To know how to conduct a wedding ceremony, you must be familiar with the wedding officiant’s wording and script for a traditional marriage ceremony. We will also provide the correct order of a wedding ceremony to help you customize the script with the couple if needed.
Furthermore, we recommend reading how to perform a wedding as it entails the responsibilities of a wedding officiant.
Officiating A Wedding? Here’s How To Conduct A Wedding Ceremony Legally
Introduction of the wedding ceremony
All weddings must have an introduction, and the people who officiate the ceremony must provide the introductory remarks. This is why it’s essential that if you perform marriage ceremonies, you should practice public speaking to be more engaging.
- The introductory remarks will welcome the guests
- You will also talk about the purpose of the wedding ceremony
- Include some sentiments about commitment and the couple’s choice to spend their lives together
- The officiant can also ask for the affirmation of support to the guests, but this part is more commonly omitted nowadays
Example wedding ceremony introduction:
Welcome, everyone. We are gathered today to celebrate the love and commitment of [names of the couple]. This couple stands before us as they enter the sacred bond of matrimony and take their relationship to the next level. Let us acknowledge this moment as they unite and begin their journey in life together and forever.
Besides the introduction, when you perform a marriage ceremony, you will also provide an opening reading or prayer, depending on the type of the marriage ceremony. Religious marriage ceremonies may also have someone else do the prayer, especially if the couple wants to include some close family members in their wedding ceremony.
- Discuss with the couple the type of reading they want for their wedding ceremony
- The prayer or reading can also focus on what love is about or how it defines relationships
- For non-religious ceremonies, readings like poems can also be given instead of a prayer
- Before you transition into the exchange of vows, you want to give some thoughts on marriage to set the tone of the ceremony
Example of wedding opening remarks:
Religious: As the Bible reminds us in [Verse selected by the couple]: [officiant can expound on what the Verse means]
Secular: What does commitment mean? [You can give a poem about love or relationship and expound on it as well]
Before transitioning into the vow exchange:
[Discuss what marriage means in more detail. Religious weddings can talk more about God and how He’s the center of marriage]
Vow exchange of the couple
The officiant will also usually guide the couple with their exchange of vows in the wedding ceremony. You can write the script with the couple, so they’ll also know the timings, especially during the declaration of intent.
- Explain the symbolism of the wedding vows
- Guide the couple by saying how they should look at one another
- Introduce the couple when they’re about to exchange vows
Example of vow exchange wording for the officiant:
The vows that [names of the couple] are about to make are their way of saying to one another that their promises are expected to withstand the test of time. They will now say a few words:
[ the couple will exchange vows]
Alternatively, the officiant can also guide them by asking the groom and bride to repeat what they’ll say. This is the part where each person promises to take their partner as their lawfully wedded husband or wife in sickness and in health until death parts them.
Example of the declaration of intent for the officiant:
Officiant: [Bride/groom’s name], do you [their partner’s name], to be your lawfully wedded [wife/husband]?
Bride/ groom: I do
Ring exchange of the couple
Some ceremonies might have a specific unity symbolism that the couple prefers. But in most weddings, the couple will exchange rings to symbolize their commitment.
- Ask the couple if they want a short introduction about the symbolism of the ring exchange
- You can also give a quick transition to let the guests know that the couple will now exchange their wedding rings
Pronouncement of marriage
The last part when you perform a marriage ceremony is declaring the couple as officially married. You will mention that you have the legal authority to perform weddings.
- Make sure that you are authorized to conduct a wedding ceremony
- You will also present the newlyweds after by saying their names as husband and wife with their shared last name.
Example of marriage pronouncement:
By the power vested in me by the state of [state where you got ordained], I now pronounced [name of the couples] legally wed. You may now kiss the bride.
For couples, you can read how to check if the wedding officiant is legal.
File the marriage license
Besides knowing how to conduct a wedding ceremony, please know that the officiant also must file the marriage license. Remember to check the license for errors to ensure the marriage is official.
- Sign the marriage license with the couple
- The couple’s witness must also sign the marriage license
- The officiant will return the marriage license to the office where it was issued
And that’s it! You just learned how to conduct a wedding ceremony legally if you just got ordained.
You should know the correct order of a marriage ceremony and the wording for the script. You will work with the couple to write the script for the introduction, opening remarks, vow and ring exchange, and marriage pronouncement.