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Four ways to go above and beyond as a first-time officiant

More couples are choosing a friend or family member to officiate their ceremony, but officiating a wedding can be stressful—even for the professionals! The officiant is responsible for preparing the ceremony script, making sure the rehearsal and ceremony run smoothly, and making sure your marriage license gets signed and submitted. As a first-time officiant, it can feel like there's a lot to do and remember the day of the wedding. But there's good news: there are several easy things you can do to take your officiating to the next level. Check out these four tips for officiating a flawless and unforgettable ceremony!

1. Don't get drunk before the ceremony.

It's only natural that you'll be nervous before the ceremony (they don't call it your Big Day for nothing, after all!), but that's why it's best to calm your nerves in a way that won't also impair your judgment and fine motor skills. Instead, try practicing some deep breathing, have a friend on standby to hype you up (anyone except the couple getting married), and remind yourself that weddings are an easy crowd because the guests come ready to be moved. Besides, you can always have a drink waiting for you after the ceremony!

2. Step away from the kiss!

Before inviting the newly married couple to share a kiss, step to the side behind the wedding party. That way when the most climactic shot of the ceremony is taken, you will be smiling from the sidelines instead of smack dab in the middle of a keepsake photo. The couple will be grateful for your forethought, and it will hopefully save you from having a weird facial expression immortalized in your friends' wedding album.

3. Keep the couple in the limelight.

No matter how nervous you are, you're probably going to do an awesome job officiating, and the wedding guests are going to want to tell you so! When people rush to compliment you during the reception about what a beautiful ceremony it was, it might be tempting to talk about how nervous you were or how much work it was to pull it off. Instead of centering yourself in these moments, try to shift the attention back to the newlyweds. A simple, "Thank you! They're so much fun to celebrate, aren't they?" works wonders.

4. Follow through with the documents.

It's the officiant's responsibility to file the signed marriage certificate with the local clerk's office, which means the officiant's job isn't over when the wedding day is. This document should be mailed or hand-delivered as soon as possible, and once you've done this, it's nice to let the newlyweds know you've filed their marriage certificate so that they won't be worrying about it on their honeymoon or feel awkward having to follow up with you later.

Something New Ceremonies is a new kind of wedding planning service specializing in helping couples and first-time officiants design personalized wedding ceremonies that honor the unique magic of every love story. Want to know more about how I can help you plan the wedding ceremony of your dreams with a friend as your officiant? Say hello!

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