When creating a wedding ceremony, many couples want to know how to get their family, friends, or in some cases, all of their guests involved. We love it when they do!
But adding participants can make things complicated. All of a sudden, friends and family need to know what to do, when to do it, and where to stand. As the officiant, you will be expected to provide direction for everyone. Make sure you have detailed plans for each participant.
So whether you're a creative AMM Minister, or an ambitious couple who's getting grandma up there to conduct a blessing ceremony, we have a few suggestions for you. Beyond the wedding party, here are 3 ways to involve wedding guests:
This is a very easy way to get all of the guests involved! At the start of the ceremony you can say a few words explaining the importance of community, of family and friends, and then ask the audience to express their support for the marriage. This can be done as a question, or series of questions, to which the wedding guests reply expressing their approval.
Think of a Guest Blessing like an end-of-aisle question / "giving of the bride", that's been expanded to include the entire audience. It's a great way to get everyone involved, and rehearsal is not needed because no one has to take the stage.
If your couple wants to honor specific guests during the ceremony, those people can be invited to the stage during the ceremony to give a reading. Reading slots are generally reserved for family or very close friends, people who absolutely must be involved in the ceremony or have specific wisdom to impart.
Incorporating a reading into a ceremony might take more time than you think, and it also requires coordination. You must introduce the reading, invite the individual onto the stage and get a mic ready, and following the reading they will need time to leave the stage.
Say something like: "I'd like to invite Michelle's cousin Robby to join us. Robby will be reading a poem by Ogden Nash that means a lot to the couple."
You don't want the ceremony to drag on, and for that reason we recommend no more than 2 readings. If you are planning a standard-length, 10 - 20 minute ceremony, be mindful of how much time each reading will take.
Wedding ceremony rituals can take many forms. For example, breaking the glass, handfasting, jumping the broom, ring warming, and sand ceremonies are all rituals that can be incorporated into a larger wedding ceremony. Not all rituals involve additional participants, but if your couple is looking for ways to involve guests, rituals present many, many options.
Because marriage rituals vary in length and complexity, it would be impossible to explore every option in this short list. However, many guest rituals can be introduced in the same way: you speak a few words about how honored and blessed the couple is to have supportive friends and family, and provide a welcome to the guest(s) that will be assisting.
At AMM, we're all about taking wedding ceremonies to the next level. These are a few of the ways that we have brought guests into weddings, but this is not an exhaustive list. Feel free to get creative!
It's also okay to keep the ceremony simple. Getting friends and family onto the stage is a great way to increase the vibrancy of a ceremony, but not all couples want guests to participate. In a shorter ceremony, there won't be enough time anyway.
With so many options to consider, remember that it all comes down to the tone your couple wants for their big day. To learn more and access some examples, check out (insert page and link).