The wedding officiant's role is more than leading the ceremony and signing the marriage documents. The wedding officiant embodies the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony, they enact the legal and social aspects of the day, and they are front-and-center as the couple promise themselves to each other in marriage.
On the day of the wedding, when you stand in position and take the mic, you have to be ready. The bridal party will file in, everyone will go quiet, and all attention will turn to you. You may choose to lead with solemn words, or kick things off with your best Elvis impersonation, but you've gotta have the right vibe.
The energy you give off as the Minister will set and maintain the tone of the ceremony, and this applies regardless of your couple's expression. Even if they're both shy, their love will shine through, but you need to keep the audience engaged. You don't want to be the monotone-minister with your eyes glued to the notes!
Dr. Maya Angelou once said of public speaking,
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Famous for her writing, Angelou was not saying that words and actions don't matter, but that emotions forge long lasting impressions.
This is where familiarization with the ceremony script comes in. You don't have to memorize, but you shouldn't be struggling for words during the ceremony. Familiarize yourself with the script so that you can focus on delivery, not reading. Discuss the tone of the ceremony with your couple in advance, then radiate that vibe at the ceremony.
You're the authority figure, the one who's gotta keep it all together, so stay chill. Keep a positive attitude and stay focused on your responsibilities. You may be dealing with a bride or groom-zilla, but you must remain calm, even if everyone else is overflowing with emotion.
When the ceremony begins, you will command the attention of the audience. To keep them engaged:
During the ceremony, let your eyes find spaces among the guests, or out over their heads. Pauses are great, they create dramatic effect. Take your time, and don't rush it. You got this.
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