ceremony don’ts

One question I like to ask couples I’m working with is ‘what have you seen at other wedding ceremonies that you liked or disliked?’

The dislike answer is always the easiest. I think we’ve all seen and heard things at ceremonies that were not all that great (to put it nicely).

The worst offense is when the officiant gets the couple’s names wrong. This is surprisingly common. If the person marrying you doesn’t know you well, you can avoid this. If phrased politely you may remind your officiant before the ceremony how to pronounce your names and write it down on a piece of paper for him or her. This is a good job for a best man or woman. Here’s how to do it: introduce yourself to the officiant and thank them for marrying your dear brother/sister/friend/cousin and their fiancé, clearly saying their names. This is just a little trick that could do the trick. No one thinks this is going to happen – but it does! So why not try to avoid this terrible faux pas.

The carriage was late, and everyone had to wait.

The carriage was late, and everyone had to wait.

Another complaint I often hear is that a clergy person will ‘go off on a tangent.’ The tangent sometimes turns out to be inappropriate! I always stick to my script because of this. The text of the ceremony is something the couple and I have worked on and agreed upon. It is not fair to them to present anything other than the exact words and rituals we have carefully chosen.

Something I personally have not enjoyed is a long wait between a ceremony and a reception. Many people are choosing to have their ceremony and reception at the same location for this exact reason. Or at the very least, near by.

Long receiving lines are unpopular! After (hopefully) enjoying the ceremony, no one wants to wait for a ½ hour or more standing in line. Many couples are choosing to forego receiving lines for this reason. It’s hard on the bride and groom as well.

I had to use a hand-held mic because the ocean was so loud!

I had to use a hand-held mic because the ocean was so loud!

It is very disappointing to not be able to hear the ceremony. Ask your officiant about this! Will there be amplification available – and this is especially important outdoors, where sound dissipates.

No one could hear the reader!

No one could hear the reader!

I hope you will pay as much attention to your ceremony as you do to your reception. After all – this is why you are having a wedding. Let me state the obvious: the ceremony is when you are actually getting married. Working with your officiant you should be able to have a ceremony that is accurate, honest and meaningful. You deserve it. I’ll follow up with some ‘dos’ to counter-act these don’ts.

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