Published: Friday, May. 14th, 2021
If you’re officiating a micro wedding, there’s one habit that will make all the difference in writing a killer ceremony script:
Consider it this way... You probably wouldn’t tell a story about a wild weekend in the same way to your parents as you would to your best friends (if you’d even tell your parents at all). You’d likely leave out a few details and highlight others, and you might even change the words you choose, or your tone of voice.
The same idea applies to micro weddings! You don’t want to write and deliver the same wedding script to 50 of a couple’s closest friends as you would to a crowd of 300 distant relatives or coworkers.
By knowing their audience, awesome officiants can further tailor a ceremony script to suit the couple and the guest list. This ensures everyone in attendance feels comfortable and included, and that the couple doesn’t end up embarrassed (or in hot water with the in-laws).
And because of their size and creativity, micro weddings require a unique approach. They bring more of the wedding’s focus onto the ceremony itself -- especially the vows. With smaller ceremonies as the dominant trend for 2021 and 2022, it’s never been more important for officiants to write for the room!
So before you draft the first line of your wedding welcome or practice the words, “We’re gathered here today,” ask yourself -- and the couple -- 3 important questions…
Will there be an audience of 5, 50, or 150? And importantly for our modern times -- how many additional guests will be joining over Zoom or Skype?
The size of the gathering will impact your delivery. For example, you’ll need to speak up to be heard by a larger crowd, and decide during the rehearsal how to position yourself so that everyone can easily see you and the couple. If guests are attending virtually, be sure to include a few words in the ceremony to acknowledge their presence and make them feel like a part of the day.
It’s probably safe to assume that anyone who makes it onto a micro wedding’s guest list is close to the couple, but it's helpful to gather more information before you start planning what to say.
For example, is the ceremony a strict family-only affair, or is there a generous plus-one (or plus-four!) policy? Has everyone on the guest list met both of the people being married? Are there out-of-town guests who haven’t seen the couple in over a decade, who might want to hear about a few milestones they’ve missed?
Answering these types of questions will help you write an appropriate wedding welcome, and choose which details to include while telling the couple’s story, including how they met, how their relationship has evolved, and what they hope for the future. This information will also help you decide the types of anecdotes to include, along with any guidance the couple gives you on tone and feel.
Should there be a ‘spiritual but not religious’ blessing to appease religious family members? Will other guests be alarmed by witnessing vows in a cemetery or bus station, or confused by a wedding officiant wearing a Viking helmet?
Micro weddings give couples the opportunity to get creative with their ceremony, and to toss out boring traditions that don’t suit them in favor of alternatives that do. But the free-spirited nature of smaller ceremonies also creates more opportunities for confusion and misplaced expectations.
Luckily, as a wedding officiant, you have the power to write a ceremony that takes pressure off the couple to defend their tastes by describing the symbolism and importance of these unique elements as they happen.
For example, at the start of a handfasting ritual, you might talk about the history and meaning of the handfasting cord, or its roots in Irish and Scottish tradition. If the ceremony is held in an unusual location, you might offer a story about why it’s meaningful -- maybe the couple met in a long line while trying to buy a bus ticket, or maybe cemeteries remind them of the precious nature of life and their connection to their ancestors.
The words you choose will not only allow guests to feel like they are valued and part of the couple’s story, but they’ll help them understand any unfamiliar elements. This will make everyone feel more comfortable, and ensure a successful micro wedding ceremony delivery!
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