Published: Friday, Oct. 8th, 2021
It’s the wedding day. In fact, we’re live and the ceremony is underway!
Friends and family have gathered in a beautifully decorated room, where lilacs and heather placed along the aisle fill the cool spring air with the heady scent of love.
The bride grins at the groom over the altar as their wedding officiant passes her the small notecard with her carefully written marriage vows.
She takes a deep breath to steady her nerves, smiles, and begins to read:
“Chris, my best friend and love of my life, I promise to ke--”
Suddenly, a cell phone rings. And it keeps ringing. BRRRrrrrriiiiiiingggg! BRRRrrrrriiiiiiingggg!
The bride, startled into silence, looks to the wedding officiant in confusion.
Heads turn in search of the offender. Disapproving murmurs rises up from the crowd. Seconds rush past, while the phone only seems to grow louder. A tired baby in the back of the room starts to cry.
All eyes finally land on Uncle Terry, who’s fumbling for the phone in his pocket in a panic at the back of the room, desperate to make it stop.
Somewhere in the sea of guests, Aunt Tilda -- who flew in all the way from Arizona, by the way -- sighs heavily and curses under her breath, but it’s loud enough that her 12-year-old nephew Rodney hears, and snickers out loud...
We’ve all sat through the wedding ceremony where someone forgets to turn off their ringer, accidentally answers a call on speaker phone, or starts wailing because they’re cranky and in need of a nap (we’re looking at you, under 5 crowd!).
Not to mention the grumblers, loud talkers, overly-enthusiastic holiday imbibers, nonstop coughers, and paparazzi-wannabe flash photographers that can all too easily throw a ceremony off track.
And, despite our very best intentions… Sometimes we’re the one on the receiving end of those angry glares. Sometimes we’re Uncle Terry!
We've all been to this wedding
‘Housekeeping’ messages or instructions are simple directions given by a wedding officiant to the wedding guests at the very beginning of the ceremony. They’re usually included right before the ceremony starts, or as the very first part of the officiant’s welcome.
Some couples may choose to include a version of these notes on their wedding invitations, in the wedding program, or on decorative signs at the entrance to the ceremony space, instead.
Wedding officiants and couples should work together when deciding what to include in a housekeeping list. Wedding officiants with previous experience can offer many good suggestions, and couples can add their personal preferences to the mix, creating a personalized (and perfect!) beginning to the wedding ceremony script.
Keep things simple, and don’t be afraid to add a little humor to your instructions if it fits the tone of the ceremony.
Something as simple as:
“Welcome to Chris and Shiza’s wedding! Before we get these two married, please take a moment to make sure your phones are turned off or set them to silent. The couple asks that you don’t use your phones during the ceremony, and have placed disposable cameras on each of your seats to use for photos instead.”
“Welcome, you beautiful people! Before we bring out today’s stars, take a minute to turn off your cell phone or set it to vibrate. We promise you can get right back to tweets and Facebook posts about this long overdue day as soon as the ceremony’s over.”
Keep the spotlight where it should be... on the couple getting married!
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