Tips for 1st Time Wedding Officiants
Updated: Sep 10
Are you officiating a friend or family member's wedding? If so, you're not alone.
It's really popular these days for couples to ask someone close to do it. Instead of looking for a professional.
But for many new officiants... it's your first (and last) time officiating a wedding ceremony. And you might need a little help.
I am a wedding DJ who has worked at over 200 weddings. I have seen many great wedding ceremonies... And some where there were mistakes!
Tips for first time wedding officiants:
Speak into the mic
Do a mic check
Yes, you need a microphone
Tell guests to sit
Tell DJ when to play exit music
Ask if you should make a wireless ceremony announcement
Ask if you should move away for the kiss
1. Speak into the mic
You have to speak directly into the mic. The mic has to be pointed at your mouth and close to it.
If the mic is far away from your mouth or pointed in the wrong direction, the DJ might have some issues. He or she will have to crank the volume way up. There might be some feedback.
If it is on a stand, position it near your mouth. If it is a handheld mic, hold it near your mouth - not near your belly button.
2. Do a mic check
Before the ceremony, do a mic check with the DJ. Guests usually arrive and start getting seated for the ceremony 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. So, before that is a good time.
This is a great time to make sure the mic is positioned near your mouth, and to make sure you sound good.
It is also a great time to decide whether to use a mic stand or not. Many officiants like to use one if they are holding a book.
3. You probably need a microphone
If there are more than 30 guests at the wedding, you should use a microphone. You never know who is sitting in the back row.
I can't tell you how many weddings I have worked where the officiant declined a microphone and 5 minutes later someone in the back shouted out "CAN'T HEAR!" And then they ended up using one.
4. You need to tell guests to sit down
Guests usually stand when the second member of the couple enters the ceremony. This is whether you say "rise" or not.
Once both members have made it to the alter, you begin the ceremony. Guess what? Everyone is still standing!
Believe it or not, if you don't tell them to sit, they probably won't. I've worked 2 ceremonies where guests stood the whole time!
Before the ceremony begins, check if everyone is standing. If so, just say "please be seated."
5. Tell the DJ when to play the exit music
When the ceremony ends, the DJ (or live musicians) play a song. They need to know when to start it.
The ceremony usually ends in two ways:
The couples kisses
You announce them (after the kiss)
Just tell the DJ or musicians which one it is. Then they will be sure not to play the music too late. Or even worse... too early!
6. Should you make a wireless ceremony announcement?
Recently many couples have decided to have wireless ceremonies. This is one where everyone turns their phone off so they can't take a photo.
Usually guests are told the reason is so they can truly experience the moment. But really, its so they don't get in the way of the (very expensive) photographers.
Some couples put up a sign telling their guests about the wireless ceremony. But that doesn't always work.
If your couple wants to have a wireless ceremony, the best way is for you to announce it before the ceremony begins.
Something like "The couple has asked that we turn off our phones and don't take any photos during the ceremony."
Be sure to ask the couple if they want you to make this announcement.
7. Should you move out of the way for their kiss?
Recently it has become popular for officiants to do a mad dash to get out of the way when it is time for the couple to kiss. This is so you won't be in the photo of them kissing.
Ask the couple if they want you to do this.
I hope these tips help you when you officiate your friend or family member's wedding! You should feel flattered that they chose you to perform such an important job.
Best of luck and have a great experience!
Looking for a DJ in the NYC area? Learn more here.