Preparing To Officiate a Wedding Ceremony

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Step 5 - Rehearse and Internalize

At this point you should have a polished ceremony with (more or less) the final wording. In the weeks and days leading up to the ceremony, we recommend that you set some time aside each day to practice the script.

Set some time aside each day to practice reading the ceremony script aloud. This should take between five and ten minutes each time, maybe even less. The following are thing you can work on to perfect the ceremony.

Be Aware of Your Cadence

Use a stopwatch to find out how long it takes you to speak the ceremony. This is a great way for you to get a clear idea of how long you will be speaking. After doing this several times, you will also have a better idea of when you are rushing. When it comes to public speaking, it is important to speak slowly. Because of the adrenaline rush, most people with little public speaking experience tend to speak too fast. Knowing how much time the ceremony should take will give you an indication of whether and how much you should pace yourself.

Memorize The Script

You don't have to, but we HIGHLY recommend that you do this. You will find that if you just set aside 20 minutes a day to internalize the script, you will be surprised at how easy it is to memorize.

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Create Practice Opportunities

We all have busy lives and it may be hard to set aside time to practice the ceremony script. Think about places in your every day schedule where you can squeeze in a practive session. Practice in the morning while getting ready for work, or in the car during your commute, etc. There are many moments during your day that you will be able to set aside to memorize the script.

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Practice The Motions

Conducting a wedding ceremony is not just a function of saying the words. It is a performative event, and just like theater, to do it well, it is important to think of the gestures and actions that will be happening on stage. For instance, what actions do you do during the Rings Exchange or during the Declaration of Intent?

In theater, this is referred to as "blocking". Once you have memorized the words, your brain will be freed up to focus more on the actions associated with the words. Block out all these actions so that they are paired with the corresponding words. So for instance, you will know to turn to each couple when delivering the Declaration of Intent.

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Dress Practice

Wear something fancy, hold a book, use the script as a prop. You will notice that this may throw off your previous work at memorization and blocking.

With a prop in hand, such as a Bible or ceremony script notes, you may notice that you will have to modify certain actions. For example, if you are involved in handling rings during the rings exchange. Which hand will be holding the book? Which hand will give the rings to the couple. These are all things to figure out in advance so that you know exactly what to do during the actual ceremony.

Also, many people find that holding a prop helps them a lot. It may feel awkward standing on a stage talking with no podium in front of you and with nothing for your hands to do. Holding a book gives your hands a job and goes a long way to mitigate that weird feeling of standing on a stage speaking with empty hands.

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