and then get the ceremony back on track as quickly as possible.


For example, if a child participating in the ceremony gets distracted, a quick "Isn’t she so cute?” or “Aww, he seems a bit shy...” will smooth things over (and keep things moving) while the parents step in to help, and the ceremony continues as planned.


(Read 5 Wedding Ceremony Gaffes, Blunders, and Mistakes to Avoid)



Speak Up


Occasionally, an interruption will occur that can’t be brushed off or ignored. Know when to speak up! If this happens, be ready with an announcement that a pause is needed but that you'll continue the ceremony as quickly as possible.


For example, if a bridesmaid faints, the ceremony must be stopped to provide aid. Make a quick announcement to let guests know there will be a quick break, and then, once the bridesmaid is attended to and feeling okay, the ceremony can resume.




You’ve got this!


With these tips for managing the unexpected, you’re gonna rock the mic like an AMM Minister.


(Everything's easier when you're prepared! Read 4 things you might forget the day of the wedding (and what to do about it), and order a copy of Asked to Officiate for step-by-step instructions on how to perform marriage, work with couples and their families, and create a custom ceremony that fits.)


Danny Noonan
Danny Noonan

Staff Writer

Danny spends his time staying up late listening to dusty records in his ever-expanding collection, and waking up early to hike in the majestic landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. He says that the only experience better than officiating someone else's wedding was his own wedding.

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